--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Constable" <petercon@...> wrote:

> Whatever label is given, according to the definition I gave for the
> category in question, both Tamil and Korean could be considered
> That doesn't mean that there might not be interesting differences
> between them.

The following is your earlier definition, clipped into this post.

> - in some scripts, the symbols correspond (prototypically) to
> but there are also graphical structures that correspond
> to phonological syllables

I don't think that there is any question of a symbol corresponding to
a consonant without a vowel in Tamil. The final is added on to the
CV syllable. A alphabet trains a child through sequenced visual
reinforcement to analyse written language down to the phoneme. I
don't believe a syllabic written structure like Tamil does this.

I watch Korean and Tamil kids reading and writing. In Korean the
writer records phonemes in sequence and the shape becomes a
syllable. In Tamil the writer records syllables. If you watch the
hand and the mouth you can see that this activity is different - very
different. The Tamil writer records the syllable with letters
written in visual order. She cannot write phoneme by phoneme. This
does not mean that a more mature or educated writer is not analysing
phonemes. However, the system does not allow segmenting and
sequencing in such a way that the visual symbols reinforce the
phonetic values.

From a psychological point of view I would think that Korean is more
like an alphabet and Tamil a syllabary.

I have to think over the other questions you asked and answer later.

Suzanne McCarthy