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The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Nuts and Bolts: colometry.

Colometry is a thing both gloriously obscure and very simple.

It's the habit of some of the Early Christian Fathers (it seems that the Early Christian Mothers had no truck with it) of arranging their writing so each new phrase was on a new line. This made speaking it aloud both easier and more effective.

It's the difference between this sentence from Emmeline Pankhurst's address in Hartford, Connecticut, on November 13 1913:

I am not only here as a soldier temporarily absent from the field at battle; I am here - and that, I think, is the strangest part of my coming - I am here as a person who, according to the law courts of my country, it has been decided, is of no value to the community at all: and I am adjudged because of my life to be a dangerous person, under sentence of penal servitude in a convict prison. 

and this:

I am not only here as a soldier 
temporarily absent from the field at battle; 
I am here - 
and that, I think, is the strangest part of my coming - 
I am here as a person who, 
according to the law courts of my country, it has been decided, 
is of no value to the community at all: 
and I am adjudged 
because of my life 
to be a dangerous person, 
under sentence of penal servitude in a convict prison. 


***

Come to think about it, it might not be a bad thing if colometry were still in use today; you never know, our public figures might start making a bit more sense, then.

It's either that or give them lessons in punctuation.

Thing To Consider Today: colometry. This word comes from the Greek kōlon, limb or part of a sentence, and -metry, from the Greek metron, measure.



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