[sw-l] SW system type... alphabetic vs. others ( pictographic, ideographic, logographic)

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jun 21 12:20:23 UTC 2005

On the one hand, I would call the IMWA pictographic,
in that it is a way to show a hand in a given
position, moving to another position with other
articulators.  That is a "meaning" of itself,
regardless of which language is using it.

On the other hand, it CAN be morphemic, but only by
extension.  A flat hand, facing the body and touching
it has no "meaning" except as we assign it, but it is
still a flat hand touching the body.  It may mean
entirely different things in different languages.

Each language that uses SW/IMWA assigns different
meanings to the articulators which SW portrays. In
that sense, there is no "meaning".  The same
handshape, at the same articulation can mean "Lesbian
(ASL)", "Laughter (HKSL)," or "Cheese (LIBRAS)"
depending on the language.

Morphemes exist within any single language, the IMWA
is beyond any given language and so, in that sense, is
purely pictographic.

--- Tomá¹ Klapka <Tomas.Klapka at ruce.cz> wrote:

> Hi, I have a question about type of SW writing
> system.
> People always tell me that it is pictographic,
> ideographic or ...
> I think it is alphabetic, because there is no
> pictogram, logogram,
> ideogram for a morpheme.
> Each morpheme (I mean sign in SW) is compounded of
> phonetic (cheretic)
> symbols standardized in IMWA (and IMWA is just the
> alphabet). Those
> symbols don't have meanings. So do phonems.
> /
> Sometimes there is more phonems in a symbol, but it
> still has no meaning.
> It is simillar as for example in czech letter 'á'
> (latin letter a with
> Acute) which represents long vowel 'a'.
> So there is the sound quality (written as latin
> letter A) and sound
> duration (writen by Acute) - two phonems in a
> letter.
> But the letter has no meaning itself. It makes the
> meaning if it is
> component of a morpheme:
> czech word "ráda" - is glad, (feminine, verb)
> czech word "rada" - advice, convocation, council,
> counsellor, tip (noun)
> /
> So it must be alphabetic.
> Is it right?
> Tomas

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