--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Wordingham"
<richard.wordingham@...> wrote:
> I would argue that if there is only one method, it is better to
> provide the full set. It's probably better to be forced to look
> sophisticated than to be forced to look uneducated.

Michael and Richard,

if I may expand on this ...

Among the Cree in the 80's there were 2 distinct situations. In the
first case the script had fallen into disuse, except in the older
generation, and there were no published materials in that particular
dialect/language. Linguists from various institutions came,
phonemicized and standardized spelling, creating dictionaries,
translating the bible, creating fonts and a transliteration computer
application. Native speakers trained by linguists in the roman
orthogrphy of their lg. now keyboard syllabics to create primers and
school material. These people of the middle generation were taught
the roman orthography by linguists and access syllabics through
that. The younger generation are supposed to learn syllabics at
school but the new spelling is quite difficult.

In the second case, a different community, use of syllabics had been
maintained. There was an older bible translation, hymnbooks,
liturgy, newspapers, newsletters, and pamphlets. The older
generation still wrote in syllabics and there was a strong group in
the middle generation who produced syllabic text. High school
students were expected to write home once a week to their parents in
the north using syllabics but a nonstandardized spelling so this was
not difficult. This was ongoing. The middle generation, the most
active producers of syllabic text, had learned syllabics as children
or teenagers, some had university degrees in education.

This second group would not speak to linguists. They regarded
standardization and dictionaries as a sign of 'language death'. They
were deeply distrustful of any non-native involvemnent and some
would not teach syllabics to a non-native person.

The first group is visible on the internet, has created the Unicode
encoding and are creating curriculum materials in syllabics. This is
a case of script revival.

The second group is a case of script maintenance. The transmission
of knowledge of the script is from one generation to the next. Use
of the script has been continuous. Those who produce syllabic text
need continuity with traditional script writing. Fortunately they
have it in the syllabic keyboard, which actually keys in syllables.

If there are, as I would suspect, both of these situations among the
Vai, script maintenance and script revival, then why not syllable-
base input for the script maintenance group? Some kind of continuity
with past script use is necessary. Of course, I am not sure if this
group would have access to computers, but I think one should
consider that they might.

I would prefer to see that there has been provision for the use of
traditional script knowledge through electronic form, to enhance the
prestige of traditional script users, the oder generation, as well
as enable them to create electronic text, whether for email,
recording memoirs, etc.

Would it not be possible to create an interactive syllable chart in
java script of the 60 symbol set, with the auxiliary set in a
further menu. Then a mouse click could input a syllable. For this
kind of individual and noninstitutional use, speed is less important
than other considerations.