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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 --