Friday, May 7, 2010

Response to Pain in the English post:
I have to disagree with the premise that caps exist for purely historical reasons. There is a LOT of research (it's a quickly burgeoning body of research) toward legibility and psychology. The results of which tend to support exactly what Alan said! Psychologist, Sociologists, Linguists, Psycholinguists, and Typographers are involved in this fascinating game! Please read the full article whose link I posted below. Furthermore, it's a very simple logical step to say that if it has been shown that there are significant differences among different fonts among one alphabet that there are also better and worse alphabets (written languages) for legibility and visibility. Just because there are more alphabets with no caps doesn't mean they are more legible than alphabets that have them. It might mean that, but I'll wait for the research. There is not much research studying differences in legibility across and among different languages/alphabets, but there is some and it's increasing. See links below. Here is someone in the field on this subject, explaining this whole LEGIBILITY vs. CASE vs. HISTORY debate: "...[S]cript was optimized for writing at the expense of legibility. But it is not the only one that suffered from the hands of the writers. Nearly all modern writing systems are thought to have descended directly or indirectly from the single source – the Phoenician. This script is the ancestor of nearly every alphabet in use today, including Arabic, Greek, Latin and many others. The Hebrew alphabet remains closest to its predecessor, as only the form of the letters has been modified, while classical Mongolian script hardly bears any resemblance. The success of Poenician was due in part to its phonetic nature; Phoenician was the first widely used script in which one sound was represented by one symbol. This simple system contrasted the other scripts in use at the time, such as Cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, which employed many complex characters and were difficult to learn. This one-to-one configuration also made it possible for Phoenician to be employed in multiple languages. Its evolution took different directions, and many different alphabets emerged, all influenced by the writers and optimized for writing." ~Please read the original article at Info on Chinese legibility: Have fun learning and reading, people!
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