From: Eric Muller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jun 29 2005 - 14:16:11 CDT
John Hudson wrote:
> From your message, particularly the reference to IPA, I suspect that
> you are talking about phonetic economy and accuracy.
Yes, the question is "when a writing system is viewed as a mechanism to
record sounds, how good a job does it do?", where "good" is to be
defined. I chose "economy", because arguably a writing system that has
10 symbols or symbol combinations for the same sound is not "as good" as
one that has only 1. But that is not enough: a system with a single
symbol for all sounds would be very economic, hence the "accuracy" part.
IPA, as least when restricted to the set of symbols used for the writing
of a given language, is presumably both an economic (there is a single
sign for a given sound) and accurate writing system for that language.
Hence the idea of measuring by comparing to IPA (with the undersanding
that the methodoly would have to account for the situation mentionned by
Then the meta-question is: is that kind of question interesting? how
should we define good? if we could answer it, what could we
explore/learn? Or is the whole approach just doomed from the start, may
be because historical accidents are far more important in the evolution
of writing systems than the forces that would tend to make them "better"?
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