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(Math) Letters Traced Back to Nature (Alphabet)

 
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adedios
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Location: Angel C. de Dios

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:58 am    Post subject: (Math) Letters Traced Back to Nature (Alphabet) Reply with quote






Letters in All Writing Systems Traced Back to Nature
By Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Managing Editor
posted: 25 April 2006
07:49 am ET

The shapes of letters in all languages are derived from common forms in nature, according to a new hypothesis.

The idea, in some ways seemingly obvious and innately human, arose however from a study of how robots see the world.

Robots employ object recognition technology to navigate a room by recognizing contours. A corner is seen as a "Y," for example, and a wall is recognized by the L-shape it makes where it meets the floor.

"It struck me that these junctions are typically named with letters, such as 'L,' 'T,' 'Y,' 'K,' and 'X,' and that it may not be a coincidence that the shapes of these letters look like the things they really are in nature," said Mark Changizi, a theoretical neurobiologist at the California Institute of Technology.

Changizi and his colleagues think letters and symbols in Chinese, Latin, Persian, and all 97 of the other writing systems that have been used through the ages have shapes that humans are good at seeing.

"Evolution has shaped our visual system to be good at seeing the structures we commonly encounter in nature, and culture has apparently selected our writing systems and visual signs to have these same shapes," Changizi said.

The idea is put forth in The American Naturalist magazine.

Changizi notes that a basic shape such as "L" can be easily bent to form a "V." He found 36 shapes that require just two or three contours, and he then correlated these shapes to common scenes in nature and in ancient architecture.

"So the figures we use in symbolic systems and writing systems seem to be selected because they are easy to see rather than easy to write," he concludes. "They're for the eye."

Even graphic art that is not necessarily alphabet-based conforms to the idea.

"Company logos, for example, are meant to be recognized, and we found that logos have a high correlation," Changizi said. "Shorthand systems, which are meant to give a note-taker speed at the expense of a commonly recognizable system of symbols, do not."

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Questions to explore further this topic:

What are characters?

http://www.bellevuelinux.org/character.html

Letters and numbers in butterfly wings

http://www.butterflyalphabet.com/posters.html

What are the writing systems in the world?

http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing_system

What are the different types of writing systems?

http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws_types.html
http://www.ontopia.net/i18n/script-types.jsp

Writing systems can be grouped according to families

http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws_families.html

Writing systems can be grouped according to regions

http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws_regions.html

Writing systems can be grouped according to timeline

http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws_timeline.html

What are abjads?

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/alphabetic.htm

What are alphabets?

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/alphabets.htm

What are syllabic alphabets?

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/syllabic.htm

What are syllabaries?

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/syllabaries.htm

What are complex scripts?

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/logographic.htm

Ahom
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ahom.htm

Albanian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/albanian.htm

Arabic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/arabic.htm

Aramaic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/aramaic.htm

Armenian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/armenian.htm

Avestan
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/avestan.htm

Balinese
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/balinese.htm

Bassa
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/bassa.htm

Batak
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/batak.htm

Bengali
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/bengali.htm

Brahmi
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/brahmi.htm

Buhid
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/buhid.htm

Burmese
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/burmese.htm

Cham
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cham.htm

Chinese
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/chinese.htm

Coptic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/coptic.htm

Cyrillic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cyrillic.htm

Dehong Dai
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tainua.htm

Devanagari
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/devanagari.htm

Dhives Akuru
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/dhivesakuru.htm

Egyptian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/egyptian.htm

Etruscan
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/etruscan.htm

Fraser
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/fraser.htm

Ge'ez
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ethiopic.htm

Georgian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/georgian.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/georgian2.htm

Glagolithic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/glagolitic.htm

Gothic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/gothic.htm

Grantha
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/grantha.htm

Greek
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/greek.htm

Gujarati
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/gujarati.htm

Gurmukhi
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/gurmuki.htm

Hanuno'o
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hanunoo.htm

Hebrew
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hebrew.htm

Hmong
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hmong.htm

Hungarian
http://www.omniglot.com/writin....._runes.htm

Japanese
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/japanese.htm

Javanese
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/javanese.htm

Jurchen
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/jurchen.htm

Kannada
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/kannada.htm

Kayah Li
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/kayahli.htm

Kharosthi
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/kharosthi.htm

Khitan
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/khitan.htm

Khmer
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/khmer.htm

Korean t
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/korean.htm

Lanna
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/lanna.htm

Lao
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/lao.htm

Latin/Roman
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/latin.htm

Lepcha
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/lepcha.htm

Limbu
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/limbu.htm

Linear B
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/linearb.htm

Lontara
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/lontara.htm

Malayalam
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/malayalam.htm

Manchu
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/manchu.htm

Mandaic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/mandaic.htm

Manipuri
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/manipuri.htm

Mayan
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/mayan.htm

Meroitic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/meroitic.htm

Middle Persian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/mpersian.htm

Modi
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/modi.htm

Mongolian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/mongolian.htm

N'Ko
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/nko.htm

Nabataean
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/nabataean.htm

Naxi
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/naxi.htm

Nushu
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/nushu.htm

Ogham
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ogham.htm

Old Church Slavonic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ocslavonic.htm

Old Latin
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/olditalic.htm

Old Permic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/oldpermic.htm

Old Persian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/opcuneiform.htm

Oriya
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/oriya.htm

Orkhon
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/orkhon.htm

Parthian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/parthian.htm

'Phags-Pa
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/phagspa.htm

Phoenician
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/phoenician.htm

Pollard Miao
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/pollardmiao.htm

Psalet
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/psalter.htm

Ranjana
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ranjana.htm

Redjang
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/redjang.htm

Runic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/runic.htm

Sabaean
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sabaean.htm

Samaritan
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/samaritan.htm

Santali
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/santali.htm

Somali
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/somali.htm

Sharda
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sharda.htm

Siddham
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/siddham.htm

Sinhala
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sinhala.htm

Sorang Sompeng
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sorangsompeng.htm

Sourashtra
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sourashtra.htm

South Arabian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/southarabian.htm

Soyombo
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/soyombo.htm

Sutton Signwriting
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/signwriting.htm

Syloti Nagri
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/syloti.htm

Syriac
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/syriac.htm

Tagalog
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tagalog.htm

Tagbanwa
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tagbanwa.htm

Tangut
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tangut.htm

Tai Dam
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/taidam.htm

Tai Lue
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tailue.htm

Tamil
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tamil.htm

Telugu
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/telugu.htm

Thaana
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/thaana.htm

Thai
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/thai.htm

Tibetan
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tibetan.htm

Tifinagh
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tifinagh.htm

Tocharian
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tocharian.htm

Ugaritic
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ugaritic.htm

Varang Kshiti
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/varangkshiti.htm

Vietnamese
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/chunom.htm

History, Evolution and Development of the World's Writing Systems

http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws_origins.html
http://www.ancientscripts.com/alphabet.html#tree
http://www.delmar.edu/engl/ins.....istory.htm
http://www.quillandmouse.com/qm0798.htm
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/wrtg/hd_wrtg.htm
http://www.english.uga.edu/~hy.....iting.html
http://www.library.cornell.edu.....lphorg.htm
http://www.percepp.demon.co.uk/alphabet.htm
http://www.krysstal.com/writing.html
http://people.wwc.edu/student/lammbr/writing.html

What is Baybayin?

http://www.mts.net/~pmorrow/bayeng1.htm

Languages and writing systems

http://www.crystalinks.com/languages.html

Why do languages change?

http://www.ancientscripts.com/hl_why.html

Languages can be grouped according to families

http://www.ancientscripts.com/hl_families.html

Numbers and writing systems

http://www.zompist.com/scripts.html

What is the Braille system?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braille

GAMES

http://www.ancientscripts.com/games.html
http://www.kidsdomain.com/games/read1.html
http://www.billybear4kids.com/.....phabet.htm


Last edited by adedios on Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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adedios
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Joined: 06 Jul 2005
Posts: 5060
Location: Angel C. de Dios

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 12:33 pm    Post subject: The Origin of Language Reply with quote

http://www.exploratorium.edu/e.....icle1.html

Linguist Merritt Ruhlen, author of The Origin of Language: Tracing the Evolution of the Mother Tongue, details the factors that determine the development and evolution of regional dialects.

WE DON'T ASK OURSELVES where languages come from because they just seem to be there: French in France, English in England, Chinese in China, Japanese in Japan, and so forth. Yet if we go back only a few thousand years, none of these languages were spoken in their respective countries and indeed none of these languages existed anywhere in the world. Where did they all come from?
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adedios
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Posts: 5060
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 12:34 pm    Post subject: Where Do Languages Come From? Reply with quote

How are roots reconstructed from languages that have no obtainable records? Stanford University Professor Merritt Ruhlen describes the process of working backwards from languages that exist now.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/e.....icle2.html
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adedios
SuperPoster


Joined: 06 Jul 2005
Posts: 5060
Location: Angel C. de Dios

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:13 am    Post subject: Oldest New World Text Found Reply with quote

Oldest New World Text Found

By Charles Q. Choi
Special to LiveScience
posted: 14 September 2006
02:11 pm ET



A stone block from Mexico thousands of years old apparently inscribed with a previously unknown writing may be the oldest text in the New World, an international team of archaeologists said today.

This find lights the hope of future discoveries of written records detailing the Olmecs, the likely creators of the block and the ancient civilization that in many respects was the progenitor of all later complex societies in Mesoamerica, such as the Maya and the Aztecs.

"This reveals the Olmecs, in many ways the first civilization in a vast part of the ancient Americas, were literate, which we did not know for sure before, and hints that they were capable of the same large-scale organization assisted by writing like you saw in early Mesopotamia or Egypt," researcher Stephen Houston, an archaeologist at Brown University in Providence, R.I., told LiveScience.

"It ratchets up what we might find about them in terms of all the concepts that can be recorded in written form, like rituals and economics and politics, sequences of kings," he added. "And it suggests the groups that followed that we knew were literate may not have developed writing on their own."

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/his.....iting.html
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