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Re: Non-linear full-2d writing (again)

From:Sai Emrys <sai@...>
Date:Thursday, January 26, 2006, 16:37
(Grr mail problems.)

On 1/25/06, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
> Thanks - that's a tall order :P
I try.
> To be _fully_ 2D it must be at least a network, and something *that > cannot be recomposed in linear form _without loss of meaning_*.
I think this is a pretty good summary. With of course the clause that everything can be linearized (viz. all digitization) with no actual loss of data; it's just that they loose *comprehensibility*. (E.g. arrays -> lists still preserve their data, but are not nearly as easy to read as a NxN grid.) So perhaps, "without loss of comprehensible meaning"?
> Secondly, there must be positive reason for using two dimensions. It > should not be just linear stuff, recomposed, with a few extra 'fancy bits'.
> What, I think, we are attempting is to represent thought without having > to process the thoughts through linear language. It is an attempt to > represent thought(s) as, say, a 'thought-web'.
This point I would quibble about. I think it is definitely a subpart of the larger problem, but it is not equal. Expressing thoughts is only one purpose to which language (including this one) can be put; the language / writing system itself is a (ahem) content-free grammar. The general purpose of language is to communicate, period. So it is a dangerous exaggeration to say that all communications / writings in this language need be of the scope and detail (and form) of thought-representation. Of course, that brings up the question of what you *are* trying to communicate (if not the entirety of the thought, which would be rather 'tall order' indeed)... and how much you leave unstated under the assumption that the reader can figure out, or already has, the necessary extra info.
> > and kept overstating my position > > IME a common habit of those who disagree with one another :)
I try not to do it. It's irritating, and distracting. Makes me think that someone is a bit too ego-scared, requires coddling and firmness to get anywhere. A distraction.
> > I think I left that conversation > > with her still thoroughly convinced that what I was talking about was > > completely impossible by everything she knew from linguistics and > > cogpsych - > > Yes, an overstatement - to say something is _completely_ impossible is > often rash. I don't know how realizable such a non-linear full-2d > writing system is - perhaps it may prove impossible. But until we try we > will not know.
OK, that was an overstatement on *my* part. What she said more precisely was that she believed firmly that it would not be *practicable*, useful by normals, or useable even by specialists except with great difficulty. And expressed major ethical qualms over the idea of having it be taught to a child (even one with access to common L1s as well). - Sai


R A Brown <ray@...>