Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Final "h"

"h" can look very different depending on where it is in a sentence.

And obviously, who is the scribe, and when they were writing, where they are writing, what language they are writing in, what kind of day they were having, how drunk they were, and millions of other fascinating unknown/unknowable variables.

To transcribe a document correctly, it is very important to notice that beginning and final letters can be shaped very differently in the same record.

Here is an example from a 1734 land record from Zabřeh. These h's were taken from the same record.
Link to the record


On this line we see the words "wmezech, hraniczých, and užýtkach."

A modernized Czech transcription would be: "v mezích, hranicích, užítkách."

This translates in English to, "in bounds, borders, and benefits."

Notice how each of these words ends in a final "h" - the first time I transcribed this, I thought it was some kind of weird un-dotted "j." Not so. The entire shape is one letter.

Like this:

 Notice how on that last one, the scribe did not exactly write the same shape. However, as you trace the shape, you can clearly tell that the strokes were made in the same motion. It is the same letter even though he was a little bit sloppy on that last word.

These are very different from the strokes of the beginning "h" in this record.


Now, I'm not exactly 100% sure yet, but I'm pretty sure that this could be transcribed as "huven až do hranicz." Possibly "hoven až do hranic.", as in "zahony hoven až do hranic."

Which is hilarious as seen through google translate because it turns into, "[three garden plots of] shit up to the boundaries [...of such and such field etc.]"

Of course, I could be totally wrong here, so please correct me if I am. I'm not entirely sure that middle w thing after the u is actually a w. It could be an "m"...



However, one thing I know I am not wrong about: the beginning "h" is a very different shape than the final "h". Notice how it starts at the top and does a little jumpy thing before looping below.

Both beginning "h" and final "h" have a long stem that stretches both over and under the invisible line at the bottom of the letters, with loops on both ends - but they are distinctly different shapes, so pay attention when you are transcribing!


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