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  • Mysteries of Vernacular

  • Miniature,

  • something distinctively smaller

  • than other members of its type or class.

  • Miniature traces its roots to the Latin, minium,

  • which meant, "red lead".

  • Minium referred, in particular, to a compound of lead

  • used as a pigment in Medieval times.

  • In those days, because there were no printing presses,

  • groups of scribes were tasked with

  • painstakingly copying all books by hand.

  • Whenever they needed to denote a chapter break

  • or a division of text,

  • scribes would switch from standard black

  • to the red pigment, minium.

  • Another important visual device used to increase

  • the prominence of certain portions of text

  • was to set them off

  • with large, ornate, and colorful capital letters,

  • often surrounded by tiny, detailed paintings.

  • The Italians began to refer

  • to these elaborate and diminutive paintings

  • as miniatura, illuminations.

  • Because of the necessarily small size of the paintings,

  • miniatura began to be associated with all things wee

  • and spawned to other words with the same base,

  • like the Latin minimum, for least.

  • Miniatura was transmuted into English

  • in the 16th century as the word, miniature,

  • and since that time,

  • it has had the exact same meaning we use today.

Mysteries of Vernacular

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B2 TED-Ed miniature pigment latin ornate began

【TED-Ed】Mysteries of vernacular: Miniature - Jessica Oreck

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    姚易辰 posted on 2014/02/13
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