[Gatesedge] RE: Literacy WAS Birthdays!!!
Carolyn.Young at goodmanmfg.com
Fri Aug 6 09:28:20 PDT 2004
Annes said something like
>> And if you look, throughout all of our time period, even names were
>> in many different ways by many different authors..... My own name has 5
>> *period* spellings...
True, true. But my point is that most of the gentry, males especially,
could write their names, if nothing else, and those around them would spell
THAT name THAT way. 5 miles down the road it would probably be spelled
another way, but YOUR priest/monk/scribe (and literate associates) would
spell your name your way, if for no other rezon than to differentiate you
from that chap down the road and over the hill.
Granted, your teacher was probably the one who decided how your name was
spelled. And if the priest/monk/scribe doing the teaching had several boys
with the same or similar names he just may have chosen to give them all
>> Even kings were often illiterate and had scribes (monks) to read and
write *for* them. It was the mark of wealth to be able >> to afford someone
who could do this for you.
I'm not so sure about that. Even the peasants could have a
priest/monk/scribe do that for them. I thought it was a "mark of wealth" to
be able to afford to a) keep one on staff to handle the tedious, day-to-day
stuff and/or b) keep one on staff to teach your offspring to read and
write well enough to handle the estate when they inherited. I'm not saying
those of the Dark Ages were literate by today's standards (they would
probably be considered functionally illiterate today) but that they could
write their names (rather than just make their mark) and at least follow
along in their prayer books at Mass.
Caitlin (who was quite literate... for her time)
Carolyn B. Young
IT - Branch
713/861.2500 ext 425
From: D. Vandever [mailto:hlannes at ev1.net]
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 10:29 AM
To: Young, Carolyn; 'Shire of Gate's Edge - SCA, Inc.'
Subject: Literacy WAS Birthdays!!!
Hmmmm.....I'm not sure that this is *entirely* correct. Reading and writing,
even for gentle folk, depends a great deal on your time period, country of
origin, and possible access to those who could teach you to do
this...assuming you could pay them (or their church).
Lots and *lots* of gentle folk of the time of the "dark" ages (approx. 300
ad to 900 ad) were *not* able to read nor write...that's what the monks were
for. Even kings were often illiterate and had scribes (monks) to read and
write *for* them. It was the mark of wealth to be able to afford someone who
could do this for you.
Now you, and I and Ia(e)n for that matter, all hail from those wonderful
times which actually are rather difficult to research properly just because
there was not a great deal written during that time. Some, yes, but not a
lot. Hence the moniker of "Dark" ages.
And if you look, throughout all of our time period, even names were spelled
in many different ways by many different authors. Check out a few heraldic
sources on names. Very interesting stuff. My own name has 5 different in
*period* spellings...how many different spellings of the name John (or Jon
or Jan) can you find and in which country...or yours for that matter? Many
of these spelling *derivations* were probably what we would consider
spelling *errors* now. Even today, how many different *derivations* of names
are there? Darlene, Darleen, Darlean, Darleine, Darrleen, Darrleane,
Darllene, etc. I'd say most if not all of these were either mistakes or
perhaps the person simply wanting it to look different. My mother's family
name of "Daugherty" is of course a mistake of the Irish name "Dougherty".
Mom figures that either someone was transcribing "Dougherty" and mistook the
"o" for an "a" or that some fancy French-Canadian translated it as this for
the poor ignorant Irish fellow who couldn't write it himself.
The fact of the matter is, that even today, the majority of the people of
the world cannot read nor write. The idea that the gentry of the Dark and
Middle ages all could is a modern American assumption. Even in this country
with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, we have about 15% of
our population being functionally illiterate. Its only been in modern times
that spelling became "set in stone" and "word police" such as English
teachers and Celtic personae of the Caitlin type were in evidence. :-P"""
Annes (or Annyes or Aniece or Ainneise or Aynnyese)
Dear God, Help me to be the person
my dog thinks I am. Amen
----- Original Message -----
From: "Young, Carolyn" <Carolyn.Young at goodmanmfg.com>
To: "'D. Vandever'" <hlannes at ev1.net>; "'Shire of Gate's Edge - SCA, Inc.'"
<gatesedge at ansteorra.org>
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 9:21 AM
Subject: RE: [Gatesedge] Birthdays!!!
> Ahhhh, but there you are mistaken, Grasshopper. Most of the Gentility
> *could* read and write, and in our Society all are considered to be at
> gentle-born, so most of us can read and write our names (more than just a
> *mark*). And since names are *owned* they were spelled in a consistent
> manner by everyone around the individual. Unowned words, like reason,
> or rezon, who cares, spell 'em like they sound.
> Caitlin (of the Word Police)
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