Development of Writing in Bohemia

by Jan Pařez - 2003-04-01
Knowledge of the old scripts is necessary for the interpretation of genealogical sources. Each of the languages used in official documents – Czech, German, Latin - not only have their own unique font, but also individual and particular systems of shorthand and usage.

Many researchers assume that the study of paleografic workbooks and knowledge of the old scripts is sufficient for doing research. But further knowledge of the fundamental development of writing (including various evolutionary phases and variations among specific scripts) is equally important for correct interpretation of complicated texts. As well, knowledge of the role and function of each office that issued documents is important for understanding a particular shorthand. Currently, there is no special dictionary for these shorthands available for the study of Czech history.

Still there are two commonly used methods of rewriting the old scripts – transliteration and transcription. Absolute faithful reproduction of a text is the advantage of transliteration. Transcription, on the other hand, is conducive to better lucidity of text for contemporary readers, but it may also lead to mistaken interpretation.