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

Martin Doerr martin at ics.forth.gr
Thu Sep 16 16:15:22 EEST 2021

Dear All,

I would describe things a bit differently.

I believe we should consider the following:

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 

This means that the observer must have previous knowledge of possible 
sign sets. This equals to partial knowledge of the writing system. There

In very rare cases a single context itself will provide a /large enough/ 
set of distinct, non-random patterns in order to infer the sign set 
used. In these cases, typically the arrangement of signs will support 
hypotheses that the signs are not just decorative but form messages 
(regular distances, directions, alignments). This process can again be 
regarded as creating partial knowledge of the writing system prior to 
observing (recognizing) a single sign.

A variant of the latter occurs when reading a sloppy hand-written text, 
e.g., when I read my grandpa's notebook. The character set can only be 
either Latin or Sütterlin. I can distinguish the latter by recognizing a 
few very characteristic signs in the overall text. Then, I need to 
identify more and more words in the text until I am trained to more and 
more of Grandpa's own variants of the Sütterlin character set. This 
depends on the size of the sample. Only then I can go back and recognize 
within the continuous lines single signs.

In short, I maintain that recognizing a text /can be prior to/ 
recognizing single signs.

I believe the definition of the "writing system" needs to differentiate 
the character set sufficiently from the other constituents of a writing 

The arrangement of characters into texts are also standardized by a 
writing system. The arrangement rules of a writing system for signs in a 
text create also characteristic, recognizable patterns. There are enough 
archaeological cases, I assume, in which a text can be recognized as 
such without any readable character on it.

Hence, there are in addition observable arrangement features of a 
writing system.

Note that all results of observation in an encoded propositional form 
require that the observation itself applies hypotheses about the forms 
the feature to be observed can appear in.




On 9/13/2021 12:29 PM, Stephen Stead wrote:
> Would level 1 be adequately covered by S4 Observation?
> Stephen Stead
> Tel +44 20 8668 3075
> Mob +44 7802 755 013
> E-mail steads at paveprime.com <mailto:steads at paveprime.com>
> LinkedIn Profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/steads/ 
> <https://www.linkedin.com/in/steads/>
> *From:*Crm-sig <crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr> *On Behalf Of *Achille 
> Felicetti via Crm-sig
> *Sent:* 12 September 2021 19:00
> *To:* Martin Doerr <martin at ics.forth.gr>
> *Cc:* crm-sig <Crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
> *Subject:* Re: [Crm-sig] NEW ISSUE: revise TX5 Reading versus TX6 
> Transcription
> Dear Martin,
> Your observations are extremely stimulating, as usual, especially with 
> regard to the observation of a linguistic object which is a very 
> complex and articulated operation. In our view, in particular, the 
> following conditions can occur while a linguistic object is observed:
> 1. I observe some signs on a surface without even realising that it is 
> a text.
> 2. I understand that it is a text but without understanding its 
> meaning (typically, even without understanding what language or 
> writing system it is).
> 3. I actually read and understand text.
> We agree with your observation that the relationship between these 
> types of observation needs to be better specified. We therefore 
> propose to keep TX5 Reading as the most specific observation (type 3) 
> and to define one or more classes for the other observation cases of 
> which TX5 could become a specific one.
> As regards the Transcription, for the epigraphists this type of 
> operation has a rather broad meaning that covers various cases, from 
> the “exact” reproduction of the signs, to their stylised rendering, up 
> to the transliteration using a different script. In the first cases, 
> transcription does not necessarily imply an understanding of the signs 
> (e.g. see publications on texts in unknown alphabets such as the one 
> on the Phaistos Disc).
> The other ideas and new classes you propose, relating to the other 
> cases, are very intriguing, we are thinking about them, but they 
> probably need a more articulated discussion.
> Regards,
> Achille & Francesca
>     Il giorno 6 set 2021, alle ore 19:50, Martin Doerr via Crm-sig
>     <crm-sig at ics.forth.gr <mailto:crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>> ha scritto:
>     Dear All,
>     I belief that TX5 Reading and TX6 Transcription should be in a
>     different relationship.
>     In more detail, I propose to rename TX5 Reading to "TX5 Text
>     Recognition", and ontologically strictly separate observation from
>     inferred interpretation of meaning, once TX5 Reading is declared
>     as subclass of Observation, and TX6 Transcription is not.
>     Note that one can perfectly "read" a clear text written in a known
>     script, without understanding any word. E.g., I can indeed copy
>     well-written or printed Chinese Han characters without
>     understanding any Chinese, just by knowledge of the relevant
>     structural features. I assume the same holds for cuneiform.
>     Equally, I can copy a Latin inscription without understanding any
>     of the abundant abbreviations. This is indeed the proper observation.
>     If the result of this "reading" is a documentation in the same
>     script and notation or not is a detail up to the reader. I'd
>     argue, however, that the class TX5 *needs* a formal output, an
>     instance of E90 Symbolic Object at least, in order to be useful.
>     This is missing in the current model. Transcription in the sense
>     of changing script of notation could be an internal, not
>     documented  intermediate step of the text recognition
>     ("transcribing text recognition", or adequate output properties),
>     or an explicit step after the recognition of the Symbolic Object.
>     It is obviously true that text recognition typically includes
>     arguments of understanding. I'd argue, that this is *not*
>     intrinsic to reading, but only applies to texts not clearly typed.
>     Strictly speaking, any such process constitutes *ERROR CORRECTION*
>     and text *COMPLETION*.
>     Therefore, I propose a new class "Meaning Comprehension", which
>     would take *as input a recognized text *and interprets an assumed
>     meaning in plain language, or even formal propositions, which
>     would be the end-stadium of the reading process, resulting in an
>     information object. This class may reside in CRMinf or in CRMtex.
>     We can then construct from "Text Recognition", "Transcription" and
>     "Meaning Comprehension" combined and short-cutting constructs,
>     which would include "error correction", "resolution of recognition
>     ambiguity" and "missing part completion" as useful in practice for
>     representing typical scholarly defaults.
>     I'd argue that resolution of linguistic ambiguity using scholarly
>     arguments about the likely context of reference of the text
>     constitutes a scholarly interpretation process after "reading",
>     regardless whether error correction and completion used such
>     arguments.
>     We need these separations, in order to create a clear interface to
>     "Belief Adoption" in CRMinf, which is about the assumed real world
>     truth of statements in texts.
>     Opinions?
>     All the best,
>     Martin
>     -- 
>     ------------------------------------
>       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
>       Vox:+30(2810)391625
>       Email:martin at ics.forth.gr  <mailto:martin at ics.forth.gr>   
>       Web-site:http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl  <http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl>
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  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   

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