Friday, December 25, 2009

Proofreading, part 11

pasul mem
Pasul letter mem

Proofreading has to pick up on letters which have real problems in their form. Maybe the scribe's hand slipped, maybe the letter got smudged by accident, maybe the ink spread after being put on – letters can go wrong, and we don't always notice while we're writing. So proofreading has to be alert for that kind of thing.

Again, you need knowledge of letter forms. You need to know why the above is a problem.

pasul mem

The problem is this little join. Such a little thing, but so important.

I like thinking of it as being similar to electricity. Electricity doesn't care if it's only a little tiny wire making the short-circuit; that little tiny wire short-circuits your thing and boom, it isn't working any more. Same with letters. This mem is short-circuited, and it doesn't work any more.

And like the more annoying kind of short-circuit, you can't just take out the offending part and have everything work, no, you have to take the thing apart and rebuild it.

(Super-geekies can read chapter 8, paragraph 6 of the Keset ha-Sofer for info on how to fix a short-circuited mem, but the non-super-geeky may prefer to give it a miss.)

Couple more examples, for your delectation. One's a shin with a short-circuit, the other is supposed to be a yud followed by a nun, but the short-circuit there has turned it into a tzaddi. Internet cookies for anyone who explains how to fix them.

pasul shinyud-nun

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