Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
> Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> >Mark E. Shoulson 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.
> >
> >Why?
> >
> Because it's still the same writing system, I think. With or without
> the vowel-points, it's still read the same way. Does a BET somehow mean
> something different if it's pointed vs the *same* word unpointed?

No, but it encodes its language quite differently. _That's_ the
interesting thing.

> >>Such a classification system seems to me unstable. (That's just
> >
> >Is "stability" a criterion for classifications?
> >
> No, like I said, classification is arbitrary. Usefulness would be a

Then why complain?

> good criterion, and usefulness, of course, depends on what you're using
> it for. For uses I personally see, stability would be desirable in a
> classification. You may have other uses in mind.

See above. The _classification_ is stable; the assignment of individuals
to classes varies as the individuals vary.

> >>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?
> >
> See above. It's still the same thing. And it depends on what the
> "treatment" in question is. If it's a matter of processing, then yes,
> it would be very helpful to maintain stability. Maybe not in other
> situations.
> >>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).
> >
> OK, then. I was only trying to answer your question, though I'm not
> sure what it has to do with the case. The points were invented, and
> kept optional. I agree with you, but I don't see how this makes them
> crucial to changing it from an abjad to an alphabet, or anything related
> to that.
> >>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!
> >
> I ask your question back at you: Why? What's the big deal about an
> inherent vowel?

Go read what I have written about the origin and history of writing. If
the new typology clarifies what had been obscure for a hundred years, I
think it's useful.

> >There's an immense difference, and of course the Ethiopic vowels don't
> >have full-letter forms.
> >
> So it's even closer to the Hebrew model. (I spoke of devanagari because
> I'm more familiar with it than with Ethiopic).
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...