Michael Everson wrote:
> At 19:17 -0500 2003-12-12, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> >John Hudson wrote:
> > > I don't have a problem with the idea that the Japanese writing system uses
> >> characters from four different scripts. A script is a superset of signs,
> >> and it isn't unusual for a language to be written with a subset (just as
> >> English is written with the subset of the Latin script).
> >
> >No, it's written with the English alphabet.
> Which is what? A-Z? Or does it include letters in
> words like naïve, façade, rôle, coöperate, or
> f|tus?

That last one isn't even in Mac's extended ASCII -- I got "pipe."

Those letters are as clearly recognized as "visitors" in the English
alphabet as the [x] at the end of "Bach" is a "visitor" in the English
language. And fewer people probably use them. (To this day, about once a
season I have to explain on rec.music.classical how anyone can type the
accents on their Mac [and it's more complicated in Windows], and then
someone explains how to do it in Windows.)

> > > Japanese happens
> >> to be written with the whole set of two scripts (katakana and hiragana) and
> >> a subset of two other scripts (Han characters -- or whatever you want to
> >> call them -- and Latin).
> >
> >No, it's written with a couple of syllabaries and a batch of logograms.
> >Why do you need further labels?
> The couple of syllabaries have names, Katakana
> and Hiragana, and we (in Unicode) call the whole
> set of logograms CJK Unified Ideographs. This
> doesn't differ from what you've said apart from
> the names that the couple and batch are called.

But there's nothing about the four named components of Japanese writing
that should earn them a single label.

> > > What different term do you think should be used in
> >> describing these relationships of particular writing systems to supersets
> >> of related signs?
> >
> >Maybe the "supersets" are artifacts. (What's the opposite of the
> >Gouldian sense of "spandrel" -- something that turns up as a byproduct
> >of something else but is rather useless, like all that filler DNA in a
> >chromosome?)
> I confess I don't know who Gould is, or a
> spandrel. The "superset" is just a collection of
> all the Han-thingies, of which only some are used
> in Japanese.

Stephen Jay Gould. The late paleontologist, Harvard professor, and
popular science essayist, whose second-most-famous contribution to
paleontology (after punctuated equilibrium) was the notion of exaptation
-- incidental properties get piggybacked onto byproducts of evolution.
The image came from the painted spandrels in St. Mark's, Venice -- when
you put a dome on square walls, you fill in the curved triangular spaces
and you have a place to put mosaics of the Evangelists that wouldn't
have existed if you hadn't had to figure out how to put a dome on a
square room.
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...