i18n@... wrote:
> Ph. D. wrote:
> > Barry skribis:
> > >
> > > Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> > > >
> > > > ? Since the vast majority of humans have never been literate, it would
> > > > be quite difficult for a writing system to have any but the slightest
> > > > effect on its language.
> > >
> > > Uh, that doesn't make sense on me. I don't see where the conclusion
> > > follows form the condition.
> > >
> > > For example, that Japanese is spoken in a manner that each syllable is
> > > distinct and of the same length, it seems likely that a writing system
> > > would evolve that reflects that. Other systems are possible of course,
> > > and Japanese sure has tried to paste several of them on top of the
> > > syllabic systems, but still - why wouldn't a language's writing system -
> > > either designed or evolved, take into account what the speakers notice
> > > as distinct and important about how they perceive their language, such
> > > as a limited number of syllables?
> > >
> > > Other languages may need to account for tonal differences....
> > >
> > > So why *wouldn't* a writing system that postdates the spoken one reflect
> > > the spoken language?
> >
> >
> > I think there's a misunderstanding here. Mr Daniels did not say that a
> > writing system does not reflect the spoken language. He said that the
> > spoken language does not change to reflect the writing system. For
> > example, suppose the speakers of Trotzil adopted a writing system
> > where the symbol 'C' was used for both /k/ and /g/. Since almost all
> > speakers of Trotzil remain illiterate, we would not find that all
> > occurances
> > of /k/ had changed to /g/ in the spoken language, even though they
> > are represented by the same symbol in the writing.
> But extending your example, we might assume that the literate Trotzil
> speakers may be in a position to influence the spoken language, and are
> more likely to survive in the long run.

??????????????? So anthropology is another area you know nothing about.

> So, perhaps among literate speakers (who rarely deign speak to the
> others) may, over time, lose the distinction between /k/ and /g/, and,
> as other circumstances changed in the society, there were less and less
> illiterate speakers keeping the old distinction (or maybe the illiterate
> ones learned that to "pass", they should adopt the changes).
> And in the long run, the sounds of the spoken language would be changed.
> All hypothetical.of course, and I can think of lots of other ways it
> could happen. I am sure others can too.

Perhaps you should consult those who know what actually _does_ happen,
rather than speculating.

> So, what I was asking, was, has it happened? Why or why not?
> Instead, I inadvertently jumped into Peter Daniel's world of black and


> white, but surely there is some gray here as some other correspondent's
> have already begun to hint at, isn't there?
> Do writing system classifications truly exist apart from the spoken
> languages the represent, and their classification systems?

Yes. Otherwise we'd have "isolating, agglutinating, inflecting, and
polysynthetic" scripts.

Or OV and VO scripts.

> Example: Suppose the English alphabet was introduced to Japan instead of
> Chinese pre-Heian era. Would the letters have evolved into kana (albeit
> of a different shape) that represent the same syllables in the same
> arrangement? Or would the language have evolved to have a richer set of
> sounds that are present in English? Or some of both?

When has a syllabary ever evolved from an alphabet?

When has the introduction of writing ever brought more phonemes into a
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...