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From: Marcia Karp

  Dear Peter,
    One of the great things about the current thread is that one can
rebel simply by caring about getting the facts clear and close to right.
 So, daring the peach of accuracy, here goes.
=====================================================
Well Marcia,
 What can I say? If you want the whole, complete
story, jot by tittle, you'll have to read something
like McLuhan's THE GUTENBERG GALAXY, where it is all
spelled out and traced out. Obviously any summary is
vulnerable to the pickers of nits, so pick away.

The era of liesure to which I refer is the 18th/19th
Century when time crawled at a snail's pace compared
to ours. But even today, full scholarly interchange takes
much more time than we're willing to put into e-mail
interchanges. Find inaccuracies where you will.
Be my guest. When the whirlwind blows through, I hope
you have something to grab ont to.

As for the forms of type, going all the way from single
character to the late use of cliches and stereotypes

(those words are used there in their technical print
meaning) you may wish to consult a pre-computer
type-setter, if you can find one.

Cheers,
Peter

>So academics seem
>to want to use lists to exchange the kinds of fully
>deveoped ideas characteristic of essays, but to do
>so without the same degree of attention (days of
>thought and revision intersecting between each entry in
>the exchange, undertaken by people with the leisure
>so to do).
>
>
Could you say how it is that scholarship is a leisure-time activity for
scholars?

>Standarised spelling
>came about because of the needs of the print medium for
>consistency, to reduce the work needed for the production
>of the printed page on a mass scale (the printer was the
>first mass production machine). Instead of assembling
>pages letter by letter, compositors could assemble them
>word by word.
>
I have a vague memory that there was early on type was cast in units
comprising words, but that it was a short-lived technique because of
inefficiency. But, as I'm enjoying the new dispensation of
say-what-you-will-as-long-as-it's-fun, I won't hit the books, but simply
say, you're wrong.  Letters, spacing, leading -- pages were built tittle
by jot.

>The standardising of print words led to
>the standardising of spelling for all writing, hence the
>dictionary.
>
"Hence," yes, about 300 years later.  {Geez, it's great not having to
supply the boring details.)

>Given that literacy was a class characteristic
>so standardised spelling became a class characteristic.
>
Silly of me to mention the conjunction of printing with the spreading of
literacy.

What I don't understand in this thread (not only from you, Peter) is the
equation of mis-spelling with speaking.  I'd have thought that
mis-spelling that is understood has (in the realm of an email list) no
correspondence in conversation; that what is not understood, a
correspondence to mispronunciation or misuse; what is ambiguous, to the
ambiguous.  Peter's "porpoise" (or some such) is a pun, which we have in
speaking, as well.  Undue seriousness keeps me thinking that it is
tactful to quote accurately.

Problem for all of us, is that we are not the future.

Free at last,
M.