Sceptre will publish Signs of Civilization: How Punctuation Changed History by Norwegian academic Bård Borch Michalsen later this year.
Non-fiction publisher Rupert Lancaster pre-empted world English language rights from Norwegian publisher Spartacus. It will be published in the UK on 4th November in hardback, eBook and audiobook formats.
Michalsen, who is a lecturer in professional communication at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø and revised the text for the English language market, said: "Punctuation is not only an important part of our language code; an advanced system of punctuation has been a driving force in our entire Western Civilisation. Nothing less.
"Written language has unquestionably played a vital role in the development of civilisation, and this could not have taken place without the intervention of the comma, question mark and other forms of punctuation. Not only through the possibilities for growth and expansion through trade and communication, which the first written language inspired nearly 5000 years ago, but through the great upheaval that came with the changes in the way a text was organised - for example, with the introduction of spaces between words."
Lancaster describes the book as, "the perfect Christmas gift for anyone interested in language."
He added: "Signs of Civilization is 172 pages of entertaining erudition, full of 'Did you know?' nuggets that so many people will enjoy – and remember when they next read or write anything. As soon as I heard about the book at the London Book Fair from Dina Roll-Hansen of NORLA I thought I wanted to publish it. Then she showed me the beautiful finished copy and I knew I had to publish it."
Publication is being supported by NORLA (Norwegian Literature Abroad) the organisation which promotes the export of Norwegian literature through active profiling work and translation subsidies.