--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
> suzmccarth wrote:
> > > 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.)
> >
> > "G.Vico (1668 -1744) examined the different languages known
> > his time (Greek, Egyptian , Turkish, German, Hungarian ... ) and
> > their writing systems in order ot divide them into the three
> > categories just mentionned." Kristeva. 1989. (divine, poetic and
> > epistolatory) I am not sure about how this lines up exactly but
> > is tripartite. I imagine that the evolutionary model, the ladder
> > idea, became popular again in the 1880's since this was the
> > metaphor of that age. I don't see any reason not to go back to
> > another time.
> So -- if anyone suggests describing anything in threes, it's the
same as
> any other division into three? How Dum├ęzilian. How Christian.

Vico definitely had three chronological stages in mind 1. the
hieroglyphic stage - the divine, 2. the intermediate stage - the
heroic, and 3. the epistolary stage, of the common people. Not like
the Christain trinity and but maybe more like Dumezillain. Hmmm. I
think Vico really influenced the historic perspective in Europe.
Maybe more like Aristotle. Then if you have three, in chronological
progression, the last, the alphabet, is the 'most suited to
modernity'. Sjoberg

So Vico didn't know about syllabic systems but he knew that it
should be a tripartite chronological progression.

I was thinking of two as offering a choice. Every writing system
has to represent meaning. But then you can chose segments, whatever
you call those things, or syllables, or both. So if you have only
seen an alphabet, you might try to work it back to a syllabary.
But if you have a syllabary you might jump sideways to a dual
alphabet and syllabary. If you want something new you choose a
syllabary if you want one, just like many First Nations are doing
now in Canada. Or not, if you don't. Some nations which didn't use
syllabics historically have adopted it - others have given it up.
Some have adapted it differently.

Language communities choose to have more or less of one or the other
or both at once and a range of optional representation. So salient
features are important but you can't stick a script in a particular
class. It has certain characteristics because people choose to use
it that way. Volition vs fate.

> > How about the essential unity of all writing?
> What "essential unity"?

Defrancis. All writing systems represent meaning; they all represent
sound. It is more imnportant to see our similarity as human beings
than our differences. Amen. (Not in his major book but maybe in
Taylor and Olson, Scripts and LIteracy.)

> > BTW thanks for the definition of abugida. More or less what I
> > thought but Tamil and Ethiopic aren't similar in Unicode. Maybe
> > Unicode ought not to use the term.
> I really don't give a good g*d damn what Unicode does.

Tut, tut.


> --
> Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...