On 01/07/04 18:45, Nicholas Bodley wrote:

>(More comment)
>Considering the sophistication and variety of almost-all-monochrome
>glyphs, it seems somewhat surprising that color[u]r has not been used more
>to give meaning. With modern colo[u]r printing and displays, at least we
>now have affordable technology to support chromatographic scripts.
As I think about it, actually, it doesn't seem so surprising. Expensive
or not, multicolor writing requires much more complicated writing
equipment to be available; specifically, colors of ink, on hand, not
mixing with one another, switching between them while writing... Even
pencil-like writing, abrading a solid, requires switching utensils,
unless you have a really cleverly designed one that has different colors
on different parts, and even then you have to change your grip between
letters. People were working out ways to streamline and speed up the
act of writing already back in the cuneiform days; something so
inherently clunky would get selected against mighty fast. It also
severely limits your potential media to write on. You can just scratch
out lines in sand or carve into wood anymore. It's useful for
occasional and special-purpose uses, like red ink for negative numbers
(I think they were doing something like that, for different purposes,
even with hieroglyphics). I have a very hard time believing the one
page I saw about the Edo chromatic writing system. I would doubt any
such system would really use more than three or four colors anyway.

For that matter, we are now doing something along those lines, with the
blue text for hyperlinks in web pages, or whatever the style of the page
in question. And note, too, that even in such cases, where color-change
is easy, and even expected for things like links, pages rarely use more
than a few colors (well, good pages anyway).

I do this on the kli.org website; I have a style for words in Klingon,
which are written usually boldface but also in dark red, while most of
the text is very dark blue. Links are blues or violets in English text,
but brighter reds in Klingon text. This shows up also in all-Klingon
pages, like the Klingon-only online journal we have, which has English
words like names or things being quoted in blue, scattered among the red
Klingon words. And the Wiki there allows for red-boldface annotation,
for Klingon words, and within-wiki links use a different color than
links to elsewhere. So we do use color for meaning, but (a) not that
many colors (b) not in *general* writing, but only in particular
settings, and (c) not to determine sound or actual meaning, but to
convey meta-information about the text, like italics or something.