Friday, October 9, 2009
Silent Reading and Scribes
The issue of silent reading in India has also some consequences for textual criticism. If one could ascertain that silent reading became the rule in, for instance, the 17th c., then one could imagine that scribes copying a manuscript were no more used to read aloud (even if with a low tone of voice) and that hence focused on what they were seeing rather than on what they were hearing. A component linked to the form of what one sees will possibly always be present (in a scriptorium where a single person reads and dictates, that single person might accidentally read an 'e' instead of an anusvāra, etc.). But until now we are used to consider also aural kinds of errors (e.g.: ta instead of da in the South), which should become less and less frequent if silent reading is the rule.