Marco Cimarosti wrote:
> Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> > > Finally, neither "å¥3" nor "é|¬" can be further subdivided
> > > in graphic elements conveying either a certain meaning or
> > > a certain sound.
> > >
> > [...]
> >
> > How does that approach clarify the use of "grapheme" for any other
> > script?
> Well, also Latin letters such as "a"-"z" are atomic elements of the script,
> as opposed to digraphs such as "ch", which are decomposable in a string of
> elements such as "c" + "h".
> Notice that the decomposition of "ch" in "c" + "h" is *not* based on the
> visual aspect (as it would be, e.g., to decompose "B" in a vertical stem "I"
> + in a double arc "3"), but rather on functional characteristics: the "c"
> and "h" part have autonomous functional properties in the writing system.
> E.g., the uppercase/lowercase distinction is a good example of a fact which
> is better described as a property of the atomic elements, and not of the
> composed elements.
> You can say that uppercase letter "A" maps to lowercase letter "a", but you
> cannot say which "uppercase digraph" maps to digraph "ch": it can be either
> "Ch" or "CH", i.e., the elements such as "c" and "h" have autonomous
> uppercase mappings, regardless that they participate in a digraph or not.


> The fact that certain properties apply only to non-analyzable elements,
> seems a possible rationale for having a cover term for that kind of
> elements. Not that I am defending the term "grapheme" per se: it can be a
> different term, or even just a descriptive phrase like "non-analyzable
> graphical element", but I think that we do have a concept to apply the term
> to.
> > Why aren't the seven basic brushstrokes the "graphemes" of Chinese?
> > Aren't they much more the "atoms" of Chinese writing?
> Yes, but that doesn't make sense from a functional point of view.
> Analyzing a Chinese character down to strokes(*) is like analyzing letter
> "B" in "I" + "3": it makes sense only if you are interested in the graphical
> appearance of the characters, i.e. if you are dealing with calligraphy or
> type design.

Which is _exactly_ what Earl Herrick has been doing for nigh unto 50
years now (his thesis, done under Gleason, is in the Hartford Seminary
series). He was supposed to present it yet again at the ILA in NY in
March but didn't show up.

> But if you are dealing with the "grammar" of the writing system, that
> doesn't make sense. The "å¥3" and "é|¬" elements seen in "åª*" do have
> recognizable functional roles in the Chinese writing system, while the 13
> strokes in it do not.

Sure they do -- they, with their arrangement and their order [think
Stokoe's emic analysis of ASL], differentiate the components (the
radicals and phonetics) or the characters.

> Similarly, a phon*e* [b] is analyzable in a series of "traits"(*) such as
> "plosive", "bilabial", "voiced", but this analysis makes no sense if you are
> dealing with phon*eme* /b/.
> (* BTW, Italian "tratto" translates both "stroke" and "trait": am I being
> influenced by my mother tongue's lexicon?)

English: "feature" (used for components of both phones and phonemes)

> > This is one of my basic examples for why not to use the term.
> >
> > If you can't tell me what you want "graphemes" to do, I see no use for
> > the term.
> Let's say I just wish a term for the "terminal symbols" in the "grammar" of
> a writing system, i.e. a name for things which are not splittable anymore.

But all writing systems aren't alike in the way that all languages are
alike at a very basic level.
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...