suzmccarth wrote:
> --- In, "suzmccarth" <suzmccarth@...> wrote:
> >
> > --- In, "Richard Wordingham"
> > <richard.wordingham@...> wrote:
> >
> > > Given all these issues, I wonder whether it does make sense to think
> > > of Thai as an alphasyllabary.
> > Is Thai taught as a syllabary - with a syllable chart? This may
> > sound a bit mechanistic, but in the scripts that I am thinking of -
> > Cree, Tamil, Hangul, Amharic, the script is usually taught as a
> > syllabary.
> Sproat finds it relevant that these scripts are taught as
> syllabaries and have the syllable as their organizing principle.
> "Indic scripts are particularly interesting in this regard sincethey
> are clearly segmental in their abstract design, and yet the
> (orthographic) syllable plays an important role; hence the commonly
> used term alphasyllabary (Bright, 1996a). More importantly, perhaps,

Sproat is a liar, or has a _very_ peculiar sense of "commonly used." The
term appears _nowhere_ outside Bright's own writings and in the articles
he edited.

> they are frequently taught as syllabaries (Karanth, 2003)14
> something that would surely affect literate speakers' conscious
> phonological awareness.
> The strongest position on this issue is perhaps the one taken by
> Faber(Faber, 1992). Faber explicitly argues that phonemic
> segmentation is an epiphenomenon due to alphabetic writing (page
> 111): investigations of language use suggest that many
> speakers do not divide words into phonological segments
> unless they have received explicit instruction in such segmentation
> comparable to that involved in teaching an alphabetic
> writing system."

I wonder why everyone quotes Alice and no one quotes me saying exactly
the same thing a few pages earlier.

I suspect it's because she had the preprint-machine of Haskins Lab
available to disseminate her article during the for years between the
conference and the book publication.

(The book was reviewed in *Language* by the person whose paper was
scheduled precisely opposite mine at the conference, and he may have
been displeased that no one attended his presentation; my article is not
mentioned -- just as Eric Schiller's paper, on chess notation, was
scheduled precisely opposite Ed Finegan's, and I was one of IIRC 3
people who went to Eric's. The only other review of the book that I know
about is by the late Ignatius Mattingly, Alice's colleague at Haskins.)

> However, there are other considerations aside from the pedagogical.
> Another important factor is how people classify their own system.
> Indic scripts are generally called aksharas, While this may have
> originally had a meaning like 'a' to 'z' or 'a' to 'ksha', it is

Do you have any evidence for this "interpretation" of the word? The word
meant 'syllable' long before it was used for the writing system. What's
the Indo-European etymology?

> now generally accepted that an akshara is a syllable. So this is
> the feature that defines the script type for its users.
> The akshara connotes wholeness I believe. Since the syllable can be
> pronounced, it can be matched up to the visible syllable.

An akshara comprises all the C's in up to a CCCCCV sequence, and all
those C's are not part of the same syllable.

> Representation of speech by the visible syllable is perceived to be
> less remote than representation of speech by an alphabetic
> sequence. The relationship is between the smallest audible unit of
> speech which can be produced in isolation and the symbol which
> represents it.
> In this case the cultural understanding of the relationship between
> speech and writing is altered. FOr the Cree they often talked about
> the syllabic script as "the language for the Indian people the same
> as whites have to learn their language." There is a sense of
> semantic identity between script and language. Bennett and Berry
> 1987.

That's not exactly peculiar to Cree.

Did you not know that each Aramaic-speaking nation, that each nation
that received missionaries from the Eastern church, that each region of
India, employed its own distinctive script?
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...