I am so excited to read this article from Dr. Chip Coakley, at Cambridge University. The double dot mark or 'colon' in modern English language, could have been an early question mark in Syriac texts. Syriac is an early middle Eastern language that has a large Christian literature, which fore dates Islam.

The article explains in detail how the double dot or 'zawga elaya' is written at the start of a sentence that could be poised as a question. It is a good indicator for the reader to understand how to alter the tone of their voice when reading aloud for example. I feel it certainly makes sense to have a useful tool like that at the beginning of a sentence, which makes me wonder how we ended up with question marks at the end of English language?

'“Reading aloud, the same function is served by a rising tone of voice – or at least it is in English – and it is interesting to ponder whether zawga elaya really marks the grammar of the question, or whether it is a direction to someone reading the Bible aloud to modulate their voice,” said Dr Coakley.'

 

 

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