Peter_Constable@... wrote:
> I'm just reading a colleague's recently-completed MA thesis on
> electronic representation of writing system descriptions, and that led
> me to an insight that pertains to this recent thread:

None of this looks familiar -- was it a qalam thread?

> Michael Everson wrote in response to Lars Marius Garshol:
> >>| Yes, it's my principal point that Hangul is an alphabetic script
> >>| because Jamo is an alphabet.
> >>
> >>I can sympathize with that point of view, and certainly agree that
> >>Jamo could have been used as an alphabet like all the others. That
> is
> >>not how it is used, however.
> >
> >Of course it is. The principle feature of an alphabet is that it has
> >symbols denoting consonants and vowels. Linear presentation of these,
> >whether horizontal or vertical, is not the underlying feature.
> >Syllable clustering of alphabetic letters in Hangul is a typographic
> >feature of the script. It takes nothing away from its
> alphabet-nature.
> As we all know, in Daniels' classification, he put Hangul in its own
> class, calling it featural. Now, there is a disagreement between

As I always credit, the type "featural" was invented by Geoffrey Sampson
(and before him by C.-W. Kim at University of Illinois, but he didn't
publish the lecture until after Sampson did).

> Daniels and Bright over Indic scripts: Daniels considers Devanagari
> (e.g.) to be an abugida. Bright, on the other hand, considers them to
> be alphasyllabaries, a classification which Daniels rejects.

I don't reject the classification. I reject the label for it, because it
suggests "alphabet" and "syllabary" and I prefer to stress its
independence from both.

> In reading my friend's thesis, I was reminded of DeFrancis' argument
> that writing systems can represent language only on the levels of the
> syllable or the phoneme. It struck me then that Hangul is a
> prototypical alphasyllabary.

Not according to Bright's definition (or my definition of "abugida").

> I find some other interesting aspects to this. Daniels and others
> argued that study of writing systems needs to examine, and only needs
> to examine, the relationship between written symbols and the

Where did the "only" come from?

> linguistic forms that they represent. This was in opposition to an
> earlier structuralist view that said that the written form could be
> studied independently of any relationship to linguistic forms. It has

Who espouses such an "earlier" view? Certainly not Gelb or A. A. Hill or
Voegelin & Voegelin, whose work (referenced in WWS) represents the
structuralist tradition.

> seemed to me that, in fact, study of writing systems needs to consider
> both structure of written forms and relationships to linguistic forms.
> Applying this to Hangul, the jamos represent things on the level of
> the phoneme (further comments below). But then we can describe purely
> structural characteristics of the writing in relation to how jamo
> forms get arranged into cells. That on its own is an interesting
> structural characteristic of Hangul writing, shared by SignWriting.
> But then we get a relationship again to the relationship to linguistic
> forms since the cells correspond to syllables.
> As to the relationship betweens jamos and things on the linguistic
> level of phoneme, Martin Duerst wrote in response to Ken Whistler:
> >>Hangul is structured from an alphabet (the jamo). That alphabet is
> >>so tightly coupled to the phonology of Korean that it can be
> >>considered a phonemic alphabet -- it is very regularly related to
> >>the sound of Korean.
> >
> >Oh well. I guess you never heard about all the liaisons
> >and things that go on with final consonants and consonant
> >clusters. Hangul was order-made for Korean, but Korean has
> >changed. In many ways, it's similar to the current state
> >of French. It's definitely not as nice as Finish or Italian,
> >but not as bad as English.

Korean writing is *highly* morphophonemic. Just try reading Sohn's *The
Korean Language*!

> DeFrancis argues that writing systems should be distinguished
> according to the basic units that they relate to rather than precisely
> what each written unit represents. I think there's no question that
> jamos represent language on the level of the phoneme. There is an
> orthogonal characterisation of writing systems, discussed by Sproat
> and I'd expect earlier by others, as to how concrete or abstract the
> relationships between written forms and the linguistic forms they
> represent. Thus, Spanish and English writing systems both represent
> their respectic languages basically on the phonemic level, but Spanish
> does so in a fairly concrete way while English writing has become
> abstract as the result of several hundred years of significant
> phonological changes. It shouldn't surpise us that Hangul has become
> more abstract over several hundred years -- what is surprising is that
> it hasn't become more so. I think there's no question that jamos
> represent t! hings on the phonemic level, and that they still do so in
> a relatively concrete way, though as Martin points out something more
> concrete than English but less concrete than Italian.

Careful you don't start on the slippery slope of "grapheme"!
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...