Steve Cooney wrote:
> This is not saying anything.
> Concepts and words are interchangeable when we talk in
> terms of a language. Language = system of symbols,
> representing a list of concepts for assembly.

I think we need clearer definitions, then, before we can continue this
discussion.  Otherwise we'll just be arguing at cross-purposes.  By
"ideogram" I understand "abstract idea divorced from phonological forms
used by a specific language" and "logogram" = "character that represents
a phonological form in a specific language"

> I disagree. I think that over time, the use of single
> discrete characters, arranged in an order dictated by
> the language typology at the time, fed back upon the
> language a discreteness by which the discrete
> character had strong influence over word and concept
> granularity. In fact, I think that the current
> existing distortions evident in Chinese today give
> some weight to this idea, having become localized in
> accordance with the tendencies of the spoken language.

What?  I'm afraid I don't understand you at all.  Are you proposing
that, had the Chinese been illiterate, their language would not be
monosyllabic?  And considering how, until quite recently, only a small
educated minority of the Chinese (or, indeed, of any culture) were
literate, I fail to see how the writing system used by that small
minority could affect the speech of the majority.

And, for what it's worth, the earliest form of Chinese is reconstructed
as being monosyllabic, thus there's no proof that the use of hanzi
"created" monosyllabism.  Sound changes collapsed many formerly distinct
words into homophones, which then required the creation of new compound
words, written, naturally, with two characters, as etymologically they
were two words.

> You seem to be missing the obvious -- earthworm˛ż,
> earth═┴ and worm═H *are* each words on their own.

This argument is pointless unless we get definitions down first.
English has many words which are historically compounds, some still
transparent, like "earthworm" or "snowstorm", some less so, like
"icicle" (but, if we'd used a logographic script, it might still be
*orthographically* transparent).  However, would you consider those
English terms to be "phrases" or "words"?  If you consider them phrases,
then I'd concede your claim that Chinese has only monosyllabic words.

> A better question how earth═┴ and The EarthÁě㲠and worldŻš are all
> used differently.  But your argument is semantics, if you argue over
> the meaning of the word "word."  I understand the term to be flexible -
> word is a finite concept, symbolized by a sound

My argument isn't semantics.  I only brought up semantics because it
became clear that your argument was based on a different meaning of the
word "word" than I'd had in mind.  Thus, we must first clarify what we
mean by "word" before we can continue to discuss the issue.  How can we
discuss a method of using symbols for words if we don't have a common
conception of what a word IS?  You might believe that "earthworm" is 2
words, thus requiring 2 symbols, whereas I might consider it 1 word,
requiring a single symbol (perhaps one built up from smaller elements).
Which is the better method depends on what the goal is.  And unless
definitions are clear, we cannot have a clear conception of the goal.

> So, while we may say
> "the dog does..." another language would be perfectly
> fine with "dog does..." Same concept, different number
> of words.

Not exactly the same concept.  "The dog does" includes the additional
concept of definiteness, whereas "dog does" does not.  So, whether the
script is based on phonetics, words, or "ideas", you'd still need to
have different symbols for those two phrases.

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