----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
Date: Thursday, July 22, 2004 7:06 am
Subject: Re: How about a typology for input methods

> Young-Key Kim-Renaud wrote:

> > As I said before, Korean may be written in syllable blocks, but
> > it is NOT "non-linear." There is a clear and unique order of the
> > alphabetic letters in those syllable blocks both in writing and
> > reading. The letters are not put into syllable blocks randomly as
> > a bundle! That is why han'gul is neither a syllabary nor an
> > alphasyllabary, but simply an alphabet.
> Or, as Jim McCawley put it, simultaneously alphabetic, syllabic, and
> featural. Because it's a "sophisticated grammatogeny," like Cree it's
> simply outside the classification.
> --
> Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

I am not sure what you mean "outside the classification." I hate sounding like a boken record, but Jim and you are correct only to the extent that han'gul is "syllabic" orthographically speaking, and "featural" in its design principles. Typologically, han'gul is simply an alphabet. Otherwise, it would not have been such a simple system: imagine, for example, if han'gul were a syllabary, it would be having more than 10,000 possible syllable shapes (for the number of possible Korean syllables estimated by Sam Martin)!

The discovery of the phonemic unit was directly responsible for the invention of the efficient Korean writing system. It is only all the more remarkable in that the other linguistic units such as phonetic features and syllables are accommodated in han'gul, but these do not contribute to making it a different system than an alphabetic one.

Young-Key Kim-Renaud