--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
> suzmccarth wrote:
> >
> > --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
> > >wrote:
> > > suzmccarth wrote:
> >
> > > > but I still want the similarities which syllabaries share to
be made
> > > > transparent.
> > >
> > > It has recently been clarified and necessarily restricted.
> >
> > Could you elaborate on this? Many writers are content to qualify a
> > syllabary and say something like a 'pure' syllabary or a 'core'
> > syllabary. What is this clarification you refer to?
> >
> > How is it essential to an understanding of writing systems, etc.
> > Why is the definition necessarily restricted rather than

I believe PTD's reasoning goes as follows:

1. Classificatory terms should reflect stages in evolutionary

2. One development process is abjad > abugida > neosyllabary (though
he may not accept that the last stage has actually happened).

3. Another development process is abjad > alphabet.

4. Syllabaries do not lead to abjads.

5. Syllabaries develop from logographic systems. (The terms may need
some correction here, but I think most will get my meaning).

Because of principle (1), he does not like to classify 'contrived'
systems (I forget his term) in which elements of different systems
are combined. The prototypical examples of contrived systems are
Korean and, in the majority opinion, Cree.

I don't known how PTD classifies the Egyptian system and Sumero-
Akkadian cuneiform systems. I'm not sure that they are particularly
similar to any other systems, though in the phonetic parts the
Egyptian system is abjad-like and the Sumero-Akkadian system is

It makes a nonsense of PTD's scheme to call an abugida or Korean a
syllabary; I believe that is why he regards it as 'necessary' to
restrict the meaning of the term. (An alternative would be to find a
more precise name for what he regards as a syllabary.)