Date: Thu Dec 16, 1999 1:25
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: writing compounds
>Semantics -- gripes! My lay understanding is that when two words join to
>form a single word, that word os a compound by definition (at least by my
>definition.) Thus, FIREMAN is indeed a single word and it is a compound.
>Right? So, is APPLE TREE in english a compound or two words? I think they
>are two words, but APPLESAUCE is a compound. (I cheated -- used a
>dictionary.) I don't know whether APPLE TREE is one or two words (or more)
Hi James & Everyone....
Yes...I am a lay person too when it comes to definitions of linguistic
terms etc. The real difference between the word FIREMAN and hyphenated
words (I guess), leans towards what Fernando was saying...that languages
change overtime to something that is more centrally placed or more
condensed. And perhaps way back in history, the word FIREMAN was written
FIRE-MAN...I don't know. Really it is the hyphen that bothers me...as far
as I can see a hyphen is not mandatory between the parts of a
compound....maybe new compounds, but not old ones? What do you think?
Some languages string several words together in a long line - it is amazing
that people know where one word stops and the other starts!
And something similar is happening in writing compound signs in
SignWriting. Years ago, back in the early 1980's, when we were real new to
writing signs, we went through a stage where we used a line as a hypen
between two signs that were considered compounds. So I know exactly where
you are coming from, since I've been there!
But time marches on, and new writing conventions evolve...Now the writing
of compound signs is becoming like FIREMAN...one sign instead of two, with
That doesn't mean I am saying you should drop your hypens, James! Nor do I
want anyone else to change your writing styles...I am just sharing some of
the newer developments. This has come about partly because of writing "down
the page"...so now I will attach several signs in a row to show you some
examples of this evolution...