Teaching and digital learning of Spanish Paleography

The tool is based on documents from La Española colony (the current Dominican Republic). Because the same main writing styles were used at the time throughout the Hispanic world, exercising in reading these basic styles with old Dominican manuscript documents can help users become familiar with the writing forms of any of the countries Spanish language of the same era.

In essence, users will be guided in this learning by observing or contemplating digital images of manuscript archival documents accompanied by typed transcripts of the words contained in those manuscripts. Through an active visual comparison of the handwritten word and the typed word, users can gradually learn to identify and decipher each letter and word of the handwritten text. By practicing enough, they will be able to develop their ability to visually recognize the spellings of the writing style and a familiarity with it that will enable them to understand, in general, all the words contained in a page or folio of a given manuscript.

Learning to read early-modern forms of writing is similar to learning to decipher any calligraphy or contemporary writing style of a particular person by repeated analysis of the writing in question and identifying the particular way in which each letter is written or plotted, until it is possible to identify all the letters and the writing as such is intelligible in its entirety. In the case of manuscripts in Spanish from the early Modern Age, four styles of writing are generally distinguished by different people and for different issues at the time, each with a way of tracing the letters of the Spanish alphabet slightly differently. They are called courtly writing, procedural writing, chained writing and humanistic writing.

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