SVG version of our IMWA symbols

Sandy Fleming sandy at SCOTSTEXT.ORG
Mon May 7 07:03:14 UTC 2007


> What many rules do is to summarize in a way that aids memorization.
> But computers don't care about that.  A better way of presenting words
> with combinations of "i" and "e" would be simply to present one
> category of words with "ie" and another of words with "ei."
> Now, I'm not intimately familiar with all the SignWriting symbols so
> I'm unable to make a parallel example, yet I can't help but wonder if
> there is one?

I don't think the SignWriting culture is mature enough to have such a
phenomenon. In English we write the same sound in two different ways
then have rules saying which way is used in which word. This only arises
from historical usages and comparisons with how other words are written
(for example, in words like "receipt" and "receive" the E is written
first because they're related to words like "reception" and
"receptacle", which have their E right after their C. This is also why
we have the silent P in receipt. Don't tell anybody that "receive"
should really be spelled "receipve", it's a can of worms!

No, I think this is the madness of history and we don't have enough
history in SW just yet: not until someone starts comparing different but
related signs and makes rules as a result!

I remember working on a Scots dialect dictionary for a company that made
spellchecking dictionaries. You know these run to hundreds of thousands
of words, and I suggested to them that they take more advantage of the
regularities of the spelling of whatever language the dictionary was
for. The said that as soon as you start doing that, you have to do
something about all the exceptions that arise, and it's a never-ending

What we can learn from this is that there are times when there are so
many exceptions, it's easier to just treat everything as an exception by
making a huge list containing every object!


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