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Re: Non-linear / full-2d writing systems?

From:Remi Villatel <maxilys@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 11, 2005, 22:48
Sai Emrys wrote:

>> So here came my idea. Whenever a non-linear writing system should be >> invented, why should it absolutely reproduces all the flaws of the linear >> system? Our visual cortex is capable of deciphering more that a word at a time.
> *nodnod* I wonder how you could take advantage of psych / cogsci / > perception research to optimize for this... > > Ideas?
I was thinking about real pictures but even if a picture is better than 1000 words, some words are also better 1000 pictures. "Freedom", "Thoughts", "Conlang" are the first 3 examples that come to my mind. Logograms/Ideograms could be really good but also very hermetic. And it makes you feel like an Egyptian when it comes to proper names... Unless you create a unique logogram for yourself. That's why I used words. I couldn't find anything better. Words are obvious.
>> So, a semagram is no more than a few words the one above the other which can >> be read at once, almost like a picture, as a whole. Thus, the semagrams are >> the symbols and the words are their atomic components. We don't need more.
> Strongly *dis*agreed. "A few words one above the other" is an > extremely linear concept. If you're going to treat them as a whole, > why not fuse them 2d, or even in a completely overlapping / > integrating fashion? Why keep the bounds of the constituent atoms and > then string those along?
Yes and no. I said "A few words one above the other" because it's a convenient way to write them but that's of no importance. What matters is that these few words describe a mental image *together.* That's why I used a framing around my semagrams; it fuses the atomic words in a whole.
>> If you haven't room enough, you just add a third dimension thanks to a >> hyper-semagram... well... a hyperlink just like on any HTML page. (We're >> living in a computerized world, ain't we?)
> Mm. I find that such things tend to be difficult for me to parse / > chunk, though - ones that rely on hyperlinks. Tend to get lost and not > have a sitemap, nor the ability to have a "zoomed-out" view of the > situation.
So do I. I was also thinking of adding a 3rd dimenstion (depth) when there isn't enough room left in the 2D plane. I actually had another idea in mind but I found it too hard to explain... until your semagram "zoomed-out view" unleashed my mind. Instead of laying the semagrams along lines and columns, you can zoom in a semagram to see the semagrams connected to it and the "upper level" is spread around the zooming area so you can zoom out or zoom in another semagram from the "upper level". So, a whole book is contained in a single semagram, you zoom in to access the chapter-semagrams, in which you can zoom to acess the content-semagrams, then details, then details related to details... and so on. Then the 2D text looks more like a tree with nodes, branches and leaves. You always have a general view and a detailed view where you zoom in. I think that would be closer from our way of thinking: a general "view" i.e. the object of our thoughts and a detailed view of what we set our "mental focus" on.
>> BUT this is no kind of writing system that can you read aloud. You can only >> read it for yourself then tell what you read with your own words. Speech has >> only one dimension so any non-linear writing system can logically only have >> an indirect relation with it.
> Not really. Any graph or tree can be linearized; it's just a > one-to-many relation. You'd also have to add salt in order to recover > the broken links, but that's doable. Probably not in a cognitively > easy way for a human, though, so you could consider that to be > effectively lost data.
I think that losing data is the only purpose of a 2D writing system: To lose datas that are unncessary for the reader to understand. Our linear writing system is so much full of superfluous data that we can get bored by a text on a subject that however interests us. Personnaly, when I read, I spend more time dreaming in between the lines than actually reading. I'm in a deep need of another writing system. ;-)
> That does beg the question, though, of how much you could screw with > it so as to render it not just nonlinear, but *nonlinearizable*... > *hmmmmmmmm*...
That's absolutely impossible. We already "linearize" our everyday 4D universe every time we speak. 2D is flatter(more flat?) than 4D... So whatever the number of dimensions, we can reduce them to only one: speech.
> (Your story, btw, showed in my gmail [via both Firefox and IE] as a > formatted table, but without lines of any kind - just cells. Was that > the intended appearance?)
All the cells are supposed to be framed with a black square of which one or two sides may be thicker to separate the "branches". I guess Gmail scrambles HTML pages with inline CSS. It appears correctly as a real mail with Mozilla-Mail and also correctly as a stand-alone page with Mozilla, Konqueror, Firefox and Opera. Gmail is to blame. I'd suggest you get the page from the list archives: A++ -- ================== Remi Villatel ==================


Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>