RE: Phaistos in ConScript

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Jul 08 2002 - 20:20:22 EDT

Ken. Thanks for your response.

> > Now let us say I wish to represent this text LTR, as I do. Well if I
>> reverse the presentation order without I get PLUMED-HEAD SHIELD CLUB
>> PEDESTRIAN BOOMERANG -- but if I don't reverse the glyphs, than
>> plumed-head is still facing to the right, as is the boomerang -- how
>> am I to know that the directionality is LTR?
>Because then it will say:

As I said, the original might (assuming a syllabic structure and
assigning random syllable values) well be LABUGIDANO, but when
reversed it might read NODAGIBULA which could be a valid linguistic
sequence. OK, so reading the whole text you would come up with
readings which wouldn't make sense, so you would have to start over
with a different directionality. Given the practice of the other
scripts in the region, I consider this unlikely given its
impracticality. The people who used scripts with multiple
directionalities did reverse the glyphs when reversing the
directionality. The inherent directionality of Phoenician BETH or of
PLUMED-HEAD or of Egyptian WN (the bunny rabbit) lends itself to the
use of such glyph-indicated directionality for text in general. I
would not assume, additionally, that the Phaistos script would always
be written on disks in spiral formatting. That too would be unlikely
and impractical, would it not?

> > I can't. I will start reading with the boomerang.
>What's the matter -- can't you read and write Phaistos correctly?


> > That Godart did not make this correction in his book when he used LTR
> > directionality was an error. I'm sticking by the decision I made when
> > I made my fonts, because it is more likely to be right than not.
>I think you may be sticking your neck out rather far (to the left)
>on this one. I am inclined to agree with Marco about the issue for
>presentation. Why should you innovate over Godart here in this
>*particular* instance, based on so little evidence.

Because I suspect that Godart might well agree with me -- I don't
imagine that he ever considered this aspect of text presentation. And
because it makes sense given the context of other scripts in the

>You could be right, but then you could be wrong, too.

So could Godart! He was describing the disk, not thinking about
encoding and presenting it!

> > There aren't any other scripts in the area which change
>directionality without
> > reversing the glyphs, and Phaistos certainly isn't Chinese.
>Well that much I agree 100% with.

My point being that though Beijing and Hong Kong newspaper headlines
might present LTR or RTL directionality without mirroring, this
practice is rare or indeed unknown in Europe at 1700 BCE.

Well that's my opinion anyway. I suppose we could try to contact
Godart and ask his opinion. It's not as though the CSUR is

Michael Everson *** Everson Typography ***

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