forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 517  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  Cheryl Zapien
Date:  Wed Oct 28, 1998  5:13 pm
Subject:  Re: Iconicity (was Re: Frequently-Asked Questions)

My background (calligrapher, specializing in Medieval calligraphy) also colors
how I view writing systems. For practical day-to-day purposes, I favor
legability and speed over beauty and careful placement. SW, IMHO, is highly
legible. As for speed, well, I haven't been writing it long enough to be able
to tell. I side with Charlamagne on the issue of legible writing--if you can't
read your missives, it's hard to run the Empire. *smile* Cheryl

Karlin, Ben wrote:

> 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.
> >

  Message 517  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index