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Logographic English was Re: Divergent Scripts

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Saturday, August 31, 2002, 11:59
On Friday 30 August 2002 19:32, Barry Garcia wrote:
> Of course i've read that > english words are *somewhat* ( note: i never said they are, so don't jump > on me for that :)), logographic, but that's due to the way things are > spelled.
No need to be defensive; English words are most definitely moving toward a quasi-logographic system. Personally, I think that's a good thing. With increasingly dialectal divergence, pretty soon the only way to understand what someone is saying is to ask them to write it out. :) People may complain about the irregularities of English spelling, but it's the best solution to language change. I can easily imagine a scenario in which students five hundred years hence are still able to read Hemingway in the "original" with only glosses at the bottom of the page for obsolete words (much like what we do for Shakespeare today), even though pronunciation has completely changed. I have a Korean friend living in Japan who happened to meet a Taiwanese man on the subway. He said they communicated very well writing in Chinese, since neither spoke the other's langauge, and the Taiwanese man didn't speak Japanese. I didn't think to ask him at the time, but I wonder if it would have been as easy for him to communicate with a mainland Chinese person who only knew the simplified system. :Peter


John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>