peter daniels claims i invented the term "alphabsyllabary", but i believe
it has been common usage for about 20 years among students of south asian
languages; i don't know who invented it.

the question has arisen in this list before as to where people can find the
article in which i discussed the difference between daniels' abugida and my
alphabsyllabary. it was published under the title "a matter of typology:
alphasyllabaries and abugidas" in two periodicals: *written language and
literacy* 2(1):45-56 (1999) and *studies in the linguistic sciences*
30(1):63-71 (2000). if anybody would like a hard copy of the article, you
only have to ask me via email, and i will send it by snailmail, with a nice
picture of king sejong on the cover.

apparently some people can only read texts in electronic form. i haven't
put the essay on my website; however, the periodical *written language and
literacy* in which it appeared (and of which i'm editor) is available in
electronic form; look at

the electronic form of the journal is free to those who subscribe to the
paper version; otherwise there is a fee to subscribe to the electronic
journal. i think that people with a serious interest in writing
systems/grammatology would find it worth while to subscribe to the paper
and/or electronic versions. cheers; bill

>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@...
> - world's writing systems.
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William Bright
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics & Anthropology, UCLA
Professor Adjoint of Linguistics, University of Colorado, Boulder
Editor, Written Language and Literacy
Editor, Native American Placenames of the United States
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Tel. 303-444-4274
FAX 303-413-0017
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