LINGUIST List 3.138

Tue 11 Feb 1992

Sum: Iconicity; Mac Keyboards

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  1. Martin Haase, iconicity in deictics (summary)
  2. Eric Schiller, Re: 3.116 Queries: Cognitive science courses, Keyboard entry

Message 1: iconicity in deictics (summary)

Date: Sun, 09 Feb 92 19:24:20 MEiconicity in deictics (summary)
From: Martin Haase <MHAASEDOSUNI1.bitnet>
Subject: iconicity in deictics (summary)

Thanks to all of you that answered my query about deictic iconicity (I
have added a list of contributors at the end of this summary). As you
remember, I started with the following hypothesis, concerning
demonstratives and local (deictic) adverbs:

"Typically, smaller or greater distance from the speaker/hearer
(the 'deictic point') is indicated by closer or more open vowels

I got very much data supporting this hypothesis and some data against
(you will find the list of examples for both kinds of evidence below).
None of the data seems to disconfirm the following stricter version of
the iconicity principle:

"if the forms showing different degrees of deictic distance are
closely related phonologically (minimal pairs or near minimal pairs),
the vowels of the forms for smaller deictic distance are closer than
(or equal to) the vowels for greater deictic distance."

It goes without saying that the hypothesis does not hold for vowels
which fulfill other functions, albeit in the deictic form (e.g.
agreement, as in the case of Swahili classifier vowels).

For the case of equal vowels, Aaron Broadwell raised the interesting
point of tonal iconicity (in Zapotec). In the case of Latin, one may
think of consonantal iconicity. Both matters need further discussion.

If anybody has corrections to the presented material or further
evidence, please let me know. Of course, I'm especially anxious to get
disconfirming evidence for my stricter hypothesis. Furthermore,
Stavros Macrakis and I would like to know more about the difference
between _qui_ and _qua_ or _li_ and _la_ in Italian, and I am curious
about other semantic components getting mixed up with deictic meaning
(e.g. 'out of sight' or direction, as in Athabaskan). You can write to
me, and I shall send another summary to 'The Linguist'.
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Message 2: Re: 3.116 Queries: Cognitive science courses, Keyboard entry

Date: Thu, 6 Feb 92 23:36:22 CSTRe: 3.116 Queries: Cognitive science courses, Keyboard entry
From: Eric Schiller <>
Subject: Re: 3.116 Queries: Cognitive science courses, Keyboard entry


One solution is to use Fontographer to open the font, rearrange the
layout (and modify symbols!) to your heart's content, and then generate
a copy for your own use. Not only does this work for all Mac systems,
but to a large extent the font can be ported to Windows as well simply
by generating the font in PC format.

ResEdit is not so scary for straightforward tasks, and might do. The
drawback is that you then have to carry your resources with you when
working on other macs, and this has become unwieldy. Carrying a font
is much easier.

I am fairly certain that keyboard remapping routines are available on
Compuserve, but I haven't looked at system 7 compatibility.

Of course, Quick Keys allows keyboard remaps, but as with ResEdit,
it is not so portable (you would have to make sure every machine
you use has Quick Keys installed.

Eric Schiller
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