Date: Sat Mar 9, 2002 7:05
SignWriting List Forum
> > I'm sure a Chinese or Egyptian might think (or have thought) that
>their logographic systems were more efficient than an alphabetic
>script. I am not sure having not spoken with a Chinese or Egyptian
>to see their thoughts <SMILE>.
Logographic writing systems don't generally last. Usually they
degenerate into syllabaries and then alphabets. Cuneiform pictographs
became very stylized, and like Egyptian, there were alphabetic signs,
syllabic signs, and unpronounced "determinatives" (determinatives are
a grammatical category in Irish Sign Language, interestingly). There
has been a lot of work done on how much actual phonetic information
is encoded in most Chinese logographs, too.
Anyway efficiency has to do with lots of questions. How long does it
take to learn? Is the language composed of mono- or di-syllables
which can easily be represented by a single unit?
Michael Everson *** Everson Typography *** http://www.evertype.com