[lg policy] Who Made That Dummy Text?

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 25 14:07:04 UTC 2011

Who Made That Dummy Text?

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit” is probably
the most popular sentence in the world that is not meant to be read.
“Lorem Ipsum” (shorthand for the entire, seemingly endless body of
Latin text) is the green screen of the publishing world — placeholder
copy used by designers to replicate how a block of text will look and
how many words it will fit before swapping in the fully written
article. This apparent gibberish, however, has been used for this
purpose since the 1500s, and its foundation goes back even further.
According to lipsum.com:

    It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45
B.C., making it more than 2,000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin
professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the
more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and
going through the citations of the word in classical literature,
discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections
1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (“The Extremes
of Good and Evil”) by Cicero, written in 45 B.C.

Although many variations of dummy text exist (a recent addition being
“Hipster Ipsum,” which generates sentences like “Single-origin coffee
four loko fap dreamcatcher hoodie, carles wayfarers vice bicycle
rights synth keytar brooklyn”), “Lorem Ipsum” (which translates
roughly as “suffering itself”) still remains the industry standard. As
such, the image above, created by the artist Zoë McCloskey, serves as
her commentary on “the futility of text and the written word.”



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com


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