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From:  "Karlin, Ben"
Date:  Wed Oct 28, 1998  3:21 pm
Subject:  Re: Iconicity (was Re: Frequently-Asked Questions)

Angus' list of problems with SW is certainly thought-provoking. The one
that concerns me most is of indexability.

My interest in writing systems is long-time and parallels my background as a
typographer. It is interesting to me that recently I have been involved in
a number of conversations about problems with other writing systems and the
esthetics that govern their use. Most notable is the development of the
blackletter or fraktur faces in central Europe. They were also called
"textur" faces; fitting since a page of this stuff has the text woven so
tightly that the individual characters, even the words, were illegible,
sacrificed for an overall texture and color to the page.

Even in modern times there are sometimes esthetics beyond legibility that
govern how a writing system is used. In setting type for documents I would
frequently think of who the reader and what type of reading this would be,
adjusting design to make reading easier or harder in the cases of texts that
would require slow, careful reading.

My point is that once a system gains widespread use, its use is adjusted to
fit a variety of applications. I suspect that at some time the
relationships of the various parts of a SW symbol will become codified so
that it will be possible to index using SW. At present it is cumbersome but
the number of people using SW at present is also teeny tiny. And our
applications are, compared with other systems which have been used for
centuries, rudimentary.
Ben Karlin
Staff Interpreter for the Deaf, St Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center
5300 W Arsenal St, St Louis, MO 63139-1494
Phone 314 644-8270 V/TTY | Fax 314 644-8115


> 2) searchability. A friend pointed out to me that SignWriter's use of
> non-standardized coordinates (as well as using GIF images) means that text
> in SignWriting can never be indexed and searched. Unless significant
> changes are made to the software-internal representation of SignWriting
> and some system is in place for displaying them on the Web, we'll never
> see AltaVista in SignWriting, and you'll never be able to so much as look
> up a name in an address book in SignWriting.

  Replies Author Date
517 Re: Iconicity (was Re: Frequently-Asked Questions Cheryl Zapien Wed  10/28/1998

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