Print and word concepts
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This starting point refers to the rules, conventions and practices that govern the use of print and the written English language. They include the following:
- Print (the written word) carries meaning.
- Written text in English is read from left to right.
- The lines of text in English are read from left to right, and from top to bottom of the page (a return sweep of the eyes is needed to move from the end of one line to the start of the next).
- Spaces between words signify the end of one word and the beginning of another.
- There are spaces to separate lines and paragraphs.
- The parts of a published book usually follow a pattern, although not all are always present (cover with title, title page, contents page, sections or chapters, index, back cover).
There are also rules or guidelines about words themselves that most literate English speakers take for granted. These conventions establish ‘norms’ for recognising words as words.
For example, in English:
- words are made up of individual letters
- the letters are formed from left to right
- words may be written in lower and/or upper case letters
- some words begin with an upper case letter (as determined by certain conventions)
- words with a hyphen in the middle are treated as a single word.
- There are spaces between words that signify each word’s boundary, and much smaller spaces between the letters in a word (cursive handwriting may not leave any white space between joined-up letters).