Doug Ewell wrote:
> This thread has just gotten too fun for words. I have learned that
> almost everything I thought I knew about writing systems typology is
> wrong, or at least debatable.
> For example, I have learned that the abjad that uses marks to indicate
> vowels other than the default is not the true abjad.

There's no "default vowel" in an abjad.

> I have learned that an abugida is not required to provide a mark for a
> vowel other than the inherent vowel, or for suppressing the vowel
> altogether.

? The definition is that there's a default vowel and marks for the other
vowels. A suppression mark isn't found in either Kharoshthi or Ethiopic,
nor in the first centuries of Brahmi (when it wrote only Prakrits, where
there aren't any C-final words).

> I have learned that lack of adherence to strict visual order may
> disqualify a writing system from being considered an alphabet. That had
> certainly never occurred to me before.

Nor me!

> I have learned that some people consider a writing system to be a
> syllabary if children can learn its components a syllable at a time,
> even though Marco Cimarosti demonstrated that he learned to write
> Italian that way as a child.
> I have learned that for some people, the question of whether a writing
> system is an alphabet or an abugida or a syllabary or a
> logomorphoconsonantary or a kumquat has something to do with how the
> characters are entered on a typewriter or computer keyboard, and whether
> a computer display renders them correctly or not.
> And I have learned that some people consider "English major" and
> "engineer" to be epithets, which as a former journalism major and
> current software developer I find amusing.

We almost all manage to transcend our upbringing!

> The only two piece of typology information I feel comfortable with at
> this time are:
> (1) Latin, and other writing systems that have discrete symbols for
> consonants and vowels, and in which all are required, and which are
> written in the order they are read (language dependencies aside), can
> safely be considered alphabets.
> (2) Hiragana and katakana, which have an different blort for every
> syllable, and in which the blorts don't bear any particular resemblance
> to one another (except for dakuten and handakuten), can safely be
> considered syllabaries.

Is "blort" your own word?

> Everything else, I leave to the gladiators on the floor of the
> Colosseum.

In NYC we had the Coliseum on Columbus Circle, and before it the RKO
Coliseum at 181st & Broadway, my first movie theater (I wonder why they
spelled it that way).
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...