Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
> Peter T. Daniels wrote:

> >>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
> >optional?
> >
> >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.
> >
> >
> There isn't anything *wrong* with classifying things the way you say;
> all classification is more or less arbitrary anyway. We group things in
> ways that seem to be useful. To me, it does not seem useful to view
> Hebrew as one kind of writing system when written without vowels, and as
> a member of an entirely different top-level class when the vowels are
> added.


> Such a classification system seems to me unstable. (That's just

Is "stability" a criterion for classifications?

> me, and I don't have books on the subject in my name, but then again,
> authoring books on a subject is neither a necessary nor a sufficient
> condition for being right about it. Maybe other people here agree, and
> maybe they don't.) If we think abjads should be treated one way and
> alphabets another, then I would say that this form of classification,
> which has the Hebrew writing system flip-flopping between them (and
> sometimes occupying some strange middle ground) is unhelpful, as Hebrew
> probably should be treated approximately the same way no matter how many
> vowel-points are there.


> Why would the vowels be invented, and kept optional? I could answer
> that, and probably will eventually, but it doesn't even matter if I
> couldn't. The facts on paper indicate that the vowels definitely WERE
> invented, and definitely ARE optional (now). Was that a sensible thing

And ALWAYS WERE optional. They were devised for use only in a certain
kind of non-sacred study text (and, of course, are never used in sacred
scrolls themselves).

> to do? I don't feel the need to defend it: it simply is the case, smart
> or stupid.
> >>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).
> >>
> >>
> Did you have something to say to this, or just missed deleting it in
> your response? (I'm not trying to be obnoxious here, just making sure
> you didn't miss out on saying something you had planned).

I seem not to have scrolled down far enough to see it.

Obviously, Yes!

There's an immense difference, and of course the Ethiopic vowels don't
have full-letter forms.
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...