Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Tree writing [Was: Non-linear / full-2d writing systems?]

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Monday, May 9, 2005, 17:10
On Sat, May 07, 2005 at 12:40:15AM -0400, Patrick Littell wrote:
> Several years ago I had been thinking along very similar lines as Teoh has > been -- a radial, mostly-decorative representation of stories, prayers, > warnings, what-have-you, with a variable order of interpretation. Basically, > it was a tree-structure layed out radially, with the root in the center. The > design motif was itself tree-like, akin to a Celtic "Tree of Life", and each > glyph was an interwoven pattern.
Actually, what I have in mind is a little more than merely a strict tree with a unique root. The type of writing I have in mind could, of course, be tree-structured, but doesn't have to be. It is more graph-like, in that as long as the 2D space of the paper allows, symbols could very well form loops and other interconnections beyond the top-down hierarchy of a tree structure. [...]
> Firstly, though, think for a moment about the biggest benefit of a > Chinese-style writing system. Your answer may be different than mine, but I > consider the best part of the system its ability to simultaneously handle > similar but mutually-unintelligeable spoken languages. If I speak Mandarin > and you Cantonese, we may not be able to understand each other verbally, but > we can still communicate via writing. We don't pronounce the glyphs the > same, but we assign the same meanings to them. > > The only barrier to a language's "participation" in such a system is that it > must be (basically) analytic and have (basically) the same word order. I > figure two languages with a slightly different noun-number-classifier order > wouldn't put up too many barriers, but SOV and VSO languages would have a > tough time "collaborating" in such a way. > > But a *tree* (or a more general directed acyclic graph) is independent of > the order in which one traverses it. Speakers of VSO participants would thus > tends towards preorder traversals of nodes, speakers of SVO, inorder, and > SOV speakers, postorder. VOS, reverse preorder, OVS, reverse inorder, OSV, > reverse postorder. (The devil's in the details, of course, but you see the > idea.) So long as the participant languages remain reasonably analytic, the > system is at least possible. Not for several randomly chosen analytic-ish > real languages, probably, but certainly for several languages of one's own > invention!
[...] Sounds interesting. Although, you'd still have an overall linear order to it, since this writing would represent spoken language, and there is only 1 dimension of time for you to speak in. :-) So, not quite what Sai had a mind, but nevertheless still a very interesting approach to reconciling languages with different word orders. T -- Exaggerate?! I have never, *ever* exaggerated in my whole entire life, not even 0.000001 times!