Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Mon May 24 2004 - 10:28:41 CDT

  • Next message: James Kass: "Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?"

    Mark E. Shoulson <mark at kli dot org> wrote:

    >> I'm guessing none of your test subjects have read Paleo-Hebrew texts,
    >> like the Dead Sea scroll ones. If not, how can they make judgements
    >> on this issue? It would be like testing readers of Roman German who
    >> had never read Fraktur - they wouldn't recognize it as a font change
    >> either (which it is, of course, in Unicode).

    Of course they would. We are dramatically exaggerating the differences
    between Fraktur and Antiqua here.

    > I'm sure none of them have. But I dispute your claim. Even if the
    > German readers couldn't read the fraktur, I'll bet they could
    > recognize it as Latin letters, just in a font they can't completely
    > make out. In fact, just for laughs, I'll try an experiment out this
    > evening: I'll show my children (aged 6 and 8) some fraktur text and
    > ask them what it is. It's unlikely they'll ever have seen it before.
    > Maybe I'll even show it to them in German text, so it's even less
    > likely for them to recognize. And maybe even some Suetterlin. Just
    > to see if they say, at least, "It's some letters... I can't really
    > read them, though..."

    Remember, I've already performed a similar experiment. Supposedly
    Vietnamese wasn't legible in Fraktur. Well, I printed out some
    Vietnamese in Fraktur (without diacritics, which made the Vietnamese
    even harder to recognize), and my Vietnamese colleague who learned
    English as a second language and does not know German recognized it
    immediately. And when shown the Sütterlin, he couldn't read it but
    certainly recognized it as handwriting.

    Look here with this Fraktur thing: There is a school of thought that
    says Phoenician and Hebrew are different scripts that have "diverged" in
    some sense. Obviously not everyone subscribes to this school of
    thought; Dean Snyder is perhaps our most prominent example. That's
    fine, OK? But there is NO school of thought that Fraktur and Antiqua
    are different scripts that have "diverged" in any meaningful way.
    Fraktur use of round-s and long-s was completely mirrored by Antigua use
    at the time both styles were in heavy use, and the sharp-s ligature
    continues to be used in Antiqua.

    Fraktur is a stylistic variant of the Latin script, plain and simple,
    and should not be used to try to prove one side or the other in this
    dispute over Phoenician.

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon May 24 2004 - 10:32:12 CDT