Richard Wordingham wrote:
> --- In, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
> wrote:
> > suzmccarth wrote:
> > > 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.
> While this is true for Sanskrit, how true is it of the vocabulary
> that has not been (re-)introduced from Sanskrit? In Pali for
> example, the only medial clusters different to initial clusters that
> I can think of in un-Sanskritised Pali are the geminates and those of
> the form NC. The latter can be simplified by using niggahita (=
> anusvara). I think I read that geminated were degeminated in Middle
> Indic, so how bad is the mismatch in ordinary words in modern
> languages? The orthographic practice of using word-internal virama
> (sometimes 'implicit') is quite widespread - in the SEASite
> introduction to the Burmese script, for example, aksharas crossing
> phonetic syllable boundaries are seen as an optional(?) feature of
> the spelling of loanwords.
> Some languages do frequently write intervocalic -CC- in a single
> akshara, e.g. Khmer.
> Am I correct in thinking that Brahmi originally did not show
> geminates?

Brahmi was devised for Prakrits, not for Sanskrit, and closed syllables
are not common there; the virama was a later invention because there
were no consonant-final words.

Brahmi does have conjuncts, however; for what was possible in the
language, you'll have to consult a grammar of Middle Indic, and for what
is attested in the script, you can consult the charts in Dani's Indian
Palaeography and B├╝hler's Indian Paleography.

Meanwhile Masica's *Indo-Aryan Languages* has an excellent scripts
chapter and, of course, a description of the phonology.
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...