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Palaeography (or paleography) is the study of handwriting.
It involves characterizing and classifying scripts and hands, deciphering handwritten texts, and dating and placing manuscripts on the basis of their handwriting.
My specialty is studying the changes that have occurred over the centuries in Latin and French.
I’m also working on the catalogues of the UCLA manuscript collections, in collaboration with UCLA’s Center for Primary Research and Training and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
Arabic script palaeography applies these methods to the study of handwriting in the Arabic alphabet and thus encompasses several languages. ) ; Final nūn (width of bowl, height of bowl, placement of point) ; etc. Gacek's Vademecum, "Letterforms (allographs)" and "Scripts and hands" as well as Appendix 2 and the articles for the various scripts, i.e.
The field is still fragmentary with much room for advancement despite the special challenges presented. "Naskh script," "Nasta’liq script," "Ruqʻah script," etc. "Toward the Analysis of the Early Monumental Qur'anic Scripts: Attribution of the Qur'anic Folios from the Archive of E.
One of the most important skills which any student of medieval manuscripts and early printed books must develop is an understanding of the abbreviations which are common in these texts.
Partly because of the expense of parchment, partly to achieve efficiencies in the labour of copying, perhaps partly to reduce the size of books which needed to be stored, scribes developed for Latin texts an elaborate system of abbreviating words and for replacing some especially common words (or common, formulaic phrases) with shorthand symbols.
Abbreviations are also used in copying vernacular texts, but to nowhere near the same elaborate complexity as the system developed for transcribing Latin.
For essential readings, albums, and exemplary studies, see the lists below.
Compare a portion of the manuscript text under study with a legible transcript of the same passage (it may be printed, typed, even handwritten), noting (even listing) the idiosyncrasies of the hand.
A curled macron (a tilde) represents a missing a or a syllable with an a.
a curled line extending from a final letter, or an apostrophe-shaped mark (it can be a small "9" shaped mark in a raised position after a letter), most frequently indicates a missing terminal us: "ver" = "Venus." It also is used medially and finally to denote e or er: p'iodic = periodic.