suzmccarth wrote:
> --- In, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
> wrote:
> >>
> > Tamil being unusual among the Indian scripts in that; but even in
> > Tamil, the /u/ is realized in many ways.
> I would say that one vowel out of 12 vowels is not by any means
> representative

That is why I said "even in Tamil." Tamil is UNUSUAL among the scripts
of India, being so poor in consonants (and lacking in conjuncts).

> > The vowel objects don't look like separate letters because they
> > _aren't_ separate letters.
> They are full size and usually unattached. Some vowels and
> consonants have a similar shape. It is not at all so obvious as you
> claim.

They are not separate letters. They cannot function on their own.

> > If you're interrupted while writing Tamil, would you
> > leave off with just a left-hand vowel piece and not finish the
> > akshara by writing the consonant?
> Children certainly hesitates between letters, they write one letter,
> check the syllable chart and continue to compose the syllable
> sometimes letter by letter, but in visual order not phonetic order.
> The syllable knowledge has to become secure before this stage passes.
> It does not compare to putting together two strokes in a letter of
> the Roman alphabet. It involves another level of stroke memorization
> and visual synthesis on the part of the learner.

The learner-stage isn't particularly interesting. What children do isn't
of much interest in script typology (though it may be quite revelatory
about the psycholinguistics of writing).

> I agree, however, that the syllable is the primary structural unit
> and the consonants and vowels are secondary units. This is why Tamil
> must fall into the primary class of syllabic scripts. This fact
> should not be obscured by innovative terminology that reflects a new
> and insightful understanding of historic processes.

I do not understand why you seem incapable of understanding the purpose
of a typology or of my classification. It is NOT a description of what
is encoded by a script; it is a description of HOW a script does its
encoding. There is a HUGE difference between having 50-100 different
characters, each for a separate syllable with no similarity between the
characters for similar-sounding syllables, and having 20-30 different
characters, each of which takes on a handful of (up to a dozen)
modifications, with similar character-bases and similar modifications
reflecting phonetic similarity.

And, (I don't know how many times I have said this) the terminology does
not reflect a new understanding of historic process; the new
understanding of historic process emerged AFTER the new categories were
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...