[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

orion-list RE: Orion-list Writing System -Bib (Part 1)

This is a short introductory bib. It has been restricted to
books in English as texts in German, French, Hebrew, Catalan, etc.,
are hard to come by in the average American or English Library.
Because so much of the earlier work has been superceded, it also
concentrates on more recent texts. Many books on the bib should be
available at major public libraries, but some (of which a number are
essential reading and are marked by an asterisk *) probably may only
be found at the nearest major university library. Some annotation
has been added. There are no books listed for the components of
a writing systems, possibly because it is entry level material in
the field. I was given a small pamphlet on the material by my first
instructor 44 years ago... and have never seen another publication 
on the subject.

This seems the logical place to list the components of a writing
system, for a writing system is a 'system' in the precise dictionary
meaning of the word: "A set or assemblage of things connected,
associated, or interdependent, so as to form a complex unity." In
other words, a writing system is composed of a series of sub-systems -
each designed to function as a self-contained unit within the overall 
system. These sub-systems are: a finite symbol-set system; a prescribed
script system, a limits system, a mensural system, a size system,
a punctuation system, a comprehension system, a format system, and a
content system.

Please bear these points in mind when reading any books on the bib.

Writing Systems
*DeFrancis, John. _Visible Speech: The Diverse Oneness  of
        Writing Systems_. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1989.
        This is the only book in English on writing systems as
        systems; however, he does not cover all aspects.

Symbol Set Systems
*Shoenfield, Joseph R. _Mathematical Logic_. Reading, Mass:
        Addison-Wesley, 1967.
        While directed at symbolic logic, Chapter 1 contains
        the clearest exposition of what is meant by symbol systems
        and bound and unbound forms. (You don't have to read
        past Chapter 1, if you don't want to... )

Script Design
*Hofstadter,  Douglas   R.   "Metafont,   Metathematics,   and
        Metaphysics," in _Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence
        of Mind and Pattern_. New York: Basic Books, Inc. 1985.
        Hofstadter is probably the best discussion of the problems of
        script design to be found outside of professional texts.

Script Design (from the professional point of view)
Lawson, Alexander  S. _Anatomy of a typeface_. Boston: Godine, 1990.

Zapf, Hermann.  _About Alphabets:  some marginal notes on type design_.
        Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1970.

The Impact of Writing:
*Bagnell, Roger  S. _Reading  Papyri, Writing Ancient History_.
        London, New York: Routledge, 1995.
	An important book, as Bagnell tackles the idea of isolation
	vs. cultural interaction and patterns common to societies.

*Barber, Russell J. and Frances F. Berdan _The emperor's mirror:
	understanding cultures through primary sources. Tucson: 
	University of Arizona Press, 1998.
	Discusses, among other things, the scope of ethnohistory, the 
	reality-mediation model, paleography, calendrics, linguistic 
	analysis, the interpretation of names, source analyses,
	quantitative analysis, visual interpretation, and map 
	interpretation. A good source for methodological approaches.

*Diringer, David. _The Alphabet, A Key to the History of Mankind_.
          2 vols. 3rd ed. New York and London: Hutchinson, 1968.
          According to Bright & Wilson (see below), Diringer's is the 
          only book that has stood the test of time (I agree <G>). Some,
          but not all, of his conclusions are off. An invaluable data
          source nonetheless.

Logan, Robert K. _The alphabet effect: the impact of the phonetic
        alphabet on the development of Western Civilization_. NY:
        Morrow, 1986.
        While useful, be careful with this one: he looks only at 
        Graeco-Roman cultures as the source of the "alphabet."

Ullman, Berthold Louis. _Ancient Writing and Its Influence_.
        Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1969.

Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L  risa@hol.gr

For private reply, e-mail to "Rochelle I. Altman" <risa@mail.hol.gr>
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to majordomo@panda.mscc.huji.ac.il with
the message: "unsubscribe Orion." For more information on the Orion Center
or for Orion archives, visit our web site http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.