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Re: Another explanation for dain daiin...

Hi Jacques,

At 13:07 21/01/02 +0000, Jacques Guy wrote:
>Codebooks aside, this may (if true!) be the earliest recorded instance of

Not unless the VMS is older than we think. There is a squiggle in
Chinese which means "repeat the previous character". There is one
in Japanese which means "repeat the previous syllable" and another
which means "repeat the previous word". And the modern "simplified
characters" are nothing but an adaptation of the cursive script
(aka caoshu, or ts'ao-shu). Come to think of it, Ancient Egyptian
hieratic and demotic are likewise "data-compressed" hieroglyphs.
And this brings to my mind the Tironian notes, which were the
granddaddy of shorthand. Closer to us, you often see a "2" in
Indonesian and in Malay, which just means "repeat the previous
word." It comes in handy when you have to write "mahasiswa-mahasiswa,
mahasiswi-mahasiswi" (mahasiswa is a university student, male, the
other one is ditto, female; it's borrowed from Sanskrit, of course).

I would say that data-compression *within* a language is one thing (evolving verbal conventions within a society), and data-compression *of* language texts is another (a consciously-applied data-reducing transformation) - you're talking about the former, I'm talking about the latter.

Of course, Tironian notes (and shorthand, and tachygraphy) are examples of codebook-oriented data-compression: but I specifically excepted those from the start, just to make it interesting. :-)

However, I know next to nothing about hieratic and demotic, so I'd need to read up on them to be able to better judge which side of this particular fence to place them. :-/

Cheers, ....Nick Pelling....

PS: watching the part-subtitled film "Monsoon Wedding" a couple of days ago, one of the characters referred to a foreigner as a "ferengi" - which I'm pretty sure is a loan-word from Lingua Franca. :-) And *not* from Star Trek. :-) It's not relevant here, it's just a bit of linguistic fun. :-)