forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Stuart Thiessen
Date:  Wed Aug 25, 1999  8:17 pm
Subject:  Re: question to linguists...

Not being a professional linguist (yet), I can't say for positive.
However, my understanding of the terms would lead me to conclude that
SW is more of an alphabetic than a logographic script. The reason
for this conclusion is because each element of SW is documenting an
actual feature of the production of the sign. That would make it more
of a phonetic or phonemic script (depending on the degree of detail
used). On the other hand, a logographic script (as I understand it)
is a written symbol that represents a concept/idea rather than a
phonetic/phonemic "structure" of the word. Thus, (as I understand
it) most Chinese symbols can be understood by anyone speaking any
Chinese dialect because of the word/concept associated with the
symbol. The symbol itself carries little or no phonetic/phonemic
"baggage". No SW symbol has an arbitrary meaning. It is related to
the underlying phonetic/phonemic/cheremic (whatever) structure of the

Again, this is my understanding of it, and may not be entirely
accurate in all details.

Stuart Thiessen

On 25 Aug 99, at 18:45, Martin 'Lolly' Lorenz wrote:

> just shortly:
> would you agree with me that SignWriting is a logographic script?
> (to say it with the original words of A. Fok has a
> logographic ortographic structure in contrast to the
> alphabetic ortographic structure of written english, spanish,
> german, etc.)
> thanks
> --
> Martin "Lolly" Lorenz
> Microsoft, I think, is fundamentally an evil company.
> the more daring thing mostly is
> to question the known
> than to explore the unknown

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