Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

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Location: Rochester, United States

Chronically curious モ..

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hieroglyphics

Was wondering about writing systems. Take English- the units of text, the words we write, are not exactly the units of speech. Infact, stuff like cliticization and all is totally non-apparent. How did THAT happen? One possibility is that, while speech uses prosodic units, we actually perceive (recover) morphological units. That is, somehow we "see" word-strings, and NOT strings of prosodic constituents. Which is why phonological phenomena like the British /r/-epenthesis doesn't mislead people into believing there really is an /r/. Turns out, the Egyptian hieroglyphics were pretty much like speech: unless you know the words and the grammar and the meaning, its incredibly hard to segment these babies in any meaningful fashion. For the record, that's my version of my name in hieroglyphic (ps: the cartouche around the name indicates royalty)

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