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

From: John D. Burger (
Date: Thu Jun 30 2005 - 10:49:35 CDT

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    > 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.

    One measure of this semantic efficiency might be the self-entropy of
    the writing system. An intuitive way of thinking about this is to
    imagine compressing a large sample of the language with, say, gzip. A
    "less economic" language/orthography presumably has more redundancy,
    and thus would compress more. The most efficient writing system
    imaginable wouldn't compress at all.

    See here for more:

    - John Burger

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