suzmccarth wrote:
> --- In, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
> wrote:
> > suzmccarth wrote:
> > >
> > > >From Peter Constable in November, 2001
> > >
> > > "1. phonic/phonemic: structural units represent a phonological
> > > segment at some level in the derivation
> > > 1a. abjad: consonants only (e.g. prototypical example: ancient
> > > Semitic scripts)
> > > 1b. alphabets: consonants, and vowels (e.g. Latin)
> > >
> > > 2. syllabic: structural units represent a phonological syllable
> >
> > How does this not cover (3) and (4) as well?
> Well, I agree with you here. I think there should be only two major
> types. Class one, the alphabets and abjads, segmentable in a line
> (in phonetic order) below the syllable; and, class two, all the
> others, which have a predominant syllabic structure.

So you want to go back to the middle of the 19th century, before even E.
B. Tylor! (As far as I can tell, the earliest appearance of the
tripartite typology, word sign - syllable sign - sound sign, is Isaac
Taylor in 1883, but he doesn't present it as his own idea, nor does he
credit anyone else.)

> Whether alphabets have to be linear or not - I don't know, but if a
> system isn't linear then it seems to come in for different

How is Modern Aramaic "different" from the other alphabets? It uses the
Nestorian variety of the Syriac script, but the vowel points are

> treatment. So linearity should be a salient feature for systems but
> I won't propose any definitions. What does Bill Bright have to say
> about this? Maybe salient features is the way to go and forget
> classes. obviously a system can have salient features from more than
> one group, i.e. Korean.
> I am pretty confused by having Cree, Tamil, Ethiopic and Korean
> potentially in a class together but not Cherokee. Yes, the others

I would find that quite bizarre, too. Korean definitely doesn't go with
Tamil and Ethiopic, and I don't think Cree does, either. Cherokee of
course goes with none of the above.

> can be analysed below the syllable but in so many different ways.
> Some can be decomposed and others not. Is an abugida about
> characters that have systematic syllable permutations,
> decomposability, or is about the inherent vowel? I think you should

I don't know what you mean by "systematic syllable permutations" or

> relent and give me a 'sufficiently precise' definition. I don't
> stop talking to people just because they haven't read Defrancis on
> Chinese.

Well, they should have!

An abugida is a writing system in which the letters stand for a
consonant followed by the unmarked vowel (usually /a/), and the other
vowels are indicated by additions (appendages, modifications, whatever;
not "diacritics") to the letters.

> > > 2a. syllabary: no systematic relationship between shapes (e.g.
> > > Hiragana)
> > > 2b. abugida: regular relationship between shapes that corresponds to
> > > a regular relationship between phonemes (e.g. Ethiopic, Cdn
> > > Syllabics)
> >
> > Insufficiently precise; it misses the point almost entirely.
> >
> > > 3. alphasyllabary: two levels of structural unit representing
> > > phonemes and syllables (prototypical example: Hangul)
> >
> > That certainly doesn't agree with Bill Bright's usage, who coined the
> > term (as far as anyone can tell).
> Well, I think the term alphasyllabary has been around for a long
> time but maybe Bill Bright did coin it. I can see your point here
> also.

He says he didn't, but no one seems to have found it anywhere else

> > > 4. logosyllabary: structural units represent syllables and/or
> > > morphemes (e.g. Chinese ideographs)"
> >
> > Why "and/or"?
> I would chuck the and/or also, but syllables and morphemes, that
> seems right. Hence morphosyllabic - not much more to say on Chinese
> than DeFrancis or is there?
> >
> > > Now that I am forbidden from using 'that word', which I have grown
> > > to like, by the way, I will have to restrict myself to quoting
> > > others.
> >
> > Even if others misuse the word?
> Well, I am checking out my Hebrew Psalter. However, in the
> Septuagint, the one I read online, the letters were given in Greek.
> But in the Hebrew version I can see it is an acrostic. I don't want
> to misuse the word.

In the Hebrew, each group of 8 verses begins with the same letter.

In the Greek, each group of 8 verses is headed with a transliteration of
the name of the Hebrew letter with which those verses begin in the

I know of one English version that imitates this feature -- Ronald
Knox's, which is a translation of the Vulgate -- and I once saw another
in a church, but it doesn't seem to be any of the usually mentioned ones
from the 19th or early 20th century.

However, I don't have the slightest clue why a mention of the misuse of
"abugida" would trigger ("Well,") this topic!
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...