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a definition of terms

    (1) (2nd to 10th century AD) contraction, superscript, first letter plus a radical (Cicero's Tironian) used to preserve precious parchment (S.P.Q.R. represents senatus populusque Romanus, f represents filius, ff represents filii), more than 13,000 abbreviations were observed in Latin of the Middle Ages. (2) (Modern usage) suspension, contraction, key, symbol or acronym.
    palabra formed from the initial letters of a name or phrase.
    Acrophonic poem
    the first letters of each verse or word communicate another message.
    the initial sound of an ideogram in a syllable or word is preserved to denote the letter in an alphabet.
    crossword puzzles or poem where the initial letters of each line form a word or words. An acrostic may also use the middle (mesostich) or final (telestich) letter of each line. Certain prose works use the first letter of each paragraph or sentence. Most acrostics in the Old Testament are abecedarian. The most famous acrostic dates from the late 4th century in the form of a palindrome:


    which translates from Latin roughly as "the sower Arepo holds the wheels carefully.
    An Ethiopian inscription from the sixth century cites the names of the five nails in Christ's cross as: SADOR, ALADOR, DANET, ADERA, RODAS. See also logogriph.
    Agglutinative languages
    elements in the spoken language are combined without losing their independence, several monemes are added to a verb to denote case, number, gender, person, tense, etc., (Sumerian, Hourrite, Ourartou, Basque, Turkish, Korean) as opposed to inflexive languages.
    different signs representing the same phonetic value (Japanese names have dozens of allograms).
    system of writing where each sign (letter or phonogram) equals a sound (or several sounds). All alphabets are believed to derive from a common origin in Mesopotamia around 1500 BC (Ougartic, Proto-sinaitic, Phoenecian, Paleo-Hebrew, Aramaean).
    Altar poem
    in English poetry from the Renaissance a poem where the verses or stanzas take the form of the subject of the poem (Wither, Quarles, Benlowes, Herrick and Herbert).
    the ligature of et and a corruption of and per se and which means "and standing by itself means and".
    letters of a word or phrase are transposed to form a new meaning. A common feature of crosswords. Samuel Butler's Erewhon is an anagram of "nowhere".
    Analphabetic notation
    (Otto Jespersen) sounds are represented by a series of letters, signs and arab numerals.
    Analytic writing
    each symbol represents a word (wortschrift).
    a word written backwards.
    loss of the initial unstressed syllable from a word to create a new word: "mid" from "amid", "tween" from "between".
    loss of the initial vowel from a word to create a new word: "squire" from "esquire".
    loss of the final letter or letters of a word to create a new word: "taxi" from "taxicab", "curio" from "curiosity".
    any sensory perception may be remembered by awakening other ideas or perceptions previously acquired. When one of them is recalled, the others are brought to mind by association. Poetry and the arts are associative forms of communication. Almost all human knowledge, including this list of terms, uses association.
    (1) quality, property or accessory. (2) a word or symbol is added to another to denote an attribute. See keys.
    Benedictine (littera romana) or curial
    script developed at Monte Casino in the 6th century and used by the curia of the Holy See until the 12th century as opposed to Carlovingian.
    like a plough. A language written alternately from left to right and then from right to left (Hieroglyphic Hittite, early Greek, early Etruscan, early Latin).
    Calamus (Latin)
    a pen made from a reed and cut like a quill. Used until the 12th century AD.
    (1) classic Latin characters for deluxe texts and epigrams (1st to 3rd centuries AD), (2) a large, upper-case letter used at the head of a sentence or the beginning of a proper noun.
    Carlovingian (littera gallica)
    (1) script developed during the reign of Charlemagne (768-814 AD), especially in monastaries of Saint Martin of Tours, Corbie, Aachen, Lucca, to propagate reforms in liturgy, scholasticism and empire, (2) rediscovered in the 15th century as littera antiqua when it was renovated and later copied by the first printers.
    Codex (Latin)
    a Roman book made from parchment (later used to refer to the Aztec and Inca writings).
    wedge shaped writing used by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Hittites, Babylonians, Assyrians and Persians.
    see Benedictine.
    (1) fingerprints, (2) a symbol that represents an abstract idea or action (tche tche the second category of Chinese characters).
    (1) writing "of the people", (modern Greek, as opposed to classical Greek), (2) popular form of Egyptian writing simplified from hieratic.
    a word game using letters.
    two vowels pronounced as one syllable.
    the science of deciphering ancient writings.
    Diptych, triptych, polyptych (Latin)
    wax glazed tablets used in ancient Rome, bound together by two, three or many.
    the order and direction in which each line of a character or pictograph is drawn.
    expression of an idea by negation of its contrary (litotes, meiosis, understatement) or by substitution of the contrary (antiphrasis, irony).
    (1) Ideogram using a hidden relation or pure convention to express a meaning (an ostrich feather means justice because all feathers are the same), Champollion's fourth category of Egyptian hieroglyphs. (2) Dingbat using 3D navigation.
    to express a hidden meaning or symbolically.
    study of inscriptions and their history.
    Ergative language
    languages where the case corresponds to the agent (worker) in a process, in the majority of languages expressed by declination of the accusative.
    the study of the true origin (etymon) of words, their derivations and significations.
    See Gothic.
    Figurative verse
    representing a figure, metaphor by image.
    Flatus (Latin)
    aspirated consonnant.
    Mayan ideogram.
    Gothic (factura)
    script replacing Carlovingian from the 12th to 13th centuries using the form and ductus of Carlovingian with the curved parts resembling the arches of Gothic cathedrals, written with a large quill on paper (replacing the calamus on parchment), especially in universities and chancelleries.
    mural scribbling and drawing by schoolboys and idlers in Pompeii, Rome and other ancient cities, plural: graffiti. See tag.
    Egyptian linear style of writing by priests derived from hieroglyphic monumental writing.
    Egyptian monumental ideogram.
    an Egyptian hieratic symbol.
    the science of sacred Egyptian writing.
    words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. In Chinese kia tsie (the fifth category of Chinese characters).
    Houei yi (Chinese)
    the combination of two Chinese characters into one to express a new idea. For example two women = a quarrel. (Third category of Chinese characters).
    (1) image, portrait or figure carved or painted, especially a Greek Orthodox image of Christ or a Saint, (2) ideogram used in computing to call a program into execution.
    Ideenschrift (German)
    idea writing or synthetic writing, each symbol represents a whole sentence, story or idea.
    pictograph of a whole idea or thing used in a systemized written language.
    Ideographic and phonetic languages
    languages that use both ideograms and phonograms (Egyptian, Sumero-Akkadian, Hittite, Mayan). See word-syllabic.
    Ideographic language
    a systematized form of writing using ideograms to express a whole language.
    Inflexive language
    a language that adds one moneme or phoneme to a verb to denote case, number, gender, person, tense, etc. (Latin, Greek, Russian, etc.), as opposed to agglutinative languages.
    Kia tsie
    See homophones.
    214 unpronounced symbols representing the category or idea implied when placed next to another Chinese character to give a new meaning (the sixth category of Chinese characters).
    a conventional symbol in alphabetic languages used to express a sound of speech, printing-type. See phonogram.
    Letter-form pixie
    a pixie that depends upon the form of its letters.
    (1) connection of letters in script, (2) a type of two or more letters Æ, ß, æ.
    the study of phonemes.
    Littera antiqua (Latin)
    See Carlovingian.
    Littera gallica (Latin)
    See Carlovingian.
    Littera romana (Latin)
    See Benedictine.
    pictograph of a concrete or abstract reality.
    an anagram or verses from which anagrams or other word puzzles can be guessed. From the Greek "word riddle".
    Logotype (logo)
    pictograph to express a name or trademark, cast as one piece in typography.
    a large capital, upper-case or uncial letter.
    ideogram using similitude between the object of the symbol and the idea expressed (the eye of a hawk is vision), Champollion's third category of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
    ideogram showing cause for effect or effect for cause (a tool represents the object produced, the moon is a month), Champollion's second category of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
    small, lower-case cursive script used by monks in the 7th to 9th centuries AD.
    Mnemonic (mnemotechnic)
    (1) a verse to help memory, (2) the art of assisting memory.
    smallest linguistic unit carrying meaning, in monosyllablic languages a word.
    pictograph weaving several letters into one figure to express the name of a person, place or organisation.
    madness confined to one subject.
    a spoken word or part of a spoken word that has meaning.
    a pictograph that represents an object (siang hing the first category of Chinese characters).
    ideograms representing a numeric value in units.
    ideograms used in mathematics to express a process.
    Apollinaire's definition of a concrete poem using movement and form ("Paysage", "Voyage", "Le Colombe poignardée et le Jet d'Eau"). See pixie.
    a spoken word.
    study of ancient modes of writing.
    A.J. Ellis's phonetic adaptation of ordinary alphabetic type.
    repetition of a word or phrase.
    a word, verse or sentence that can be read backward or forward.
    invented in China in the 2nd century AD and spread to the West by the Arabs through Spain. The oldest known paper document in the West is the Missel of Silos (near Burgos) from the 11th century.
    monopoly of Egypt until the 7th century AD, Cyperus papyrus of the Nile valley, was last used in the 11th century.
    from Pergamos, Bergamo, in Asia Minor (thus pergameneous or pergamentaceous). The scraped skin of a lamb, goat or calf, first used in the 1st century AD, common in the 4th century and practically the unique support of Western writing from the 9th until the 13th century when replaced with paper from China.
    drawings carved in stone.
    study of etymology, grammar, rhetoric, history, forms and relationships of languages.
    Phoneme (formerly phonograph)
    smallest linguistic sound to distinguish monemes (the "m" in mate or the "f" in fate).
    Phonetic writing
    each symbol represents a sound (syllabic, consonic or alphabetic).
    sign indicating pronunciation (in Latin alphabets, a vowel or consonnant).
    symbol representing an object or idea without conveying pronunciation, representing the thing itself.
    a poetic collection of pictographs in alphabetic or ideographic languages. Apollinaire distinguishes between painting-poems and still-life poems.
    see diptych.
    a forerunner.
    Pulsus (Latin)
    unaspirated consonnant.
    a writing instrument made from the feather of a goose or swan. Used from the 7th until the 20th century AD.
    Inca system of writing with colored knots.
    Rhopalic verse
    poem in which each word is longer by one syllable than the preceeding word or verse (Greek, rhopalon a club).
    Rotulus (Latin)
    a Roman scroll usually made from papyrus.
    Siang hing
    See morphograph.
    Scriptoria (Latin)
    monastic workshops for the production and recopying of manuscripts (Egypt, France, Ireland, etc.).
    Sound-bite dingbat
    a word game using onomatopoeia or phonograms.
    Sound-bite poem
    a poem or section of a poem invoking onomatopoeia or employing phonograms to invoke sound.
    geometric, phonetic or cursive writing systems used to abbreviate Western alphabetic writing (Willis - 1602, Taylor - 1786, Gabelsberger - 1834, Pitmann - 1837, Duployé - 1860, Gregg - 1888).
    typewriter keyboard with geometric cursive characters, used especially in courts of justice.
    Apollinaire's definition of a concrete poem using form ("La Cravate et la Montre", "Coeur Couronne et Miroir", "Evantail des saveurs"). See pixie.
    Style, stylus, graphium
    a pointed instrument for writing on waxed tablets, usually made of iron or ivory.
    an ideogram showing a part of a thing to express the whole thing (the head of an ox is an ox), Champollion's first category of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
    Synthetic writing
    each pictograph represents a whole sentence or story (ideenschrift).
    Tag, taggers, tagging
    ideogramatic and alphabetic system used in graffiti, particularly used by local groups of youths to delineate territory.
    Tche tche
    See dactylographs.
    Tchouan tchou (Chinese)
    reversal of Chinese characters to give a new meaning (fourth category of Chinese characters).
    a system of abbreviation or shorthand for Latin attributed to Cicero. Tironian sign: the ampersand.
    see diptych.
    pertaining to a form of writing using large, somewhat rounded letters with ligatures in ancient manuscripts from the 3rd to the 8th centuries AD, probably originating in North Africa in the first Christian monastaries.
    Verba volent, scripta manent (Latin)
    Words fly away, writing remains.
    Visible speech
    (Melvin Bell, father of Alexander G. Bell) phonetic alphabet imitating the position of vocal organs. Used for education of the deaf in the 19th century.
    Vox (Latin)
    a vowel.
    North American Indian system of writing, sorcery and exchange with colored beads.
    a pixie that projects ideograms cinematographically onto the form of an object.
    Word-syllabic languages
    languages written with ideograms and phonograms.
    Wortschrift (German)
    analytic writing, each symbol represents a word.
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