Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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The Impact of Space

Snarkmarket links to a very interesting On Language column and addendum about camel case. In addition to the idea that camel case has been popularized by programming languages (which makes sense), the following insight into the role of spaces between words caught my eye:

In Ireland and England during the seventh and eighth centuries, local priests had so much trouble with Latin that spaces were added to their liturgical texts as a crutch. Clerics discovered that reading became more fluent for everyone, because the eye can recognize separated words as distinctive shapes. Monks were able to copy manuscripts in silence, in accordance with many of their vows, and privacy intensified the experience of devotional reading. The innovation flourished and by the 13th century was standard in Latin everywhere. Angels in manuscript illustrations used to speak into the ears of scribes; now they presented them with books to read for themselves. Clerics tackled more complex texts, in greater numbers, and Saenger argues that silent reading seeded the flowering of medieval theology known as scholasticism.

November 29, 2009