John Cowan wrote:

>Peter T. Daniels scripsit:
>>>So Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac are not abjads?
>>Unvocalized, they are. Add the points, and they're alphabets.
>Most modern Arabic and Hebrew texts, however, are neither fully pointed
>nor fully unpointed: rather, they are strategically pointed with matres
Even worse, they are strategically pointed with occasional actual
vowel-points and not matres. That is, you'll often see a word with a
single letter vowel-pointed, for the simple reason that it could be
misunderstood, even with all the possible matres in place.

It's a little strange to me that one would classify writing systems such
that the basic category of a system changes like this, adding optional
diacritics. I mean, yes, you can define anything you like, but such an
unstable system starts to lose its usefulness. Whatever Hebrew is, it
makes more sense to classify it the same whether or not it's pointed.

Is the inherent vowel so crucial and novel a feature that it's worth
inventing an entire category for it? Apart from that, there isn't much
difference between a devanagari-style alphabet and a Hebrew-style one
(well, the fact that devanagari vowels also have full-letter forms, I
guess is the main one). And even in devanagari, lack of vowel or
consonant cluster isn't always indicated by virama or ligaturing, in
Hindi, anyway. (Since I only learned Sanskrit, where the inherent "a"
vowel is strictly observed, that always throws me when trying to sound
out Hindi, in which the inherent "a" is often--but not always--dropped,
from what I've heard).