Bartholomew the Englishman
On the Asp
The Straight s, Its Round cousin, and Its Ligatures
One aspect of reading medieval manuscripts that can be challenging is getting used to reading straight s as well as round s.
Straight s and round s have the same meaning; there is nothing special about words containing straight s as opposed to round s.
But the two graphs tend to be used in different positions in the word.
Which word(s) end(s) with round s?
Which word(s) contain(s) a straight s somewhere in the middle?
Which word(s) contain(s) a majuscule s?
How many straight s's are in the example below?
Decide whether each word begins with straight s or with f.
The straight s is sometimes connected to the letter that follows it, forming a ligature. Today ligatures are rare, but you occasionally do see them.
For example, most typefaces use an fi ligature.
Read some words with ligatures:
As you know by now, figuring out whether
you are looking at a straight s or an f can be hard. Often you have to understand the meaning of the sentence to determine the correct reading. For example, is the green word the verb 'sint' or 'fuit'? Understanding the sentence will help you decide.
for help, look at this
Parker Library images from MS. 16 used with permission of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
University of Erfurt, Germany, Amploniana Q.290, used with permission.
University of Victoria, BC, Bartholomaeus Anglicus 84-61, used with permission from the Department of Special Collections.