Lars Marius Garshol wrote:
> * Peter Constable
> |
> | But other experts on writing systems (among them Ken Whistler, Michael
> | Everson, Lars Marius Garshol, and others)
> I am no expert on writing systems, and it is not false modesty that
> prompts me to say this, just embarrassment. I am learning, but very
> slowly, and I have just started.
> | 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.
> The potential for confusion should be quite obvious. B&D does contain
> descriptions of some proposed types of scripts, but these descriptions
> are so brief that they can be interpreted in any number of ways. Their
> application within B&D by the various authors is also inconsistent.

Did you look at the article where they were introduced? (In Downing,
Lima, and Noonan 1992.)

> The script classes 'alphabet', 'abjad', 'syllabary', and 'logosyllabary'
> have so far been universally accepted (in this debate). The problems
> arose over the terms 'abugida', 'alphasyllabary', and 'featural script'.
> It is not at all clear that all these terms are meaningful, or that
> they can co-exist within a single typology for writing systems.
> The key questions that need to be answered, as I see it, are:
> - what type of script is Hangul?

"Featural." Which does not, however, mean it represents Jakobsonian
distinctive features.

> - what about Tengwar and Cree?

Cree is an abugida (taking one orientation as basic and the rotations as
derivations, equivalent to adding a mark). Tengwar has something to do
with Tolkien but I don't know what. Is it the one that works like
Shavian? Anyway, I don't recall any Tolkien script having an inherent
unmarked vowel.

> - what is the type of scripts in the Brahmic script family?

Abugida, by definition

> Various answers have floated around, and none are, I think, entirely
> satisfactory.

It's my term, so my use of it is definitive.

> | 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.
> Is this "alphasyllabary" as defined by Bright, or "alphasyllabary" as
> defined by Constable?

Constable. It isn't remotely like Bright's prior use of the term.

> | 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.
> Is this available electronically anywhere?

He has a website now, but I don't know whether there's more there than
the dictionary of Native American place names he's been involved in for
some years.

> | 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.
> I'll agree that the contenders for consistent typologies of scripts
> are few, but I'm not sure your proposal is the only one so far. You've
> hinted that you're dissatisfied with the term 'featural syllabary'
> that Kenneth Whistler proposed. Could you explain why?

If it's meant to be a separate type, it's objectionable for the same
reason "alphasyllabary" is, namely, suggesting it's not a type but a
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...