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An Early Syriac Question Mark

An Early Syriac Question Mark Sentence-punctuation in manuscripts of the Syriac Peshitta Bible is not well understood. One punctuation mark, however, a vertical pair of points above a letter, known as zawgā ʿelāyā , can be made out with some confidence: it marks yes-or-no questions. This conclusion is demonstrated from a sampling of early New Testament manuscripts in the British Library. The evidence of these manuscripts is all the more valuable because native Syriac grammarians generally lost the key to the meaning of this and other punctuation marks. It is conjectured that Syriac was the first language to use a reading sign as a question mark. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aramaic Studies Brill

An Early Syriac Question Mark

Aramaic Studies , Volume 10 (2): 193 – Jan 1, 2012

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1477-8351
eISSN
1745-5227
DOI
10.1163/17455227-12100205
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Sentence-punctuation in manuscripts of the Syriac Peshitta Bible is not well understood. One punctuation mark, however, a vertical pair of points above a letter, known as zawgā ʿelāyā , can be made out with some confidence: it marks yes-or-no questions. This conclusion is demonstrated from a sampling of early New Testament manuscripts in the British Library. The evidence of these manuscripts is all the more valuable because native Syriac grammarians generally lost the key to the meaning of this and other punctuation marks. It is conjectured that Syriac was the first language to use a reading sign as a question mark.

Journal

Aramaic StudiesBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2012

Keywords: Syriac manuscripts; Peshitta; history of punctuation; question mark; Syriac grammar

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