John Jenkins wrote:
> On Dec 12, 2003, at 6:25 AM, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> > If anything, what you chauvinistically and counterfactually call the
> > "Han ideograph script" might be a "writing system," which participates
> > in four different "scripts" -- the Chinese, the Japanese, the Korean,
> > and the Vietnamese. But that doesn't make much sense either, since the
> > four sets of characters are not interchangeable.
> >
> Well, I guess I'm getting lost here on *your* definition of "script."
> What you're saying is that there is a single Japanese "script," which
> consists of three (or more) components: kana, kanji, romaji, etc.,
> nicht wahr? And that the overall set of characters used in the overall
> Japanese script is not interchangeable with the overall set of Korean
> characters, and so on?

They don't look alike; it's probably more inappropriate to use a Chinese
font to set Japanese (never mind that there are some Jpn. characters
that don't exist in China) than it is to set English in Fraktur, or
German in romain du roi.

> Or are you saying that the set of kanji used in Japanese, hanzi used in
> Chinese, and hanja used in Korean are not interchangeable?

They're simply not the same. They share a perhaps sizable core group of
characters, but they don't look alike and they don't sound the same.

I trust we no longer have the typewriter problem of using the same
character for one and ell, for zero and oh; for Russian <n> and sm.cap.
<h>; etc.

> If the latter, then I must confess I find the conclusion rather
> remarkable, as it's rather the opposite of the general impression of
> people who live in East Asia, barring anti-Unicode rhetoric. While
> there is some difference in the precise set of kanji/hanzi/hanja used,
> and some difference is the way they're written, the fundamental
> identity is rarely questioned.

Perhaps that's because they're ordinary people, with
ordinary-people-intuitions. Recall how ordinary-people-intuitions about
language very often bear little relation to the fruits of linguistic


As with the typology, I'm saying that maybe _every_ term doesn't have to
be tried to be applied to _every_ case. Maybe "script" isn't a useful
term in discussing Japanese at all, since Japanese is so sui generis.

It's the computer engineers who insist on utterly dividing up the
universe into watertight compartments such that every entity has its
very own assignment, and there are no empty areas and no overlaps. That
ain't the way human minds work.
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...