Click on button beside each word to inidcate how it is abbreviated in the text.

The use of abbreviation is nowhere near so consistent or orderly in English language texts as it is in Latin. Part of the problem lies with inconsistencies of spelling, so that the reader is not entirely sure whether letters have been left out, or which letters have been left out. Abbreviation marks tend to be informal, often consisting of flourishes coming from the ends of words. The trouble is, the writers often put in these flourishes even when they were not indicating abbreviation.

Also, if the final letter of a word is simplified, especially if it is an e, is this a letter or an abbreviation mark? See the word gooste above for an example. Is it abbreviated or not? There is a tendency for some editors to put an e on the end of any word that ends in an upward flourish, others are more conservative, and some put in an apostrophe if they are not sure, or are uncertain as to what spelling or word ending was intended. I don't like that last option as it is cowardly and wimpy and reads funny. Make your mind up, I say. Better to be wrong than undecided.

Does the backwards loop indicating a final s, as shown in the word quayerys, actually represent -ys or -s. Davis (Davis 1971) says -ys, so we will go with that in this case.

Once again it is probably a case of setting editorial guidelines and sticking with them, in which case you will be producing something that may be more consistent than that produced by the original writer, but at least other people will be able to understand it.

The above is only a sample of the abbreviations. To see them all. go through the text pages with the transcript window open.

List of English Books, 1475-79 (British Library, add. ms. 43491, f.26), by permission of the British Library.
Medieval Writing

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