Re: Stoefwritung in "Absent Voices"

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri Oct 01 2004 - 13:11:43 CST

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    At 10:22 -0800 2004-10-01, D. Starner wrote:
    >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.

    Eh? What sort of notion is this?

    >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."

    Oh, looky. Another one who thinks that the word is supposed to be
    written in all caps.

    >Another quote is "Learning to speak a foreign language was as simple
    >as learning to read your native tongue with stoefwritung."

    And what is it that "stoef" is supposed to mean? It's not in Clark
    Hall & Merrit's dictionary, anyway.

    >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.

    You borrowed the book from a library? I hope so.

    >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.

    I don't think I'd put this one into my wishlist, from your description.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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