Gabriella F. Scelta wrote:
> does anyone have a count (and a reference for it if possible) for
> 1. how many scripts are in use today (living languages) in the world?

In my understanding (which is probably quite wrong...) there are about 30
"scripts" in current use today in the world:

1 Arabic
2 Armenian
3 Cyrillic
4 Georgian
5 Greek
6 Hebrew
7 Latin (aka Roman)

8 Bengali
9 Burmese (aka Myanmar)
10 Devanagari (aka Nagri, Hindi)
11 Gujarati
12 Gurmukhi (aka Punjabi)
13 Kannada
14 Khmer
15 Lao
16 Malayalam
17 Oriya
18 Sinhala
19 Tamil
20 Telugu
21 Thai
22 Tibetan

23 Chinese (Han logograms)
24 Korean (hangul + Han logograms)
25 Japanese (hiragana + katakana + Han logograms)

26 Cree (aka Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics)
27 Ethiopic (aka Fidel)
28 Mongolian/Manchu
29 Thana (aka Divehi, Maldivian)
30 Yi (aka Lolo)

But there are several other scripts which are sort of half-alive, and may or
may not become more current in the future, e.g.: Cherokee, Deseret, Limbu,
Osmanya, Syriac, Tagalog and other Philippines scripts, Tai Le, Tifinagh.

The last one is a good example of how fluid the situation is: in recent
years, Tifinagh has been mainly a political "flag" used by Berber speakers
as a symbol of national pride, but now the Moroccan government is promoting
it as the official script for education of the Berber minority. Similarly,
Mongolian and Yi were virtually dead up to some decades ago, but have been
revived when the Chinese government promoted them as the official scripts
for the Mongolian and Lolo minorities. Same for "Canadian Aboriginal
Syllabics" in Nunavut, Canada.

Moreover, there are a few scripts, such as Bopomofo, which are mainly used
for ancillary purposes such as showing the pronunciation on dictionaries of
languages normally written with other scripts.

And, for blind people, there is a whole world of "Brailles". For some
languages (e.g. Italian), braille is just a letter-by-letter cipher of the
orthography used by sighted people but, for some other languages (e.g.
English or Chinese) the correspondence is much less simple, so one could
consider the braille and the "print" orthographies as two independent

> 2. how many are known (living and dead) in the
> world/throughout history?

Ugh! Who knows?

If Daniels or Everson don't come up with an answer for this, there are very
few other people in the world you could ask to...

Besides that, I think that such an question cannot be answered without a
bullet-proof definition of what a "script" is. Without this, I could count
ten "scripts" where you count one, or vice versa.

> 3. how many are used in africa (either way)?

In my conservative 30-script list, only Ethiopic is used only in Africa. The
other two script widespread in Africa are Latin and Arabic, both requiring a
large set of additional letters for representing African languages. Also
Chinese, Devanagari and Tamil are quite common in Africa, among descendants
of Asian immigrants.

_ Marco