Punctuation

I’m still reading Name of the Rose, learning what Abby life was like back when. Eco’s vocabulary exceeded mine ten fold, and he’s sent me to the dictionary more than a few times.

The setting of the book is in 1327 Italy. I’ve tried to learn more about the scribes. Of course, it was never Umberto Eco’s intent to teach me their jobs, but I wish it had been.

Typos, if I’m allowed to use that term, was no doubt a big deal. Not allowed. Though it’s not stated, or even hinted, any monk guilty of such a breach might have to trade his scribe for a staff and find himself herding goats on the morrow.

So far I’ve not succeeded in learning when the comma came into use. However, a 1327 document on the Internet was footnoted in more readable English. The “editor” stated that he had added some punctuation to ease the reader’s burden. But there is danger in such an effort. I’ll wind this up with a two short examples where the comma is moved, changing what the writer intended:

YOUR WIFE IS NOT GETTING ANY, BETTER HURRY HOME.

YOUR WIFE IS NOT GETTING ANY BETTER, HURRY HOME.