[sw-l] SW system type... alphabetic vs. others ( pictographic, ideographic, logographic)
Tomas.Klapka at RUCE.CZ
Tue Jun 21 14:39:06 UTC 2005
"If you take a look at Han-geul with these categories in mind, it
belongs to the most developed group of phonemic writings. Yet, Han-geul
is a very peculiar system among the phonemic writings. Individual
letters that express consonants or vowels show certain internal
characteristics instead of being atomic.
'ㅋ' or 'ㄲ' cannot be seen as atomic units, but they can be analyzed
as 'ㄱ' and an additional stroke or two 'ㄱ's. There are even some
scholars who think Han-geul belongs to the brand new category of
'featural writing system' instead of simply regarding it as a phonemic
writing, laying stress on this systematic nature of Han-geul.
A featural writing system is the most progressed system of all the
writing systems invented by human being. And there is still only one
example in this category. We cannot but take pride in having such a
Tomáš Klapka wrote:
> I don't mind if you forward my message(s) ;)
> Two differences between sign languages and spoken languages comes to
> my mind right now, but if I think about it more...
> 1. Iconicity
> There can sometimes be visibile the meaning in the SW sign and cause
> of that it could be called ideographic
> It is because of the transparency of some signs, but it is the meaning
> of the morpheme, which is compounded of more atomic symbols (IMWA).
> It is simillar in spoken languages... some words are so simillar to
> the real, they can be understood even you don't know the meaning. For
> example english word "moo", which means the sound, which cows do.
> Czech word "haf" which means dog's barking (in english "woof").
> Or english word "scratch". The pronounciation of the word does sound
> as you scratch something.
> English is special in this. "crunchy" is another example.
> I know one Japanese word "fuu" which means wind, but it sounds as
> It is something what we can call "transparency/translucentness" in
> spoken languages (i think it is called semantic transparency).
> Well, I think there is no difference between sign
> 2. Simultaneity
> Spoken languages are linear... they must have linear writing system.
> Sign languages are simultaneous... there must be writing system which
> is able to write simultaneity of the signs - write more symbols in the
> dependency of location.
> I've just found in wikipedia something about featural writing systems
> and SW is there:
> "Featural writing systems - In a featural writing system, each part of
> each symbol corresponds to a phonetic feature. That is, sounds that
> are phonetically related have symbols that are related, and different
> phonetic features, like place of articulation or voicing, will be
> represented the same way for different sounds. The most prominent
> featural writing system is Korean Hangul, which also incorporates
> aspects of logographic writing systems and alphabets in addition to
> features. There are also systems for recording sign languages, such as
> SignWriting, where symbols stand for particular features of signs, the
> symbols often resembling those sign features they stand for."
> It is interesting, that there is script for spoken language, which has
> simillar to the system of SW. More information and links about Korean
> Hangul can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul
> I have never heard 'featureal' in the sense of writing system. I even
> don't know how to translate the term into czech because "feature" has
> so many meanings in czech language and none can describe the meaning.
> Lucyna Dlugolecka wrote:
>>> Sometimes there is more phonems in a symbol, but it still has no
>>> 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
>>> So it must be alphabetic.
>>> Is it right?
>> In my humble opinion, with regard to SignWriting, you're right. But
>> I'm not sure it's the same with signed languages. May I forward your
>> email to Professor Swidzinski, the best Polish grammarian?
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