RE: Pictures, words, info, glyphs, symbols, thoughts?

Subject: RE: Pictures, words, info, glyphs, symbols, thoughts?
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 14:44:06 +0100

Geoff Hart wrote:
<<* In doing some research for a trip to China this fall, I've repeatedly
across the warning that speakers of Cantonese and Mandarin can have
difficulty understanding each other speak, but have a much easier time
understanding each other's writing. More anecdotal evidence!>>

According to the autobiography of the last Emperor of China, Chinese and
Japanese can communicate with each other by writing. (Or could, in the
1930s. I understand that both Chinese and Japanese schoolchildren are more
likely to learn the simplified characters than the classical characters
these days. But I'm no expert in Chinese or Japanese education.) The spoken
languages are as different as English and German, but the written languages
are just similiar enough that a good reader of Chinese can "decode" a
message written in Japanese characters. (The Emperor makes it clear that
this was not considered as effective as having a good Chinese-Japanese
translator, but was used when no sufficiently discreet translator could be

<<I read an article a few years back (maybe something by Bill Horton?) that
reported the results of a case study of icons. The researchers found that
not only were even "obvious" icons interpreted in a broad range of ways, but
worse yet, users actually memorized the positions of the icons more than
they memorized the images themselves. >>

This may have been a column by Bruce Tognazzini - though I can't remember
exactly which one, but I do remember that exact example (including the test
of mixing the icons up on someone's customised tool bar :-).

Jane Carnall
"They are prisoners of their own dreams and illusions, as we were 30 years
ago. If the issue is between our and their illusions, we will never resolve
the conflict."
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone. Apologies
for the long additional sig: it is added automatically and outwith my


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Pictures, words, info, glyphs, symbols, thoughts?: From: Hart, Geoff

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