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TEI-L  May 2008

TEI-L May 2008

Subject:

Re: left single quote used as a superscripted "c"

From:

Wendell Piez <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Wendell Piez <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 14 May 2008 12:21:42 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)

Dear Julia,

At 08:40 AM 5/14/2008, you wrote:
>Thanks to all for the input on this question. I'm actually less 
>concerned at the moment with how to encode it than I am with what it 
>is or how to understand its use here--that is, would it be 
>understood by the compositor/printer as standing in for a "c", or as 
>a distinct typographical practice in which this particular character 
>(a left quotation mark set low in the line) is characteristic.

Or perhaps, as both.

Your restatement of the question indicates that this isn't an 
encoding question but an historical one. Which compositor/printer are 
we talking about? (The actual printer of the actual text, or a 
generic printer, as might be inferred from your not having put the 
question as "was it" or "would it have been"?) Even without a 
specific printing house in mind, surely this might depend on period, 
nationality, and even on what particular printers had in their type cases.

As you also indicated earlier in the thread, printers have sometimes 
been willing to hack. Given this, there might even be a distinction 
between what a printer understood by a mark (this is a distinct 
character, or distinct usage) and what he was forced to do to make 
something like the desired mark appear on the page.

If you were to establish that there was or might have been such a 
distinction, you'd then have to decide whether you wished to encode 
what the printer actually printed, or what the printer would have 
printed if he could have.

If the printer could have used a 'c' or a superscripted 'c' but 
systematically chose not to (either deliberately or by convention), 
then something else was evidently intended. (I say "systematically" 
to allow for possibilities such as the printer using superscripted 
'c' until he ran out, or using both apparently interchangeably.) 
Whether that something else appears in the form of an open quote mark 
(or some other available character) might be determined by 
inspection. If it does not, Lou's solution of marking a grapheme 
would seem to be in order. If it does, then it is a matter of how you 
interpret the evidence as to what the mark signifies in this usage 
(and, for example, if it appears to be an apostrophe, whether it's 
just like any other apostrophe).

I know this is no more than you originally asked. The reason I work 
through it is in order to suggest that the relevant determinations 
are (a) whether this mark had a distinct identity in the printer's 
type case, (b) whether even if it didn't, we should nevertheless 
infer that it might have or should have, and (c) in any case, what 
the character should be taken to signify, a 'c' or something else. 
And these are separate questions. The first is an objective question 
about a print technology. The others are stickier, having to do both 
with the intentions of the printer and with our own. Nor are they 
absolute: a contemporary might have recognized both an abbreviation 
for 'c' and an extra signification, such as that this is a name. This 
would leave us to wonder whether we need to signify the same thing in 
the same way to achieve an adequate representation, or whether (for 
example), <name> markup will do.

Cheers,
Wendell



======================================================================
Wendell Piez                            mailto:[log in to unmask]
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.                http://www.mulberrytech.com
17 West Jefferson Street                    Direct Phone: 301/315-9635
Suite 207                                          Phone: 301/315-9631
Rockville, MD  20850                                 Fax: 301/315-8285
----------------------------------------------------------------------
   Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML
======================================================================

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