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1. (historically) Normalisation takes place when the orthography (or other aspects of the language) of a text is changed in order to make it correspond to a certain standard. This happened to early (i.e. pre-classical) Greek and Latin texts, which underwent a process of orthographical orthographic modernisation in the classical or later periods. It also happened during the Roman Empire to certain Greek texts not originally written in classical Attic Greek, when Attic forms and inflection sometimes replaced other forms.


– Coleman, Robert. 1999. “Vulgarism and normalization in the text of Regula Sancti Benedicti.” In: In Latin vulgaire – Latin tardif V: Actes du Ve Colloque International sur le latin vulgaire et tardif, Heidelberg, 5-8 5–8 septembre 1997, eds. edited by Hubert Petersmann and Rudolph Kettemann, pp345–356. 345-356. Bibliothek der klas­sischen Altertumswissen­schaften, N.F. 2: 105. Heidelberg: Winter.
– Haverling, Gerd V. M. 2008. “On Variation in Syntax and Morphology in Late Latin texts.” In: Latin vulgaire – Latin tardif VIII: Actes du VIIIe Colloque International sur le latin vulgaire et tardif, Oxford, 6-9 6–9 septembre 2006, ed. Roger Wright, pp. 351-360351–360. Hildesheim, Zürich & New York: Olms - Weidmann.
– Pasquali, Giorgio. 1952. Storia della tradizione e critica del testo. 2nd editioned. Firenze: Le Monnier, . || See pp. 17 fn 2, 18, 118-123118–123, 142, 189.
– Reynolds, L. D.Leighton Durham, and Nigel G. Wilson. 1974. Scribes and Scholars. : A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature. 2nd editioned. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. || See p. 41.


2. (modern) In editions of classical as well as of mediaeval texts, the orthography is often normalised (see: analysis of forms). Although there are variations in this practice, the tendency seems to be that Latin texts especially from antiquity, are being edited with a regularised orthography, and to a less extent also Latin texts from mediaeval times. The question of normalised Latin texts has been debated on numerous occasions, notably in the journal Symbolae Osloenses (vol. 76), in which Heinz Hofmann argues strongly for normalisation, while Hans Helander argues for keeping the orthography of mediaeval Latin texts unchanged (Helander 2001).

As for vernacular texts from the Middle Ages, there is generally no standard orthography, so these editions tend to keep the orthography of the main manuscript. See, however, the discussion of Old High German normalised orthography in the entry on Lachmann’s method. For Old Norse texts (i.e. Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian), a fairly strict standard orthography was developed in the 19th century. Many Old Norse editions, e.g. in the Íslenzk fornrit series, use this normalised orthography (commonly referred to as “normalortografi” in the Scandinavian languages). This normalised orthography is also the one found in standard grammars and dictionaries of Old Norse. The delineation of Old Norse orthography is discussed at some length by Ludwig F. A. Wimmer (1877, pp. v-xxviiv–xxvii).

A special case of normalisation is the one used in eclectic editions based on sources with varying orthography. In these editions, a uniform orthography is usually chosen. Often, it is the orthography of the main manuscript (copy text) on which the edition is based, but especially in the case of Old Norse texts, it can be the normalised orthography referred to above.


– Helander, Hans. 2001. “Neo-Latin Studies: Significance and Prospects.” Symbolae Osloenses 76: 5-1025–102.
– Wimmer, Ludvig F. A. 1877. Oldnordisk læsebog med anmærkninger og ordsamling. 2nd ed. København: Chr. Steen & Söns forlag.


3. (for computersin collation) In the course of the preparation of the witness's data in collation, especially when using computer-assisted methods to study the transmission, certain orthographic features of the text – such as the use of capital letters, use of ‘v’ instead of ‘u’, ‘c’ instead of ‘t’ and the versatile use of ‘e’, ‘ae’ and e caudata (ę) – may need to be unified, since such features are subject to much variation in the manuscript traditions. This may be referred to as “normalisation”. It is done for instance by Roelli / and Bachmann 2010.


– Roelli, Philipp and Philipp, and Dieter Bachmann. 2010.  Towards “Towards Generating a Stemma of Complicated Manuscript Traditions: Petrus Alfonsi’s Dialogus, in: .” Revue d’histoire des textes nN.sS. 5, pp. 307-321.: 307–321.


In other languages

DE: Normalisierung, Regularisierung
FR: normalisation, régularisation
IT: normalizzazione, regularizzazioneregolarizzazione