forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Joe Martin
Date:  Wed Jan 20, 1999  5:54 pm
Subject:  Re: Typing SW in a Japanese Program

Valerie, and all;
You asked:

I notice you mention Chinese characters, versus Japanese characters. You
must forgive my ignorance...are they the same thing? I thought the
characters were different (smile).

I can answer this one; the characters are mostly the same--the Japanese
borrowed existing Chinese ones in order to writetheir language. Evidently
they weren't as ambitious as you -LOL- didn't want to invent their own
writing system!
All the characters are built up out of seven basic strokes--straight line
horizontal & straight line verticle, hook, dot,.....etc. By adding these
together in combinations you can make all the characters; some have over
twenty strokes in them. (but then, they don't `rotate' like SW symbols)

BUT!!! things aren't so simple. the Chinese have nine basic strokes, they
include a couple of right-angle bent ones that the Japanese don't use--so
along with the ones used by both languages, you'll see symbols in Chinese
that are unlike any used in Japanese.
The horrible thing is, though, that the Japanese don't write all their
language in Characters; they also use a syllabary--40 (?) separate
symbols that represent phonetically the sounds of the language. If we did
this in English we would use a Character for "Write" and then spell out
the "ing" in letters to get "writing." I know this sounds awkward, but
it's even worse than it sounds; there are not one but TWO sets of syllable
symbols! So.... for those who claim that SignWriting is hard to
learn..... :-)

Chinese doesn't have the syllabary, but you have to know over 3000
An option on either language might be to skip the characters and write the
text out in roman letters--they can do that too! [although Chinese needs
little diacritics over each word. >:( ] Using roman letters, and
SignWritng symbols would be just like adding Spanish SL or any of the
others that you've already done, I think.


  Replies Author Date
926 Re: Typing SW in a Japanese Program Valerie Sutton Thu  1/21/1999
931 Re: Typing SW in a Japanese Program Mark Penner Fri  1/22/1999
946 How Are SW Symbols Invented? Valerie Sutton Tue  1/26/1999
960 ...the Full Moon Smiles... Valerie Sutton Sun  1/31/1999
967 Re: About Sign Dic... Valerie Sutton Sun  1/31/1999
969 Re: About Sign Dic... Valerie Sutton Mon  2/1/1999
984 Finding Links to a Site Valerie Sutton Wed  2/3/1999

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