Re: Measuring a writing system "economy"/"accuracy"

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue Jun 28 2005 - 23:54:52 CDT

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    Eric Muller wrote:

    > Has there been attempts to measure the "economy"/"accuracy" of writing
    > systems? If so, what measures have been used? And what are the results?

    Apart from what measures might be used, the other question is surely 'What is being
    measured?' From your message, particularly the reference to IPA, I suspect that you are
    talking about phonetic economy and accuracy. This is one kind of economy/accuracy, but one
    could also measure at the semantic level, in which case 'ideographic' writing systems
    would presumably be more economical.

    Robert Bringhurst's essay on writing system classification/description, originally
    published in _Language Culture Type_ and now available in expanded form as _The solid form
    of language_, discusses a number of different measurable aspects of writing systems.
    Robert proposes a diagrammatic approach to writing system classification, and includes
    examples for a number of systems.

    John Hudson


    Language Culture Type: International Type Design in the Age of Unicode

    The Solid Form Of Language: An Essay On Writing And Meaning

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Currently reading:
    Truth and tolerance, by Benedict XVI, Cardinal Ratzinger as was
    An autobiography from the Jesuit underground, by William Weston SJ
    War (revised edition), by Gwynne Dyer

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