The orthography of machine-readable Neolatin texts: A plaidoyer for minimal intervention

J. Ramminger (version of 5 October 2006)

[originally: Considerations for the Early modern latin meeting, Tufts U, Boston, 2-4 June 2006],




The role of the editor

Some changes are necessary

Editors can do what they want, but shouldn't

Neolatin orthography is neither arbitrary nor uniform

'Etymological' orthography: Examples

Contemporary and ancient Greek

Neolatin and Romance languages

Some Neolatin features will successfully resist 'modernization'

'Retro-spelling' new words

Proper names

Fixed orthography, or: Modernizing Mozart ?

Automated 'correction' can create new problems: A test case

What is standard orthography?

The user's needs and expectations

Coping with orthographical diversity: Designing a search machine

Further reading


download as pdf

Many of the following samples are taken from CAMENA, a project which over the years has been tremendously useful for me. If the following sometimes appears to critizise it, this is merely from the wish to contribute to an enterprise on which I as well as many researchers have come to rely as an indispensable tool of reference for early modern studies. Please note that I refer to the texts as contained in the html-files posted by CAMENA. When I wrote the first draft of this article I was not aware of the fact that the introduced changes are documented in the xml-files posted by CAMENA in parallel.