Date: Sat Mar 16, 2002 5:09
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: SW transparency: ideographic iconicity & alphabetic regularity.
> Meanwhile I really would like to know the answer to the question...
One of the dictionary definitions for "transparent" is instructive here:
"Easily seen through or detected; obvious."
A good alphabetic writing system uses the minimum numbers of symbols
needed to accurately represent the language, which amounts to something
like one symbol for each phoneme. This is "transparent," because the
spoken/signed form can be (at least theoretically) reconstructed from
this. In this sense Spanish orthography is more transparent than English.
Fernando's second use of transparency hinges more on iconicity. More
often than not, a sign written in SW *looks* like the same sign executed
in space. The sign of course, is quite often iconic so we get iconicity
of iconicity (of iconicity...?)
So, for a writing system, transparency is...
Definition #1: efficient (in an information-theoretic sense), yet
Definition #2: iconic
I believe Fernando's point is that SW may encompass both definitions.