Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 11 14:44:07 UTC 2010

An interesting comment from N & Q, 1855 via GB (I hope I'm not duplicating
someone's earlier post: have lost track):

"These surnames and some others are now-a-days often written and printed as
if the initial letter were originally a *double *f: whereas the modern
character is but a corrupted form of the *single *Old English *capital *letter
ff, as in the word ffollow, &c. Perhaps the capital letter is in its origin
simply a duplication, for the sake of distinction, of the small letter f.
There may be a little affectation in writing double f instead of single F. I
have seen the name " Foster" written in the following way — "Ffoster." This
is a step farther in affectation. I may as well follow the fashion ; so,
instead of W., I will on this occasion adopt

"uu. Or vv."


On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 9:33 AM, Amy West <medievalist at w-sts.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
> Subject:      Re: ffolliott
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >This sounds quite similar to a symbol found in the New Plymouth
> >records.  It can be described as looking like an "e" with a long
> >curved tail, and it stands for "es".  Such things were abbreviation
> >forms a bit like modern shorthand, to allow scribes to write more
> >quickly (as needed for court records, I suppose).
> They're called ligatures, like & for "et". Ligatures are used in both
> cursive and non-cursive scripts. Chancery cursives are notorious for
> their difficulty in reading not only because of ligatures,
> abbreviations, marks of suspensions, Tironian notes, and the like
> (which are found in other scripts as well but not in the same
> amount), but also because the ductus is often cramped and even
> non-ligatured letters are run together or otherwise all
> smooshy-looking. Chancery cursive is found not only in court records
> but account books and other utilitarian rolls where, yes, speed and
> brevity is of the essence, and the person who's going to be reading
> it is trained to make heads and tails out of it.
> ---Pedantic Amy West
> (The script I hated to read the most was Beneventan, which isn't a
> cursive script, but because all the bows of the letters are smooshed
> together, the cross members of the letters all run together into a
> single horizontal line with a bunch of bows below. It looks like
> Sanskrit to me.)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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