Punctuation & Quotation Marks In Latin?
  • «...meam.» OR «...meam».
  • Toni V. « Benedicamus Domino ». (LU p. 124)

    Dixitque Deus : « Fiat lux ». Et facta est lux. (LU p. 776P / Missale Romanum p. 195)

    Toni « Gloria Patri ». (AR p. 52*)

    Alia exsistit nota tremulae vocis, id est quilisma ; quae etiam supervenit in cantu tamquam « flos melodicus », et dicitur nota volubilis et gradata. (GR p. XI)
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  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    My question ..

    I have been looking at Gregorian Missal chant texts (IN OF CO)
    for about eighteen months and see commas, colons, periods.

    I have not seen semi-colons, except for this CO text

    Opórtet te * fili gaudére, quia frater tuus mórtuus fúerat, et revíxit; HERE
    períerat, et invéntus est.

    All of these engravings agree to semi-colon:
    Graduale Romanum 1871 p 119
    Graduale Romanum 1908 p 104
    Graduale Romanum 1961 p 122
    Graduale Romanum 1974 p 95
    Gregorian Missal 1990 p 264

    So .. what is the convention and reasoning for this semi-colon instance?
  • doneill
    Posts: 207
    I'm no Latin scholar, but the Nova Vulgata uses many semicolons. Perhaps the newer books are in accord with the NV? It's refreshing to realize that Latin, like any common spoken language, actually evolves, because that contradicts the dead language claims.
  • Punctuation of texts that come to us from so long ago is the result of layers upon layers of decisions, originally made by scribes who would punctuate ('point') a text to indicate appropriate pauses in reading aloud. Later, in machine-printed books, editors make similar decisions. The scribes and editors do not, of course, all make the same decisions, which results in numerous versions of any given text.

    The 'pointing' that scribes made in texts was effected in a number of ways, often by just leaving a little extra space where it was judged that a pause should occur, or by other arrangements of words. And when it comes to marks, you will find all manner of dots, lines, squiggles, and more, in the texts. Many scribes or localities developed their own set of marks for punctuation. It was all the rage.

    Punctuation for the sake of indicating syntactic function (as opposed to oratory function) is a much later development.

    In short: Do it however you want. For the sake of your readers, be consistent.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Let me rephrase and be blunt.

    I have looked at over 150 chants (introit, offertory, communion).
    Only one text (Opórtet te) has a semi-colon.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,163
    Re: Oportet te fili gaudere

    Three instances from early Missals, one with a colon (1551), one with a semicolon (1686), and one with a comma (1728). Other (especially older) manuscript sources have no punctuation at all.

    (1551) Missale mixtum secundum ordinem almae primatis ecclesiae Toletanae ...

    Oportet te fili gaudere: quia frater tuus mortuus fuerat, & reuixit: perierat, & inuentes est.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=65kzgGF5XIUC&pg=PP111&lpg=PP111&dq=oportet+te+fili+gaudere&source=bl&ots=jlHxavMRXV&sig=s5OL6L0Sc5lbU0YalcNPfAmzuHo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi5oMK10OPZAhXM7oMKHX7nBBE4ChDoAQhHMAc#v=onepage&q=oportet te fili gaudere&f=false

    (1686) Responsorialia et antiphonaria Romanæ Ecclesiæ a s. Gregorio Magno ...

    Oportet , te fili gaudere ; quia frater tuus mortuus fuerat, & reuixit ; perierat , & inuentes est ; dixit Dominus •

    https://books.google.com/books?id=xBFZv0Pv_2AC&pg=PA92&lpg=PA92&dq=oportet+te+fili+gaudere&source=bl&ots=pPHTmAk1HI&sig=SSXt8bIyvT7-sVJ9osuZRt-r_bs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi5oMK10OPZAhXM7oMKHX7nBBE4ChDoAQhOMAk#v=onepage&q=oportet te fili gaudere&f=false

    (1728) Magni Gerhohi saec. XII. praepositi Reicherpergensis Ord. Can. Reg. S. Aug ...

    Oportet te fili gaudere , quia frater tuus mortuus fuerat & revixit , perierat & inventes est.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=uHtXAAAAcAAJ&pg=RA2-PA61&lpg=RA2-PA61&dq=oportet+te+fili+gaudere&source=bl&ots=jN050JaDup&sig=mVj7wc7eA2T28TsJsQ-eou4Oy7Y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi5oMK10OPZAhXM7oMKHX7nBBE4ChDoAQhMMAg#v=onepage&q=oportet te fili gaudere&f=false

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  • @eft94530

    Short blunt answer: semi-colons were rare at the time when these texts were being more or less 'fixed'. Somebody decided to stick one in. We don't know why.

    Longer answer: I could be wrong, of course, but I think it unlikely that there is (available to us) a very interesting or informative answer to your question, apart from 'some editor decided to put a semi-colon'. The semi-colon is a late 15th century invention and didn't really 'get going' until the 17th century. The decision to put one into a chant that, clearly, did not have one originally, is, as you noticed, rare and idiosyncratic, and without access to the editor or printer's thoughts on the matter, likely to remain unexplained. Maybe they liked a little semi-colon in 16th Century Toledo?

    ([edit: see correction from CHGiffen below and re-interpret as needed] Whoever is responsible for the semi-colon in the 1551 Missale might be copying it from somewhere else. So...we could attempt to trace backwards to the original source of the semi-colon (we'd only need to look 50 years or so). If we did not fail to find it, we would, I suspect, be left with the same answer: somebody decided to use a semi-colon for unspecified and unknown reasons.)

    The attached image is the first few words of Oportet from a 12C antiphoner. It is a
    good example of what I mentioned earlier, namely, that 'pauses' were often indicated with a little extra space. (Later, somebody decided that it is 'a semi-colon worth' of space. I could be wrong, but I doubt there's much more to the story than that.)

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,163

    The 1551 example is a colon, not a semicolon. The semicolon is in the 1686 example. But I agree in principle about punctuation (and even extra space?) being later additions.
  • Oops. Thanks for the correction. That makes more sense, really. Semi-colons were very rarely used in the 16th century (according to a colleague of mine -- it is after the period that I study).
  • Oh, and to answer your question, the dearth of manuscripts makes it hard to say with great confidence, but it seems that 'adding space' and 'adding punctuation' were distributed more through space than through time, but perhaps a little of both. It isn't clear (to me -- somebody might know) that one practice distinctly precedes the other (in the texts we are talking about).

    One reasonable speculation (not due to me) is that as Latin became less and less familiar, it became increasingly important to indicate appropriate pauses in the text, for those who had to read them, 'non-natively', aloud. Basic punctuation marking (for more or less the same purpose, i.e., indicating pauses) had been developed centuries earlier, in Greece, and, as Latins were prone to do, some of them took up the Greek practice.
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