History of punctuation THE SPACE BETWEEN WORDS.

Following up on my entry on spaces between words, languagehat quoted another review of the book.

That review suggests reading Paul Saenger’s book on spaces between words together with Malcolm Parkes, Pause and Effect. An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West (1993). I managed to find a review of that on the Internet too. Among other things, the book discusses the importance of marking up text for intonation – this is the value of the inverted question mark used in Spanish, introduced by the Royal Spanish Academy in the 18th century.

I am very taken with the word punct, the precursor of the full stop (U.S. period) originally used to separate words. The OED has it, with a number of meanings, all obsolete.

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