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

From: Dean Snyder (
Date: Wed Jun 29 2005 - 16:05:36 CDT

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    Eric Muller wrote at 12:16 PM on Wednesday, June 29, 2005:

    >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.

    Before proceeding you will need to define what you mean by "sound" in
    your phrase "a single sign for a given sound".

    Phonetic notation is accurate, but less economic; phonemic notation is
    economic, but less accurate, i.e., if you're interested in phonetics
    (the accuracy is determined by the rigorousness of application of the
    context-bound, phonetic-to-phonemic rules). Phonemic notation has one
    additional characteristic - it explicitly signals, or reifies, the
    phonemic contrasts in speech, and that can be significant.


    Dean A. Snyder

    Assistant Research Scholar
    Manager, Digital Hammurabi Project
    Computer Science Department
    Whiting School of Engineering
    218C New Engineering Building
    3400 North Charles Street
    Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21218

    office: 410 516-6850
    cell: 717 817-4897

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