Punctuation and Orthographic Signs

One of the main problems associated with studying mercantile (relating to trade or commerce) scripts is their tendency to be misread and subsequently misinterpreted. In continuous scripts, such as Khojkiinfo-icon, adjacent words are often joined erroneously, resulting in an arbitrary reconstruction of a group of letters by readers, which can alter the meaning of sentences.

To prevent this, Khojki adopted the use of a colon-like punctuation mark to distinguish between different words (see right). It became conventional among later scribes to faithfully insert this sign at the end of every word, although it is rare in older Khojki texts. However, this punctuation was often misplaced in the middle of a word, thereby mistakenly dividing it and causing confusion.

Other punctuation signs were also used. One or more vertical strokes, sometimes preceded by colon-like dots, indicate the end of a verse. The verse numbers are usually written in between two pairs of vertical stokes or between two sets of dots (see below). In longer works that are divided into several parts, the number of each part may have an additional horizontal line drawn over it (see right).

Under the influence of the Perso-Arabic alphabet, the superscript shaddah was usually placed over a doubled consonant. In a few cases, three superscript dots above the consonant appear to perform the same function, though this usage is rare.

The completion of a text was also indicated by a sign: usually two horizontal lines either on the last line or immediately below it.

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