Scriptio Continua: Ancient Latin Writing Style to Modern Computer Language

Archeologists and historians claim that the early Sumerians in ancient Mesopotamia invented some of the earliest form of writing using wedged shaped characters into small clay tablets known as “cuneiform” as a form of communicating circa 3200 BCE. What they can’t completely prove is if cuneiform influenced a written style of communication one hundred years later among the Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese who used pictographs two thousand years later. While Sumerians were developing their written language, the Phoenicians created the first alphabet made up of 22 distinct characters that influenced the way most other ancient civilizations wrote, even though other cultures used forms of drawing pictures to communicate ideas. Roman civilization borrowed a form of alphabet that flourished and even today it has become known as our alphabet in most Western countries.

Numerous cultures in the distant past employed a quirky method of writing called “scriptio continua”, or “scriptura continua”. Both terms are Latin for “continuous script”, or writing without spaces between letters and words in capital letters. Ancient Greeks employed this same script as did the ancient Romans who wrote in all capital letters on parchment or stone monuments. The style also lacked punctuation, accent marks and small letters – none of which had yet been developed. However, the farther back in time we go, the oldest Latin and Greek inscriptions used word dividers, which appeared to be dots called “interpuncta” to separate words in sentences; however, pure scriptio continua without interpuncta thrived primarily in Classical Greek (400 to 500 BCE) and Classical Latin (100 BCE-300 AD) when both empires were at the height of power.

The Romans adopted this writing style from the Etruscans – the previous tribe that inhabited Italy, who lived long before Rome became a dominant world power. In fact, many ancient people communicated in more primitive ways such as pictures. Since the Etruscan alphabet was limited, they used fewer letters which were only capitalized when written. Later, the Romans modified their alphabet with small letters, punctuation and breaks between words, which the Western world recognizes today.

An example In English, written using scriptio continua resembled this: THEHISTORYOFTHEUNITEDSTATESGOESBACKMORETHANFOURCENTURIES which reads, “The history of the United States goes back more than four centuries.” Obviously, this sentence looks cumbersome and somewhat hard to read, but writing in scriptio continua had several advantages. Roman scribes saved expensive ink and papyrus, as well as the stone on which they engraved their language. Also it saved space for more words and extending ideas. The greatest requirement for Roman scribes was to be thoroughly acquainted with their alphabet in capital letters, simplifying the writing process for them.

Eventually, scribes in Europe who copied ancient Latin manuscripts began spacing between words while using small or “minuscule” letters emerged in Ireland in the 7th to 8th centuries A.D. Carolingian period of France in the 9th century A.D. At the same time, German scribes began writing in the same manner. Of course, today, writing in Western civilization followed the same pattern which is a …

Latin American Wedding Traditions

Every culture has its own wedding traditions and the Latin American marriage ceremony is no different. There are countless unique Latin American wedding traditions that are still followed to this day and are part of what makes the day special for every Latina bride.

Processions

In Latin American tradition, the night before the wedding, a procession takes place from the groom's house to the bride's family home. Hand lanterns are carried and the groom's family take a gift-filled chest as a present for the bride's parents.

Secrecy

As in many other cultures, the Latin bride and groom are forbidden to see each other before the wedding ceremony. The bride's father's responsibility is to keep the bride hidden away and then to give her away as part of the wedding service. It is the groom's job to escort his mother down the aisle.

Flower Girls and Ring Bearers

As in many other cultures, Latin American wedding traditions dictate that there should be a flower girl and a ring bearer and that they should wear clothes that are copies of the bride and groom's outfits.

Coins

13 gold coins representing Jesus and the apostles form an important part of the ceremony. They are presented by the groom to show that he can provide for his wife and are blessed by the presiding priest to be given to the bride as part of the service.

Bridal Dress

Every Latina bride knows how important her wedding dress is. In traditional Latin American weddings, she a mantilla veil and orange blossoms in her bouquet and hair are wore to symbolize happiness and fulfillment. Although Latin wedding dresses are now often white, traditionally the bridal dress color was black to show devotion for her husband until death.

Rings

Traditionally, both the bride and groom wear rings following their engagement on their right hands. After the ceremony, they swap the rings to their left hand.

Binding Together

In Latin American tradition, the lasso cord is used to bind the couple together during the ceremony. This is either a rosary or white rope tied around the couple's' shoulders symbolizing their union.

Favors

As in many cultures, giving guests wedding favors is an important part of the ceremony. Capias, or small gifts, are given to guests during the receiving line and took the form of ribbons with the names of the bride and groom and the date of the marriage on them.

The White Bell

During some Latin American weddings, there is a white bell hung outside the church filled with rice and flour to symbolize prosperity. As the couple enters the church, the bell is broken by the mother to wish the couple luck.

Godparents

In traditional Latin American culture, it is the godparents (or sponsors) who bear the cost of the wedding and also play a big part in the ceremony. It was their responsibility to carry in the arras (gold coins) and the lasso cord into the ceremony.

First Dance

After the ceremony, the bride and …

Helpful Tips on Business Gift Giving Etiquette in Latin America

Being prepared for an international business meeting requires information and knowledge of what will be discussed or presented at this meeting. A nice social gesture when meeting an international company for the first time, usually, is giving a gift. Take the time to research local customs before making a purchase, though, as some countries find it insulting to receive a gift. Knowing what to do before you go will not only show that you cared enough to learn about your destination's etiquette, but may also open up all kinds of new doors and opportunities for you and your company.

Many multi-national businesses and their governments have very strict policies when it comes to business associates accepting gifts. Many Asian countries are concerned about corporate corruption and see gift giving as a bribe, so holding off on gift giving until you get to know the company and its policies may be a good idea. You should know that in Malaysia, most businesses require you establish a working relationship with them before giving a gift. Even here in the United States, our government sets a $ 25 spending limit on how much a business gift can cost.

An important fact to know about Latin American culture is that it is predominantly patriarchal, and very rigid divisions between work and home exist. Men are in business, and women are at home. If you happen to be visiting Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Chile, Nicaragua, or Peru make sure you familiarize yourself with the current affairs and political dealings that are going on within those countries and avoid any discussions about these subjects for it most certainly will destroy any business dealings you hope establish with any companies therein.

When first meeting prospective business clients, handshakes are important so be firm but brief, and always make sure you keep constant eye contact throughout the handshake. When shaking hands with a woman, remember to be courteous and allow her to extend her hand first. Expect the person you're speaking with to stand close to you and look you in the eyes, don't move back or break eye contact because you could offend the person talking to you.

Below are some social taboos you should be aware of since using any of the following gestures can cause problems.

1. The "OK" sign made with your forefinger and thumb is an offensive gesture in Brazil.

2. Placing your hands on your hips in Argentina means you're signaling a challenge.

3. Raising your fist to your head in Chile is a sign of Communism.

Latin America enjoys the business lunch and they are usually pretty long, at least two hours or longer. Dinners are considered purely social events and start late at night, usually around 10:00 or 11:00 pm. When at a social dinner, remember to keep your hands above the table at all times when eating and always pass food with your right hand

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