Re: Quick Question About Korean Input Methods

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Mon Jan 11 2010 - 02:34:56 CST

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: Quick Question About Korean Input Methods"

    On 1/10/2010 10:07 PM, Christoph Pper wrote:
    > "Doug Ewell" <>:
    >> I have yet to see a non-alphabetic writing system that is suitable
    >> for translating "any language."
    > I have yet to see a writing system that is suitable for transcribing
    > any language.

    IPA? Any system that transcribes sound at a level detailed enough to
    capture any and all distinctions between related sounds as they are
    distinguished by native speakers of a given language for all languages
    could serve as such a writing system.

    Ordinary writing system make several tradeoffs. One, they often don't
    record distinctions that are built into the phonetic structure of the
    language. Native speakers will be able to reconstitute them. The
    advantage is that the writing system is more economical. The second one
    is that writing systems often record distinctions that cannot be
    expressed phonetically in the language. That makes them less ambiguous.
    Third, they often ignore regional variations in pronunciation, allowing
    written communication to be used for larger communities. Fourth, they
    often embody traces of their historical development (both as a writing
    system and re: the historical development of the language itself). That
    allows easier access to historical documents.

    All these tradeoffs are, of course, specific to the language in
    question. Therefore, it's not surprising that ordinary writing systems
    usually cannot express many other languages equally well. However, none
    of these tradeoffs are required, otherwise sound recordings wouldn't be
    usable as transcriptions of language into another medium.

    If you also wanted to preserve distinctions that cannot be expressed in
    spoken language, then you would indeed need some kind of semantic
    annotation system as well. For that, I won't claim to see my way to a
    universal system. :)

    > Since writing systems, unlike scripts, are always language-dependent,
    > their usable scope will never encompass more than one language, with
    > import rules a couple more perhaps, especially from the same script.
    When writing systems share the same script, you can concatenate the
    writing to form a sort of superset writing system. That's what happens
    in many Latin-based writing systems where you can find admixed
    substantial amounts of English. Import rules, if I understand your use
    of this term, might be what happens either when these terms become
    assimilated in spelling (if not in pronunciation), but the same type of
    rules would seem to be involved in the importation of elements of
    writing systems in scripts of similar nature (transcribed Cyrillic or
    > Hangul (or kana) could be used for languages with more complex
    > consonant clusters, but you would have to alter, amend or abolish the
    > Korean (or Japanese) rules to do that. Despite that, for some
    > languages it is easier to tailor a syllabic transcription than it is
    > for others. (No matter whether you are thinking morphologic or
    > phonologic syllables.)
    Quite so.


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