Peter_Constable@... wrote:
> Mariano:
> >I think, as already mentioned in a
> >previous message that
> >what is being spoken about is the representation of what in phonetics has
> been
> >called *distinctive
> >traits*,
> English-speaking linguists do not talk about "distinctive traits" but
> rather use the term "distinctive features".

"Trait" is French for "feature," hence the confusion.

> >I do not know so well han-gul as to give a concrete account, but I think
> that
> >han-gul is not a wholy
> >*featural system* whilst having taken some *featural* characteristics of
> the
> >articulatory traits of
> >the definitions of phonems. So that if we try to state a more explicit
> >description for han-gul,
> >then, it is an *alpha/(articulatory)featural-syllabary*.
> I would say, No. The classification system I proposed is based on
> structural units in the writing system and the kinds of linguistic objects
> they represent. The fact that the shape of some Hangul characters
> iconically (in the case of consonants) or metaphorically (in the case of
> vowels) represent specific articulatory features is interesting, but
> irrelevant to the system of classification I propose.
> The reason that I propose this system is that it simply does not make
> sense to create a taxonomic system that classifies some things on the
> basis of one set of properties while classifying other objects on the
> basis of a different set of properties. That simply leads to confusion.
> Among the well-known authors who have written on writing systems and who
> classify Hangul as "featural", this confusion hasn't occured since they
> had a class with one member, and I believe they did that because they were
> distracted by Hangul's unique characteristic of character shapes having
> iconic and metaphoric relationships to something technical and abstract,
> and because they didn't know what to do with the ambiguity in the
> structural properties since both phonemes and syllables are relevant.
> These authors felt comfortable with how they had classified everything
> else, and so didn't get into any confusion of overlapping classifications.

But shouldn't the classification be based on the properties of the thing
being classified? That's why syllabaries and abugidas must be kept
absolutely apart. It was recognizing the difference between them that
let me realize how the origin of writing happened.

> But other experts on writing systems (among them Ken Whistler, Michael
> Everson, Lars Marius Garshol, and others) recently got themselves into a
> discussion of script classification that went amuck (in my mind) when
> people started cross-classifying, and talking about "featural
> syllabaries". The potential for confusion was realised right then and
> there.

Sorry, but I don't know any of the above names! Where do they publish?

> Since I first read any of the familar writings, I have never felt
> comfortable with the classifications proposed specifically on the point of
> Hangul and the use of a "featural" class. The recent discussion that went
> off on what can be considered "featural" reminded me of this issue, and
> finally forced me to think about what I thought was wrong.
> In any taxonomic system, a class with exactly one member is suspect. You

There's only one alphabet. Does that mean you don't have to bother with
a category for it?

> should always question whether the classification is valid, or whether
> there is a problem, and there can be two kinds of problem: the item being
> classified hasn't been adequately analysed with respect to the
> classification system or, more seriously, the system of classification is
> defective. I have always suspected the latter with regard to classifying
> Hangul as "featural". I finally realised that it was because the system of
> classification lacked coherency right at this point because it was using
> two different bases for classification. When I decided to think about how
> to classify scripts using a consistent basis, it struck me that Hangul and
> the term "alphasyllabary" were a perfect match.

Except that it's already in use with a different meaning.

> >With respect the rest of your mail, it is interesting and I would like to
> know
> >if there a relevant
> >manual-book that could be recomended about writting systems theoretical
> >understanding and
> >clasification in that sense.
> I appreciate your interest. Daniels and Bright is a must-have for your
> library, and Peter Daniels' article on script classification provides a
> good overview. It doesn't cover the term "alphasyllabary", however, which
> was introduced by Bill Bright. He has an article in a journal on writing
> systems (exact title escapes me right at this moment) from a couple of
> years ago that covers his use of that term.

I cover "alphasyllabary" in the footnote on p. 4.

Bill's article is in the publication of the conferences in Seoul and
Urbana commemorating King Sejong's 600th birthday, *Studies in the
Linguistic Sciences* (Urbana) 30/1 (Spring 2000): 63-71 (he got to go to
Seoul and read the paper twice; I only went to Urbana). He preprinted it
in his journal *Written Language and Literacy* 2 (1999): 45-56. (He
prefers this citation, but since he says he won't talk to us any more,
and since the SLS version is the publication of the conferences, I get
to say it's the "real" version.)

The only place where the conceptual difference between "abugida" and
"alphasyllabary" is significant is in hPags pa.

> However, the only place you'll find an amended classification that fits
> Hangul into a consistent model (IMO) is in what I have written right here.

That's fine, but it does great violence to _other_ types of script!

> - Peter
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Peter Constable
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...