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

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jun 21 14:26:54 UTC 2005

I agree with you, Ingvild, Even the title of IMWA
underlines this.  It's the International Movement
Writing Alphabet.  It is an ordered system of symbols
(which is what an alphabet is).  The symbols are
ideograms, of a sort, but the fact that they are
ordered, systematized, and interchangeable, makes them
an alphabet.  I can take a movement and attach every
handshape to it (within reason), that makes it very
much a "phonetic" system, substitution works to show
that movement is a distinct symbol from handshape.

--- Ingvild Roald <ingvild.roald at STATPED.NO> wrote:

> I would not use the term 'pictographic'. Mostly for
> 'political' reasons:
> we want Deaf and Hearing people alike to respect the
> Signed Languages, in
> theri written as well as in their signed forms, as
> languages on the same
> level as any other languages. We don refer to
> Chinese characters as
> 'pictograms', even if they, as far as I understrand,
> often do contain a
> pictographic symbolic representation of the concept
> they symbolise. - I
> personally would prefer to call the writing
> 'alphabetic', for the reasons
> Thomas gave as well as the 'political' reason. If
> that is not
> scientifically possible, I would prefer the
> sugggested 'ideogrammatical' -
> which contains the idea, the grammar, and is
> basically unknown to most
> people anyway.
> Ingvild (not a linguist)
> sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu writes:
> >Tomá¹ Klapka wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> People always tell me that it is pictographic,
> ideographic or ...
> >>
> >...
> >
> >>
> >> So it must be alphabetic.
> >> Is it right?
> >
> >It depends on how you define alphabetic,
> pictographic &c
> >
> >For oral languages, as well as the idea of an
> "alphabet" which has
> >vowels and consonants, there's the idea of a
> "betagam" which has
> >consonants only - usually used in Semitic
> langauages where vowels are
> >represented only as optional diacritics. The idea
> of vowels and
> >consonants don't apply in SignWriting, so I'd
> suggest not using the term
> >"alphabet" when talking about SignWriting - it's
> one of those things
> >where signed and spoken languages part ways.
> >
> >"Pictographic" refers to a writing system where the
> written words are
> >simple pictures of the referents. But in
> SignWriting the written words
> >are _not_ pictures of the referents, they're
> pictures of the signs
> >themselves.
> >
> >The nearest thing to this we have in oral languages
> is the linguists'
> >"vowel diagram" which shows a picture of the inside
> of the mouth and
> >where the vowel is pronounced. I would suggest
> referring to this, and
> >therefore to SignWriting also, as a "diagrammatic"
> writing system - the
> >writing system diagrams the actual execution of the
> language.
> >
> >Mundbildschrift could be thought of as a
> diagrammatic writing system for
> >oral languages and for one channel of signed
> languages.
> >
> >Sandy
> >
> >

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