[Crm-sig] NEW ISSUE: revise TX5 Reading versus TX6 Transcription

Martin Doerr martin at ics.forth.gr
Sat Oct 2 13:27:28 EEST 2021

Dear Francesca, Achille,

I'd like to add: As far as I have read recently, there exist very few 
occasions in the world of independent development of a writing system. 
For the things we study currently, to find another such center is very 
unlikely (nevertheless possible), and reading would not be possible 
immediately. All other writing systems are either adaptations and 
modifications of systems from cultures in contact, or reinventions under 
the impression of writing systems that have come to their knowledge. 
This reduces actually the variants of principles we expect in practice, 
beyond what is theoretically possible. Isn't it?

By the way, interesting is which kinds of inferences would allow for 
determining the reading direction of the Phaistos Disc?

All the best,


On 10/1/2021 10:22 PM, Martin Doerr via Crm-sig wrote:
> Dear Achille, we widely agree, but, I simply meant more general, more 
> fundamental principles.
> On 10/1/2021 6:47 PM, Achille Felicetti wrote:
>> Dear Martin,
>> Please find our comments inline.
>>> Very generally, in order to observe a sign as a sign, we need a 
>>> context fitting to some hypotheses what people would put signs on, 
>>> characteristics suggesting a feature as human made, but most 
>>> importantly a finite selection of potential patterns. The latter 
>>> condition is absolutely necessary. The result will be a ranked list 
>>> of best fitting patterns.
>> We agree that some characteristics of some signs (e.g. their shape, 
>> the physical properties of how they are traced, etc.) can contribute 
>> to the process of interpreting them as intentionally produced human 
>> products.
>> In principle, in fact, it is not the specific characteristics of the 
>> signs but their properties of occurrence on a surface that 
>> discriminate their interpretation as part of a (writing) system or 
>> not: for example, the recognition of Linear B or the interpretation 
>> of the signs of the Phaistos disc as “scripture” depend on the 
>> reciprocal relationships that the elements have among themselves, 
>> which therefore lead to the hypothesis of the existence of a system. 
>> It is a matter of fact that, within a given system, /"tout 
>> se tient"/ as Saussure and Chomsky underline.
> Yes, of course, this is exactly what I meant below: "The arrangement 
> of characters into texts are also standardized by a writing system".
> Well, yes, I meant the above very generally. You may find mason marks 
> somewhere on a block of stone, a single sign possibly, at no 
> particular position, but you find on blocks of the same context, or a 
> comparable context, similar isolated, deliberately applied scratches, 
> people have learnt to recognize as being functional.

  Dr. Martin Doerr
  Honorary Head of the
  Center for Cultural Informatics
  Information Systems Laboratory
  Institute of Computer Science
  Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
  N.Plastira 100, Vassilika Vouton,
  GR70013 Heraklion,Crete,Greece
  Email: martin at ics.forth.gr
  Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl

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