Ken is right, even if you don't believe him, and some "native" readers
(there is no such a thing, but I guess you mean Chinese and Japanese
persons) already confirmed this.
A CJK "ideograph" is a bi-dimensional thing containing simpler things; it is
*not* a sequence of elements.
(I wish it was: so we could define an "alphabet" of radicals and throw away
the whole 30,000+ ideographs. But ufortunately I have been told that this is
When we write a character, we must trace the elements in a sequence, unless
we use a typewriter or a computer (or two brushes at a time:-).
But when we read it, nothing forces our eye to follow a particular sequece:
we do *not* "parse" it: we look at it. First we recognize the general
structure and, if we haven't yet recognized the character, we go into
details. In this second look, the elements that we consider first are those
that are simpler and better known. Our brain (that is an economic animal)
tends to postpone analyzing the complicated and unknown things, hoping that
we reach the solution *before* doing so.
Moreover, consider that the relative placement of radical component does not
at all depend on the writing order (that was established centuries later,
btw): it often depends on the meaning of the radical.
E.g., the 4-stroke "fire" radical is under the phonetic components because
fire is normally under a pot. And I don't need to explain why the
"enclosure" radical is all around the phonetic, and the "roof" radical is on
top of it.
We recognize these radicals the same way that, looking at a picture, we
notice that a fire is lit behind a pot, or a garden has a fence around it,
or a house has a roof: we just see it, with no need of "parsing".
> -----Original Message-----
> From: A. Vine [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: 2000 January 12, Wednesday 01.56
> To: Unicode List
> Subject: Re: Japanese RTL (was RE: Mongolian (was RE: Syriac and
> Sorry Ken, your empirical evidence doesn't convince me. And one's eyes
> definitely go to a portion of the character, be it the top or right or
> I am not asserting anything, but I am asking the question. I _really_
> like the native (people who have learned in an immersion environment from
> a very
> young age as their primary reading system) readers to respond.
> Andrea Vine, email@example.com
> Sun-Netscape Alliance i18n architect
> Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.
> -- Dr. Dave Farber (father of SNOBOL and one of the creators of Token
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