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Re: NATLANG: Dravidian langs really *are* cool!

From:Eugene Oh <un.doing@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 9:57
On 19/03/2008, Ollock Ackeop <ollock@...> wrote:
> Maybe not, though ISTR that some of the katakana *are* very similar. I only > looked at it for a little bit, but I know that there are a couple characters > there that are distinguished only by the direction of the stroke -- and in a > way that isn't all that apparent if you're not writing with a brush. >
You must be talking about the characters "shi" vs. "tsu" and "so" vs. "n", the first pair with two dots and a stroke, and the second pair with a dot and a stroke each. the direction and alignment of the dots are different, and Japanese handwriting norms generally mean the existence of, say, a hook at the bottom of "shi" to indicate the upstroke, cf. "tsu". シ shi ツ tsu ソ so ン n Seasoned readers (all native Japanese included) will be able to tell them apart even in handwriting much as English-readers can b and d, or p and q. Or all four. Or handwritten "a" vs. "d" which differ only by the length of the right vertical stroke. Eugene
> Overall, though, I think the kana are a good writing system. I don't > particularly like the kanji. I'm studying Mandarin now, and I see how > logograms work beautifully for Chinese -- though even there it has some > kinks and a few disadvantages -- but from what I know of their application > to Japanese, it just seems like would make reading quite complicated, since > AFAIK nearly every character will end up with multiple readings, and the > already enormous memorization task of learning it just gets that much more > complicated as you add more readings. > > That's MHO, of course. The Japanese seem to get along fine with their > writing systems, so if it works, it works. Far be it from me to tell them > how to write -- I don't even speak their language. >