--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Mark E. Shoulson" <mark@...> wrote:
> Nicholas Bodley wrote:
> >I truly hope that such bizarre cultural cancers will disappear in
the long
> >term, but if they don't, then our alphabet, for some people, will
> >more like the basic graphical elements used for writing CJK, but
> >with a far-less rigorous ordinary working set of definitions; the
> >will become closer to loosely-defined abstractions. (It was a
> >experience studying the Nelson (JP-->EN) dictionary for the first
> >numerous kanji had related meanings, but, small wonder that
katakana is
> >apparently used for legal documents.)
> >
> >
> >
> In Geoffrey Sampson's book _Writing Systems_, he explores the
concept of
> considering English spelling as partway to logographs, like CJK.
> yes, our words may be viewed as complicated logographs with
perhaps some
> phonetic "hinting". Nothing necessarily wrong with that view, and
> does provide some excuse for the horrendously inconsistent
spelling of
> English.
>> ~mark

It was because of Sampson's book, and later DeFrancis on Chinese,
that I have always liked to think of Chinese as a morphosyllabic
system. This emphasises certain similarities between Chinese and
English, a morphophonemic system. Chinese characters represent
syllables which vary according to meaning. English letters which
represent phonemes, vary their patterns of combination according to
meaning. It is am oversimplification but sometimes watching how
children, especially children from Hong Kong and China interact with
English spelling this makes sense on one level.

Dyslexic students often find that it is much easier to recgnize long
and complex words that vary in basic shape rather than short regular
ones that vary from each other by one letter.

Suzanne McCarthy