--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, Michael Everson <everson@...> wrote:
> At 03:43 +0000 2005-09-22, suzmccarth wrote:
> >Table 6-1 Ethiopic, Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics and Hangul
> >as 'Featural Syllabaries' - is that intended to stand?
> If you object and have alternate text to propose, state your
> objection and propose alternate text.

Never mind, on careful reading I see that there was a deliberate
decision to classify Ethiopic as a syllabary and not an abugida
because of presentation issues. Although this does not reflect
greater constistancy since Tamil was also traditionally presented as
a syllabary but is still classified as an abugida. I would have no
trouble with this if only there were some consistancy.

Unicode standard states that three different approaches were taken
for encoding abugidas. It might have been easier to say that
Ethiopic is also an abugida, and abugidas are encoded in four
different ways. Anyway I see that there was a deliberate preference
for not calling Ethiopic an abugida.

What does the 'featural' in a 'featural syllabary' stand for? How
about compositional or systematically composed?

> >And is there some reason why for CAS, 'the relationship of sound
> >graphic parts is less systematic' than for Hangul?
> If you have a point to make, make it.

My point is simply that no explanation is given for this statement -
it just out there hanging as if it meant something. It is pretty
hard to get more systematic than CAS.

I also find this statement,

"Those who first approach the Unicode Standard without a background
in writing systems may find the huge list of scripts bewilderingly

Do you have any idea what it feels like to approach the Unicode
Standard *with* a background in writing systems?

Not to mention the everlasting suggestion that 'ideographic' is a
term that is 'widely understood', rather than 'widely
misunderstood'. If 'ideographic' is a legacy term that could be
explicitly explained and one could learn to live with it.

I realize DeFrancis is considered obscure for some reason unknown to
me, since I think his books are great.

One can even read many selections of his books online - it doesn't
cost a penny.


However, I take it 'morphosyllabic' is not 'satisfactory'. I can
only assume that this is because it does not sufficiently befuddle
the reader.

Is it true that for Chinese, "the units of the writing system are
used primarily to write words and/or morphemes of words" - surely
there is a primary relationship between the graphs and the sound
patterns at the syllable level - no?

I apologize for my frustration, you know that I am in general very
apreciative of Unicode. I have tried to abstain from examining
definitions and labels for over a year now, but necessity calls.