Patrick Chew wrote:
> someone wrote:
> >How about "symbols for most vowels are optional, or may
> >not be present at all"? As opposed to an alphabet, where
> >they must be present.
> Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> >No. Symbols for vowels are not present at all. Period.
> Marco Cimarosti wrote:
> >So Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac are not abjads?
> At 07:31 AM 7/8/2004, Peter Daniels wrote:
> >Unvocalized, they are. Add the points, and they're alphabets.
> Are alif, waw, and ye to not be considered logn vowels? Rather,
> are they to be considered /?/ /w/ and /y/, respectively?

You might possibly argue that in Mandaic, the _matres_ have become
vowels, but when I looked more closely at Mandaic, I found that it
_didn't_ turn into an alphabet, as has often been claimed. (The Hebrew
transliteration obscures the properties of the Mandaic script
considerably -- Nöldeke should have insisted that his publisher use
Mandaic type, as Lidzbarski would soon be using.)

But Phoenician does not use matres, and in the other three languages
they don't (strictly speaking) represent vowels. However, the use of
matres is a development from abjadhood. (But it doesn't end up leading
to vowel-writing -- not even at the end of the line in Manchu.)
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...