Search This Blog

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Punctuation in the West didn’t really appear until about the end of the 3rd century BC when Aristophanes of Byzantium, head librarian at the Library of Alexandria introduced the precursors of today’s punctuation.

Aristophanes' system of three points of varying heights was never widely used and has virtually been forgotten. The only punctuation in use are interpuncts, which the Romans used to indicate word divisions in inscriptions, such as those found on buildings and monuments.

The asterisk derives from the two thousand year old character used by Aristarchus of Samothrace called the asteriskos, ※. He used it when proofreading Homeric poetry to mark lines that were duplicated.

Early asterisks seen in the margin of Greek papyrus.

Punctuation developed dramatically when large numbers of copies of the Bible started to be produced. These were designed to be read aloud, so the copyists began to introduce a range of marks to aid the reader,

The exclamation point was introduced in 15th century by printers looking for a way to denote a sense of wonderment or exclamation with a punctuation mark.

A semicolon is a punctuation mark, which was first used to separate words of opposed meaning and to indicate interdependent statements. The first printed semicolon was the work of Aldus Manutius in 1494. Ben Jonson was the first notable English writer to use the semicolon systematically.

As well as establishing the modern use of the semicolon, Italian printer/publisher Aldus Manutius (1449 – February 6, 1515)'s publishing legacy also includes the distinctions of inventing italic type, and developing the modern appearance of the comma.

A page from Francesco Colonna's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, an illustrated book printed by Aldus Manutius

In 1566, his grandson, Aldus Manutius the Younger, produced Orthographiae Ratio, the first book on the principles of punctuation.

Punctuation was not used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean writing until the adoption of punctuation from the West in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The term full stop is used throughout the UK and Commonwealth as a term for the punctuation mark (.) at the end of a sentence. In American English, the word "period" is used and "full stop" is rarely used by speakers in Canada and virtually never in the United States.

UCB General Punctuation

The Hungarian word for "quotation marks," macskaköröm, literally translates to "cat claws."

No comments:

Post a Comment