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

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, May 12, 2005, 17:33
On Wednesday, May 11, 2005, at 11:48 , Remi Villatel wrote:

> 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. > [---CUT---] > >> *nodnod* I wonder how you could take advantage of psych / cogsci / >> perception research to optimize for this... >> >> Ideas?
> Logograms/Ideograms
..which are *not* the same thing - ideograms are symbols representing concepts or _ideas_, hence the name. Mathematical symbols are often given as examples. Ancient Egyptian writing was for centuries considered to be ideographic, so was Chinese writing first became known to westerners. We know know this is wrong in both cases. Most scholars now agree that no writing system ever worked this way (tho some may contain ideograms as, indeed, ours does in certain specialized domains). Logogram should, strictly speaking, mean a symbol representing a whole (spoken) word but conventionally it generally means 'a symbol representing a single morpheme' and is applied to Chinese writing. Tho even here it is not entirely correct as polysyllabic monomorphemic words (admittedly a small minority in the language) are written with one character per syllable. But "morpho-syllabogram", which I guess is the really 'correct' term, is a bit of a mouthful and I think only the most pedantic object to logogram :) But - while ideograms may well figure in the type of non-linear full-2d writing Sai has in mind, I do not think logograms would.
> 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.
Why? They are written with mosdtly _phonetic_ symbols and enclosed in a cartouche. I don't see how this really relates to either ideograms or logograms.
> 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. > [---CUT---] > >> Strongly *dis*agreed. "A few words one above the other" is an >> extremely linear concept.
Absolutely! It sounds as though these semagrams are rather like the Egyptian proper names, but instead of the symbols being phonetic components they are word components.
>> 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;
Like a cartouche around a proper name :) But if the _words_ describe a mental image when taken together is it not necessary to know how the words relate to one another, otherwise we could finish up with ambiguities like the infamous "little girls' school"? [snip]
>>> 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.
True. [snip]
> I think that losing data is the only purpose of a 2D writing system:
?? Loosing _data_ doesn't seem a good idea to me. Nor have I considered this the purpose of 2d writing.
> To lose datas
Ach y fi! Either a double plural or a pluralized count noun or, hopefully, a typo :)
> 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.
That sounds to me just like plain bad writing! If the data is not necessary and, indeed, superfluous, then IMO it should not be there quite irrespective of whether the writing is 1d, 2d or 3d. [snip]
>> 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.
But I thought Sai wanted a writing that did _not require_ a reduction to speech. So what has speaking got to do with it? Indeed, didn't Sai refer to the linearization required by speech as a "bottleneck"? I quote: {quote} I feel that this is a bottleneck, honestly, and I kinda resent that I have to resort to such because I don't have better tools at my disposal; it's like my a lot of my thought gets lost in translation into "normal" language, because of inherent low-level flaws (or more generously, "mismatches") in the system. {unquote} [Sai - 10th May] Interestingly, I was at first rather indifferent about the 2d business - but as this thread progresses I'm getting more and more interested in the type of writing I think Sai has in mind, rather than some 2d representation of spoken language. The latter I could do by 30th June - but I don't think I could do it as well as Trent has done :=( But the former by June 30th? I think not :=( Ray =============================================== =============================================== Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]


Sai Emrys <saizai@...>
Remi Villatel <maxilys@...>