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Re: Polysemy

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Sunday, November 16, 2003, 18:49
Why is polysemy intolerable?

Ray wrote:

<<_nb_ = 'all, every' and _nb_ = 'lord';
_sn_ = 'brother' and _sn_ = '(to) kiss' [verb]>>

In the writing system, of course, there was no confusion with Egyptian.   So,
for example, the /nb/ that was used to mean "every" had no determinative,
whereas the /nb/ that meant "lord" had a human determinative.   Other examples
are /za/, which could mean "son" or "protection", but when "protection" was
meant, a particular type of glyph was used (it's abstract; can't describe what it
looks like too well), and when "son" was meant, it was generally a goose.
Similarly, for "brother" and "kiss", I know the spear was always used for
brother, along with the "male human" determinative, but I'm pretty sure "kiss"
didn't use the spear, but was spelled out...   In either case, the it seems like
the disambiguation wasn't actually necessary in writing, since context would
give it to you pretty much every time.   The differences in writing simply became
spelling, so, for example, the difference between "bow", "bough" and "beau".
 Such was the difference between "protection" and "son".

Anyway, it should also be noted that though Egyptian never wrote the short
vowels, they always wrote the long ones.   It was as if they felt the short
vowels didn't make a difference, but the long vowels did.   Thus far, I haven't
seen a writing system that doesn't   have a way of marking some kind of vowel at



Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>