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
> 'cleaving to' the out-dated mishmash which is 'traditional
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
- 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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