I think it's odd that your argument is an appeal to a 1989 and a 1968
authority. Neither SignWriting nor Blissymbolics were available to
those researchers, so it is hardly surprising that they did not take
such non-phonic writing systems into account.

>I was trying to stay out of it but I have caved. There is agreement
>in the academic community on writing sytems,

Is there, indeed?

>"Every writing is language specific in the sense that
>phoneticization means to create systematic relations between
>graphical signs and the sound pattern of a given language." -- The
>Writing Systems of the World by Florian Coulmas, 1989, page 33

Coulmas' definition is incomplete. Not all languages use sounds. Sign
languages do not use sound, though they have analogues to phonemes
and they certainly have grammar. And they can be *written*.
SignWriting is a writing system, a real writing system, which is used
by people all over the world.

>Other systems such as Blissymbols and IPA would be better treated
>under the title of Language and Symbolic Systems as Yuan Ren Chao
>called his book, 1968.

I cannot fathom how anyone could suggest with a straight face that
IPA is not a "writing system". It is an extended Latin alphabet with
diacritical marks, which can be used regularly to represent the
sounds of any number of languages. Some IPA transcriptions are even
nearly identical to the natural orthographies which derive from them
(modulo the introduction of case for instance).

It would be nice if those of you with opinions about Blissymbolics
would educate yourselves about it before saying anything about it.
Blissymbolics is a language. It is a written language, used by people
who cannot speak (and by their carers, who can). It is writing
because, well, it is *written*. It is a series of graphs on paper,
with consistent shapes, laid out one after the other. Diacritical
marks are used to represent parts of speech (tense, mood,
definitiveness, and other things).

Blissymbolics is ideographic in the truest sense; it is a set of
characters each of which indicates an idea or concept. It has
vocabulary, and users can innovate by combining vocabulary to create
new terminology. Bliss, as writing, does not represent phonemes. It
*is* ideographic, in a way which logographic Chinese is not; Chinese
characters often have a phonetic component. Bliss has no phonemes,
and needs none -- and its users cannot produce phonemes reliably,
which is why Bliss is a blessing for them. With it, they can
communicate with others.

I am personally acquainted with many people in the Bliss community,
both users and their carers. I have participated in discussions about
vocabulary development, and about the creation of new
Bliss-characters. I have spoken with people whose only expressive
language is Blissymbols.

Most of the world's writing systems use graphic symbols singly or in
combination to represent the sounds of spoken languages. Not all
languages are spoken, however, yet even non-spoken languages can be
represented with graphic symbols. And when that is done, it is
*writing*. It is not "symbolic system". That, Suzanne, is a term
better reserved for musical symbols, laundry tags, and traffic
signage. Sign languages and Bliss are languages, and SignWriting and
Blissymbolics are writing.
Michael Everson *