Anybody know why….?

In my facsimile copy of Billy’s First Folio, I’ve noticed two variation of the letter ‘s’. Some are s-like and some are f-like. Does anyone know why this should be. Below is a part page of the Bodleian Library’s 1st Folio.
Ta muchly in anticipation of an explanation. :wink:
Take care


Expect sometimes it might have been down to how many s and f blocks the printer had available at a particular time.

Rose, my love,
I thought you would come up with the answer. I must confess, that I did find [size=150]ſ[/size] initially confusing to the eye. However, I only noticed t’other ses yesterday.
As ever, my love x x xx :wink:

More info here:

This is the Long S, whose popularity began to wane in the late 18th century because (I surmise) it made too many words inadvertently naughty. Like what a baby does when it’s nursing, or denominating a male goat or deer.

Thankſ folkſ for all your help. Thing iſ, I’ve become uſed to ſeeing ſ in Billy’ſ 1ſt Folio.
Thankſ all,
take care
pſ actually I’m not ſuppoſed be uſing [size=150]ſ[/size] at the beginning and end of a word … but … ſo what :smiling_imp:

Actually, only not at the end, or as a majuscule at the beginning — peruse your sample more closely, e.g. ‘Slings and Arrows’, but the other words use long-s initially.

Mr X

I’ve had three migraines, reading those three wikis … thought I had it sussed.
I’ll take a tonne of co-codomol in ‘t’ morning, and read em again! :cry: :imp:
Thank Mark

Addendum: Fri 14th August.
Waſ doing great with my reread, until I craſhed into this monſtroſity: The voiceleſs palato-alveolar ſibilant fricative or voiceleſs domed poſtalveolar ſibilant fricative 'twas as though someone was hammering a 10" nail in to my left ear till it emerged out of my right (metaphorically ſpeaking, of courſe).
Thanks again folks, for the help :wink:

All these answers are incorrect. I received this info from an English professor, who specializes in the history of fonts, typesetting, etc; so I’m figuring she knows what she’s talking about. I sent her an email and this was her response:

"In ancient Greek, there are two versions of the lower case letter “sigma”: the regular sigma σ and the version that appears if it is the final letter in a word: ς. In English, this tradition was preserved, in a way: the first “s” in a word—like sassy or Shakespeare would be a regular “s” but the middle “s” would be that letter that looks more like an ‘f’ "

Hopefully this clarifies things. It’s about tradition.

Look at the page Vic sent, the first letters are all the ‘high’ character unless they are majuscule, in which case they are the regular ‘S’; within words they are the ‘high’ character; word ends have what is the standard ‘s’ for us. Not what you are quoting your professor as saying.

Go easy on him Mark. Yossi’s at the far end of a wormhole in an adjacent Universe. Please bear in mind, too, that he is a STUDENT, which means he is probably at the far end of yet another wormhole from his adjacent Universe, leading to another adjacent Universe. And yossi, before you try to convince us that the other wormhole brings you back to this Universe, believe me it doesn’t … at least, not until you’ve graduated.

Also, yossi, remember this, Professorship is no guarantee of infallibility, unlike HAWship
Take care,
Vic-k. PhD Rat catching. B.Sc.Painting&Decorating. HAW.

Well considering she spent a good part of career, thinking about stuff like this, fighting tooth and nail against various committees to get her stuff published, I’d take her opinion seriously.

Anyways, to further clarify, in the time of Shakespeare, people still didn’t consider english to be the language of intellectuals. Greek and Latin, however were. So what did printing presses // scriveners do to sort of elevate the status of English was use similar strategies to elevate the look of the printed page, so that it would evoke a latin/greek intellectual feel. It’s fundamentally about vanity.

So yes, I get that the beginning of words and stuff are probably not according to what my prof stated; however, it’s about achieving a kind intellectual aestheticism…

Yossi, your Prof, sounds like a character possessed of many qualities that engender admiration and respect, however, tenacity is no bulwark against fallibility.

Were I knowledgable enough to discuss the subject further, I would, but since I’m not, I’ll take the word of you and your Prof. :smiley:

Well, at least they’re not like this
Thanks for your help
Take care

When I asked this question to my Prof she was shocked because she thought everyone knew the answer and that I indeed was from some parallel universe. It’s something of a given apparently in academic circles and is a question regularly asked.