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Re: Re: VMs: Thoughts about Roman numbers in the VMS

Hello  GC,

======= At 2004-06-21, 18:38:00 you wrote: =======

>Technically speaking, the VMS script is not "invented".  The majority of the
>glyphs come from Latin abbreviations, and others are sourced in early
>shorthand symbols.  At the time the VMS was written, the art os shorthand
>was probably so rudimentary that Latin abbreviations and some
>religious/astrological shorthand was used hand in hand to form a
>"tachygraphic" system, one not totally shorthand, but allowing for speed and
>ease of writing. 

Well, the script of the VM may be similar to Latin abbreviations - most likely with 
different meaning, so it may be purely coincidental - and even to some shorthand glyphs,
but if we look at Ted Young's
it looks like majority of symbols consists of only TWO basic "strokes" and this is 
definitely no coincidence. By stroke I mean the simple elements such as line, arc, etc., 
as it is seen in above table. It gives us an idea that those characters were originally
all arranged in some matrix, say 5 by 5, to cover all combinations. We can clearly 
see that certain part of "characters" was engineered with some intent, namely to provide 
the simplicity of writing, some order and the minimum number of strokes. 
That is why I called the system "invented" - individual Latin abbreviations did not
have such COMMON denominator, I presume.  And it is this genial simplicity 
and symetry, which makes the script quite beautiful.

Then there is a group of "gallows", quite  unexpectedly of different structure  
(and substantially taller than the others). This suggests that the meaning of those 
may be quite different.  Actually  there is  an instance ( maybe more) when one 
gallows symbol is shared with two "words" (f56r) - and I still cannot understand
what does it mean (sharing of "half a character" while each half is different?). One 
thing is sure: the symbols can hardly represent syllables, the basic strokes would 
not cover for the whole alphabet - there is simply not enough of them. 

Either way, I do not think all this was just a simple evolvement from former scripts - that
would invariably lead to more variability then we can see in the VM and mask 
the structure we can see there.
It almost looks like the author started his invention  from scratch, using the simplest 
strokes possible. As for the Latin characters, sure, we can group them too, but 
the grouping is rather vague (i.e. already mentioned
..   "i", "n" and   "m", "f", "t" and "l",  "e", "c" and "o",  "b", "d" and "k"... ). 
That  is because it is based only on partial, sometimes even dubious similarity
and there is hardly any logical connection or systematic arrangement there. 
Again, the fact that the VM script is mainly a composite of two strokes,
some of which are even standalone, created the necessity to leave spaces
between individual "characters", while the world around was  - most likely -
already using "connected" scripts. This, I believe, is also certain drawback
in otherwise well engineered script.


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