Saturday, December 19, 2009

Proofreading, part 5

Ambugious yud-vav

Here we have a something that ought to be a yud, but looks an awful lot like a vav. (This isn't DE's Torah, by the way. Just part of my stock of interesting Torah photos.)

This kind of ambiguity can, interestingly, be resolved by showing the ambiguous letter to a small child. Adults are troubled by the shades of grey in the problem, finding the exact point on the continuum between yud and vav where the change of state happens, and therefore can't decide if it's yud or vav; a small child still sees the world in black and white, and will decide one way or the other because it can't see the middle ground between “yes” and “no.”

Small children being in short supply round here, in ordinary Torah proofreading it's usually quicker just to fix the letter (with appropriate care for hak tokhot, of course). I counted this one as a vav, so I erased its whole tail and then put the tail back in but shorter.

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