# signal and noise in phonologies and scripts

From: | Anton Sherwood <bronto@...> |

Date: | Tuesday, December 4, 2001, 16:19 |

Muke Tever wrote:
> An optimal language will have a balanced signal-to-noise ratio....

This was my gripe about Janet Kagan's HELLSPARK. The central character
is from a trading culture, whose language deliberately uses all the
phonemes of all known human languages, so that the traders can speak all
languages without `accent' (phonological contamination). The noise
problem is never mentioned.
In related news, I've invented a script.
I don't know how others go about that. My approach was formal. I
wanted to build all the characters out of a small set of features, to
ensure a family resemblance.
I chose to use connected sets of 6 segments out of these 12:
__ __
|__|__|
|__|__|
This gives about three hundred figures (I've misplaced my notes).
But I'm looking for an efficient mathematical way to soften the angles.
I want to write a program to approximate a given piecewise-linear figure
such as
|__|
|__|
with analytic functions of
\______
/
/
in the complex plane. (I was going to use least squares, but found that
cumbersome; I want something that lends itself naturally to successive
approximation, like a Taylor series or continued fraction. One special
case gives a neat Fourier series, shown on my `doodles' page.)
After my program draws a sequence of such approximations,
I'll decide which degree looks most like real lettering.
--
Anton Sherwood -- http://www.ogre.nu/