The Evolution of Punctuation: From Confusion to Clarity

TLDR The development of punctuation marks, such as periods, commas, and question marks, began with basic systems that lacked lowercase letters, spaces between words, and vowels. It wasn't until the rise of Christianity and the printing press that punctuation became more standardized, with Aldus Menucius credited for creating modern punctuation marks.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Languages originally had no punctuation or spaces between words, making reading extremely confusing until people started inserting marks and characters to make it easier to read.
02:14 The development of written language started with basic systems that didn't use lowercase letters, spaces between words, or vowels, making reading difficult and confusing.
03:53 The dot symbol was used in three different ways, with low, medium, and high dots serving as a comma, colon, and period respectively, but the Romans never fully adopted this system and it wasn't until the rise of Christianity and the advent of the printing press that punctuation became more standardized.
05:33 Aldus Menucius, a printer in Venice, is credited with creating modern punctuation marks, including the period, semicolon, comma, and parentheses, each with its own unique history and purpose.
07:18 The colon was originally intended as a pause between a comma and a period, and the semicolon was developed as an intermediate pause between a comma and a colon, both by Aldous Menucius, while the modern apostrophe originated from Menucius' print shop and was initially used in the French style to replace sounds, later being adopted for contractions and possessives, and the exclamation point was first developed in English in the 16th century as a mark of admiration.
09:04 The question mark is older than many other punctuation marks, with its first known use dating back to a 5th century Syriac Bible, while parentheses were also first used by Aldus Menucius and quotation marks were developed by the ancient Greeks.
10:41 The interobang is a combination of an exclamation point and a question mark, created in 1962 by an American advertising executive, Martin Spector, and is part of the Unicode character set, while the question comma and exclamation comma, which were designed for use inside of a sentence like a comma, never caught on and are not part of any font set, ASCII, or Unicode.
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