I suppose I should note that I am taking time out while a document is
printing. ;-)

At 19:59 -0400 2004-07-16, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

> > Obviously, in your description above, Cree has the lower number of
>> characters, "each of which takes on a handful of modifications with
>> similar ..."
>Only if you accept rotation as a "modification" on a par with adding
>appendages etc.

This is very interesting. I have noticed that one Wikipedia
contributor insists that Canadian Syllabics are an abugida because
"rotation" is like a diacritic; or rather, because the base forms are
present in all of the vowel positions. I don't think this is
particularly convincing, myself.

>You will recall that I have expressed great hesitancy over whether one should;

Woo hoo! We agree! But it would be interesting to pursue this
further. Why do we hesitate?

>but the fact of its invention by someone familiar with phonetic
>science puts it outside the realm of the classification.

Why would that be a necessary proscription? A great many of the
world's writing systems evince quite sophisticated linguistic
analysis. At least one of the twentieth-century African "syllabaries"
modifies "basic consonant" glyphs with various marks for the vowels.
I'd have to hit the books to find out whether the creator had any
particular knowledge (which might not be as formal as that of
"phonetic science").

Would Tengwar be "outside the realm of classification"? I don't think
so. (Depending on the mode, it is either an abjad or an alphabet.)

>Obviously, the paradigm example of an abugida is Brahmi, the
>"perfection" of Kharoshthi.

The successor, anyway. Have we evidence of an explicit relation
between the two?

>Its descendants, most familiarly Devanagari but also all the Indic
>scripts, retain the abugida principle; Tamil has departed farthest
>from Brahmi of all, in abandoning the conjunct system, using dots to
>mark the boundaries instead. (Even the Southeast Asian scripts,
>whose phonetics are very different from Indian phonetics, still
>variously make use of the abugidic resources to indicate vowel
>quality, consonant quality, or tone.)

Tai Le is an alphabet, though derived from the Brahmic abugidas. New
Tai Lue is sort of a hybrid, perhaps rather like Tamil.

>I don't know whether Sikh children are taught with grids of syllables or

I'd be surprised if they weren't.

OK. the printer has finished. Back to the salt mine.
Michael Everson * * Everson Typography * * http://www.evertype.com