12.0198 visualisation

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 21:14:27 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 198.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 1:46 -0600
From: Linda Bandy <Linda.Bandy@mcmail.vanderbilt.edu>
Subject: Re: 12.0182 visualisation? software agents?

What an interesting project! I hope you will not misunderstand my
intent, and that I, in turn, understand your search. Seems to me
that the source of the lexical flow is the very icon list I'm looking at
right now, that is, the icons used everywhere in computing. My email
"depicts" the letterwriting activity in the menu -- READ all about it
in the file if I click. Perhaps the computer programming literature
and computer design manuals could offer something to direct you.
Just a thought. Let me know if this helps. Linda

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 182.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 19:55:21 +0100
From: Thomas Donnebrink <donnebr@uni-muenster.de>


Dear members of the list

I have subscribed to your active list about three months ago. My name is
Thomas Donnebrink and I am a student at the university of Munster to the
north - west of Germany. I am working on a paper for my final exam about

"strategies and limitations of visualization of lexical entries looking at
the Picture Duden and modern monolingual english dictionaries"

In some dictionaries, drawing, photos and other types of visualization are
used to 'illustrate' the meaning of a certain lexical entry, but it seems,
that the way certain 'types' of visualization are used and certain lexical
entries are chosen for visualization is far away from being systematically
and uniform. The practice rather seems to be intuitive and arbitrary. The
scope is quite limited and the parts of the lexicon illustrated include
barely other words than non-abstract nouns. I would like to look into the
possibility of outlining a language which is based on visual signs
(avoiding the phonological principle) and in this way hoping to bypass the
arbitrarity of the linguistic sign (Arbitraritat des sprachlichen
Zeichens). The aim would be to create (to outline) a system of visual
signs that could be understood by everybody regardless of the speech
community they belong to; and therefore serve as an auxiliary language in
"written" communication. This visual sign language should meet the
following criteria:
- A high percentage of the visual signs should be self-explanatory.
- The inventory of the visual signs that are not self-explanatory should be
as limited as possible, logical and serve as compound words to build other
expressions (but not too complex), so that not much learning would be
- Due to the morpho-syntacticle differences in many languages the visual
sign language would have - among other things - to break with the linear
arrangement of the sentence parts (using a circular arrangement so
somethink like that). But this does not interest me at this point.

I am searching desperately for some information concerning this topic for
more than two months now, but I cannot find very much information which
really deals specifically about the visualization of language in general and
of lexical entries in particular. I have searched the OPACs, libraries and
travelled the cyberspace, but it seems that there is nothing out there. So
far I just found one book (Hupka 1989) and a couple of short articles
dealing with this subject. So I was hoping that maybe someone of you is
interested in the same or a similar topic or that one of you knows somebody
who might be. If you have a tip, a hint, a link, a source, an idea, a title,
an E-Mail address or something alike that could help,I would reeeaaally
appreciate it, if you could mail it to me.

Thanks a thousand times !!

I would also like to post a short questionnaire concerning this topic on
this list in a few weeks, provided that nobody objects.


Thomas Donnebrink
Munster, Germany

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