5. Punctuation, Digraphs, and Greek Letters

Always a difficult question. We anticipate that different transcribers will have different habits, and this is one aspect of transcription where we (and users) must accommodate different practices, and also exercise a hermeneutic of suspicion. Given the spectacular lack of punctuation in Carolingian manuscripts, as well as the introduction of new punctuation practices in the Carolingian era, and the frequent difficulties in distinguishing between original and later punctuation markings, we cannot require transcription of Carolingian (or later) punctuation, and indeed, we are not well equipped to encode it.

We ask that transcribers indicate whether they introduced modern punctuation, or reproduced the punctuation and capitalisation of the manuscript. This information should be noted in the Codicological Questionnaire. We advise users to consider the possibility that punctuation and therefore some expansion of suspension marks may be open to reinterpretation. Editors should be unusually alert to the possibility that case endings of commonly abbreviated nouns may be silent expansions, rather than transcriptions of the word in full; similarly, verb endings in some transcriptions may be fungible, depending upon punctuation choices.

Transcribers introducing modern punctuation should limit themselves to the minimum required for sense or guidance through particularly complex sentences. Usually this means providing only punctuation to end sentences and to set apart clauses. Discussion of particular instances may be placed on the CCL wiki, most profitably in section three (translations).

We urge transcribers electing to represent medieval punctuation to use only a period (punctus, not raised) or semi-colon (;) as the closest approximations to the visible signs. Users may contribute suggestions for modern punctuation of these transcriptions for public view on the CCL wiki in section three (translations). Transcribers are also welcome to contribute notes on a manuscript's punctuation in the Codicological Questionnaire or CCL wiki comments.

Carolingian scripts often present letters that may or may not be considered upper case, often in odd places. We must leave the representation of such letters to the discretion of the transcriber, especially when it is difficult to imagine a new sentence beginning at that point, but we suggest that it might be good to render them as capital letters, just in case.

Although the Carolingian use of e-caudata can be so frequent that it is tempting to transcribe it simply as "e" or "ae", we encourage the use of "e" (Unicode hex 0119) for e-caudata. We also ask that transcribers record "ae" and "oe" as written, and interchangeable "c" and "t" as written, with "t" as the default if the letter form is not clearly distinguishable. Please use Unicode for Greek.