Re: Shorthand (Re: Camion Code

Date: Mon Aug 23 1999 - 10:25:15 EDT

       Apparently, I messed up the address on this one. I thought it
       was worth resubmitting, but as this sub-topic is way off topic
       for this list, I'll refrain from pursuing it further.


       ---------------------- Forwarded by Peter
       Constable/IntlAdmin/WCT on 08/23/99 10:25 AM
       (Originally sent on 1999-08-20)

       JoAnne Marie wrote:
> If at some later stage they'd like to explore
> the rich history (possibly even 'epistomology') contained in
       the etymology > - they are so much the richer, but we are
       presently 'condemning' large
> numbers of 'native English speakers' to 'functional
       illiteracy' by
> 'cleaving to' the out-dated mishmash which is 'traditional
> orthography'!

       Sorry, JoAnne Marie, but CC would impose functional illiteracy
       on a rather larger proportion of the population for at least
       the following reasons:

       - The significant information is represented by very subtle
       graphical distinctions (e.g. stroke weight or length) that
       hinder reading fluency. As Markus (I think) pointed out, fluent
       readers process entire chunks of the graphical representation
       at a time, but the subtle distinctions would result in so many
       spellings that are very nearly similar that there would be a
       much higher error rate.

       - The subtle graphical distinctions would very definitely be
       lost in handwriting, unless we all used brushes or used nibbed
       pens and learned to rotate the pen properly. Even then, there
       will be lots of problems: How heavy can a stroke get before it
       changes from "thin" to "thick"? Users will not be consistent in
       stroke weights, and ambiguity will result.

       - In spite of the inconicity, the interpretation is not at all
       intuitive, but interpretation is expected to be done in terms
       of the iconicity. People will not likely master that well and
       will take longer in learning to recognise chunks (see above),
       and they will have a much harder time coping with words that
       are new to them.

       - The graphical representation uses presentation space
       extremely inefficiently.

       - The need to jump up and down and, in many situations, to
       write multiple strokes in the same horizontal but different
       vertical positions is a severe obstacle to writing fluency.

       - The need for exactness in detail (e.g. is that stroke right
       on the line - a consonant, or just off the line - a vowel) is a
       severe obstacle to writing fluency. In practice, the necessary
       level of exactness in detail could never be achieved adequtely,
       with the result that there is a lot of ambiguity (the stroke
       seems to start on the line and drift off), resulting in big
       obstacles to reading fluency.

       These factors would have a *far* worse impact on English
       literacy than does the influence of etymology on English


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