Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
> 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
> >lectionis.
> >
> >
> 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.

It certainly does not. Why would the points have been invented, yet kept

What would your reason for proposing a classification be?

Mine was that it clarified Gelb's counterintuitive "Principle of
Unidirectional Development" and then showed me the explanation for the
origins of writing.

> 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).
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...