Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

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

From:Sai Emrys <saizai@...>
Date:Friday, May 6, 2005, 19:56
Ray -

> Now - a 3d writing system would be interesting ;)
*laugh* Agreed, and something I've proposed elsewhere - it would probably have to be holographic, or sculptural, or somesuch. I've no idea how it would work. ;-) Surely you take my point about nonlinearity, though - writing now is 2d in its symbols, yes, but not in anything else (e.g. syntax or flow).
> That sounds very much like the 'box analysis' we used to do in English > lessons way back in the 1950s.
IIRC, my elementary school made us do those. That would be similar, except that it functions merely as a transcription / code for English, and in addition it reduplicates the information already encoded in the words. :-P
> Umm - sounds more radical and possibly more interesting :)
*grin* Technically a separate idea, but I think it integrates well. I'll post my recent term paper about this sometime soon.
> Even if whole sentences are depicted as a single symbol construct > (glyph/frame/ or whatever) the sentences will surely follow sequentially > or linearly.
Certainly... *if* one was transcribing sentences. But I see no reason why one would need to do this, unless the sentences themselves match an actually linear outside thing, like conversations over time... and even those, one could argue about (that whole "linearity of time" thing is rather traditional Sci-Fi fodder - viz. Heptapod B). Can you give me some other (i.e. not time-linked) example of something that would necessarily be written linearly? Keep in mind that you're aiming for writing the semantics, not exact translation / transcription...
> Surely what we are on about is a written system that conveys much more > information in its symbols that just approximations to the segmental > sounds and, indeed, is not related to sound.
One hopes. :-P (To be a full system, it might well have some subpart that is specifically suited to transcribing sound, but I could see this as being unnecessary also - though it would limit the domain somewhat.)
> We did - and I'm fairly sure you participated in it; I certainly did. IIR > it was initiated by Sai when he joined the list :)
Muh? I don't see myself on that thread - though I notice that it's in the same digest as my first messages; care to explain how it came about? (If I'd initiated it and seen it, I would no doubt have replied, since I agree with a lot of the original poster's ideas...)
> Let's not simply repeat all the old arguments over again - that would be > tedious in the extreme.
> As I said in the previous discussion arguing about its possibility or > otherwise is not going get us very far IMO. The best thing surely is to > attempt to do it!
*nod* Let the question be, then, not "if" but "how". ;-)
> But a discussion of what language is could take us into quite a lengthy > thread. On my shelves I have a complete book of some 216 pages written by > Robert Dixon in 1965 called "What _is_ Language?" I have no doubt that > even weightier tomes have been written with similar titles.
*laugh* I like the basic dozen or so properties as summarized by various intro linguistics texts. (_Linguistics of American Sign Language_ has a nice one that is, obviously, not speech-biased.)
> We don't know, do we? The *idea* is certainly not new and similar ideas > can be found at least as early as the 17th century.
*nod* Would you happen to know any references for fleshed-out or expanded versions of it? I've seen the (extremely small) websites for the langauges mentioned above - here's another, btw: (links to the actual website, which is down) - but haven't seen much else. Obviously I already have the basic idea; I'd be curious to see how others have actually developed it. Hopefully it's not as ... shall we say, "shortsighted", as Lebniz's other attempts at conlanging. :-P (I read Yaguello and others and had to cringe at how many obvious "uber-newbie conlanger" design mistakes there were...)
> Presumably, that's what Sai wanted when he asked: "Comments / links / > amazingly better and well-thought-out ideas?"
Exactly so. So, then: what would be a good way to have two-dimensional syntax? AFAIC, merely putting in 2d something that could function linearly would be a bastardization - e.g. English "sentence diagrams" or similar nonsense. Let me rephrase: in a normal language, you get all the information encoded in two ways - linear syntax, and stuff inherent to the words (e.g. morphology and semantics). What could be offloaded onto the syntax - and I'm assuming here that it can carry a lot more semantic responsibility than it does in a linearized syntax, not merely some sort of tree diagram (since linear does manage to do that just fine) - and what could the atoms (would there *be* atoms?) add to replace that responsibility? I can see essentially two large concepts of how to do it: atoms-and-relations (as I proposed) ... and a second system which would have all be on the same level, i.e. not have distinct items that are being combined but rather mesh together organically. The latter would be quite a lot more difficult to develop, of course... but also more interesting, if possible. ;-) - Sai


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>