Preface § 6

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Diversitas prolationum apud nationes exigit diversas litteras per quas ille prolationes pronunciari possint: quo fit quod arabes aliquas litteras habent quarum vocibus nec in nostro ydiomate indigemus nec nostris litteris exprimere possumus. Similiter autem et greci. Et quia multa sunt vocabula ab his linguis exponere indigentia que nostris litteris scribi non possunt proposueram aliquas figuras in nostris litteris addere quibus ea vocabula ubicumque exprimi possent. Sed nihil est quod in manibus scriptorum servari possit illesum, qui etiam nostras litteras et usitatas corrumpunt. qua propter id propositum omisi, statui tamen aliqua propter veritatem litteris arabicis et aliqua grecis inscribere ut scientes etiam linguas scirent quid essent et qualiter proferri debeant. Sed nec puto hoc satis tute scriptoribus accommodatum. Duas tamen litteras que latinitati desunt sicut de ipsis vocalibus eas facimus ita visum est mihi illas vocales quando in consonantes transeunt aliqualiter immutare. Nam .i. cum est consonans scribere suadeo descendente a linea in hunc modum .j. .V. vero similiter quando consonantis voce fungitur in hunc modum describi vellem iunctis videlicet lineis inferius in acutum angulum. Hoc enim valde necessarium in hoc opere apparebit. Aliqua etiam super singulas litteras de convenientia et distantia quas habent dicte lingue in illis litteris ad nostras perscribam.


nec nostris AC | nec in nostris B

per quas...possint om e

habent ABC | habeant e

quia multa sunt AC e | quia sunt multa B

ab his A | ab hiis B e

ubicumque AC | votumque B | illegible e

Sed nihil AC | Sed non B | Sed nichil e

etiam nostras litteras ABC | etiam nostras e

omisi AC | obmissi B | obmisi e

nec puto hoc ABC | neque hoc puto e

latinitati ABC | latina latinitati e

a linea AC | alinea B | alie alinea e

i ABC | j e

iunctis AC e | mentis B

lineis inferius ABC | inferius e

text is missing in f


The different sounds amongst the nations necessitate different letters, through which these sounds can be pronounced: this is why the Arabs have some letters whose pronunciation we do not need in our language, nor which we can express in our alphabet. Similarly also the Greeks. And because there are many letters missing for the rendering from these languages, which cannot be written in our letters, I would have proposed to add some shapes to our alphabet, with which these letters can be expressed in any case. But there is nothing that could remain intact in the hands of a scribe, who even corrupt our letters and those that are common. Therefore, I dropped this proposal, but decided to write some words in Greek or Arabic letters for accuracy, so that those who can read these languages would know what they are and how to pronounce them. But I don't think this is sufficiently safe with the scribes. But two letters that are missing in Latin, so that we use vowels for them, I decided to change when these vowels are transformed into consonants. Thus, I recommend to write 'i', when it is a consonant, reaching below the line in this way: 'j'. Similarly, 'v' if it is used as a consonant I would like to be written in this way, that is with lines that are linked at the bottom in a sharp angle, because this appeared very necessary in this work. Otherwise, the commonalities and differences on how letters are being pronounced in these languages and ours I shall describe at the beginning of each alphabetic section.


In this paragraph, Simon first proposes to add new letters to the Latin alphabet, but then resolves to adding Greek and Arabic words to the text. Some manuscripts transmitting the Clavis (but none of the prints) preserve these words, albeit in a distorted manner. These are manuscripts k, n and p. For a complete list of sigla see Photographs.

Intriguingly, in the entry Cameleon (1), p transmits a Greek word where all other witnesses have a lacuna.