Stoefwritung in "Absent Voices"

From: D. Starner (
Date: Fri Oct 01 2004 - 12:22:59 CST

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: Stoefwritung in "Absent Voices""

    Has anyone read "Absent Voices", by Rochell Altman? Taking her description
    of stoefwritung, it seems that Unicode needs a large block tenatively
    set aside for Anglo-Saxon writing, as every mark written was obviously
    phonetically distinct from any other, and size and vertical location
    were equally important. After all, it was a universal writing system
    clearly superior to the IPA. (For one thing, everyone can read Anglo-Saxon,
    but IPA takes learning.) Locally important in her off-handed dismissal
    of modern universal writing systems and universal languages, "In the
    computerized world of the late-twentieth century, the UNICODE Consortium
    was trying to create a 'universal' computer character set." Another
    quote is "Learning to speak a foreign language was as simple as learning
    to read your native tongue with stoefwritung."

    It amazes me that a book subtitled "The Story of Writing Systems in the
    West" spends so much time on Anglo-Saxon, and that a book that claims
    that a writing system is a universal system is about "the West", never
    going east of Babylon and rarely east of Calais.

    For all my mocking, I must admit I've barely glanced through the book, and
    it looks like there might actually be a wealth of real information about
    Anglo-Saxon writing in there. I'm curious if anyone else has seen this book
    and has comments.

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