OT: Japanese Orthography (was Re: Python syntax in Lisp and Scheme)
From: David Rush (drush_at_aol.net)
Date: Wed, 08 Oct 2003 09:36:11 +0100
On 08 Oct 2003 <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Marcin 'Qrczak' Kowalczyk <email@example.com> writes:
>> A richer alphabet is often more readable. Morse code can't be read as
>> fast as Latin alphabet because it uses too few different symbols.
>> Japanese say they won't abandon Kanji because it's more readable
>> as soon as you know it -
Rather like Lispers ;)
>> you don't have to compose words from many small pieces which look alike
>> but each word is distinct.
Very -ish. Kanji is pictographic and the Japanese borrowed their usage
from China several times over the course of a thousand years so from
what a westerner might call reading POV, it's a mess. Having learned
to read Kanji; however, I have to say that the leverage you get from
the pictograms is amazing. I found myself quite able to navigate myself
to (and through) government offices whose name I didn't even begin to
know,but whose function was clear from the kanji on the door.
>> Of course *too* large alphabet requires long
>> learning and has technical difficulties,
Indeed Japanese children spend most of gradeschool learning the first 2000
or so Kanji. By the time you finish university it can be necessary to know
up to 10,000 (or so my wife tells me).
>> but Lisp expressions are too
>> little distinctive for my taste.
I'll grant that Lisp is rough in vanilla VI, but who uses that anymore?
Syntax coloring and auto-indenting make it virtually identical to Python.
I would go so far as to say that I *read* lisp via indentation.
> Well, I would say that kanji is badly designed, compared to latin
> alphabet. The voyels are composed with consones (with diacritical
> marks) and consones are written following four or five groups with
> additional diacritical marks to distinguish within the groups. It's
> more a phonetic code than a true alphabet.
Sorry, but that's all any alphabet is. The Kana are particularly aptly
suited to the Japanese language which is phonetically *very* simple. The
Kana encode the basic syllables - *all* of them. English/Latin is a
disaster by comparison.
All of which goes to show something like: languages make sense in the
where they are used - otherwise they wouldn't be used...
-- (\x.(x x) \x.(x x)) -> (s i i (s i i)) -- aki helin (on comp.lang.scheme)