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Re: VMs: Work on the relation penstroke -> letters?

--- Nick Pelling <incoming@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> At 08:34 13/01/2004 +0100, Elmar Vogt wrogt:

>> Yet most people seem to take the current
>> tanscription schemes for granted, 
>> and only give a fleeting glance to this
>> question which I feel is very basic and
>> fundamental. 

> You're absolutely correct - EVA isn't (what
> GC would call) a glyph-transcription, but is
> rather (closer to) a stroke-transcription. 
> Given the ambiguity over what-is-or-isn't-a-glyph,
> this is so that you can construct your own
> glyph-transcription (for example, if you think
> iiin is a  glyph, pre-process it so that *is* a 
> glyph) for doing your own statistical 
> analysis.

The original more-or-less standard transcription
scheme was the alphabet designed by Currier and
promoted by D'Imperio in her book. Then, not long
after, she wrote a short note showing that there
are lots of so-called 'weirdoes', that is, 
characters that look like special forms, or
ligatures of the Currier symbols. A notation for
these was introduced, I think by Jim Reeds,
and this consisted of a letter followed by 
some numbers. 
The Currier alphabet was not ideal, for several
- the list of weirdoes (>100 in the initial, very
  incomplete list) far outnumbered the
  list of regular characters (36)
- many weirdoes were similar and looked like ligatures
  of regular characters
- all sequences of I-shaped characters were trans-
  cribed as single characters, while all sequences
  of C-shaped characters were kept as sequences
- generally, it was unclear which shapes represent
  single characters or multiple ones.

The last question is fundamental: can one transcribe
the VMs if one doesn't really know what is the
underlying alphabet? The Eva alphabet was designed
(developed from some of the principles behind the 
Frogguy alphabet) just for that reason. No claims
are made on what is a single character, but the
rules are straightforward and clear. And it also
allows to transcribe _all_ characters in the VMs.
Those that look like ligatures are transcribed as
ligatures. Those that are really weird weirdoes
get a number, and are written in an HTML-type
escape sequence:  &nnn; 
These are all in the high-ascii area (128-255)
and Gabriel's font includes them all.

The really important step of taking the EVA
text and converting it to a one-character per
VMs letter is thereby left to the guy doing the 
analysis. Fortunately, there is an excellent tool
for this, which already existed long before
the EVA alphabet. It's called BITRANS. You can
get it from (a.o.) Gabriel's web site.

> Unfortunately, the "why-not-use-EVA" (ie
> "the-map-is-the-territory") 
> assumption is being actively used by a number of
> people (most notably Jeff, 
> but I suspect others as well), which (I'm afraid)
> probably only serves to 
> add noise to the overall signal here. :-(

As above.

Cheers, Rene

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