suzmccarth wrote:
> --- In, "John H. Jenkins" <jenkins@...> wrote:
> >
> > The term was, as I understand it, inherited from pre-Unicode encoding
> > systems and understood at the time to be technically incorrect.
> I had heard that it was a legacy term, fine, but that is not what
> the Unicode book says - it says 'widely understood.' It gives the
> impression that the Unicode authors think that this is a good name
> for the writing system *type* not just the label or name of the
> characters.
> Anyway I am technically concerned about 'featural syllabary'. I can
> see how it historically came to be used for Hangul, although maybe
> not the best, but whatever reason it was suitable for Hangul does
> not extend to Syllabics.
> I am planning to write an article about Syllabics and I have to deal
> with this issue - what should I say and who should I quote, what is
> the rational for this term in the Unicode book?
> Sometimes writing systems seem to be labeled by an academically
> supported term for their type, as in abugida for Devanagari, but
> then Ethiopic is labeled a 'featural syllabary' for 'presentation
> and encoding' reasons.

Good grief. "Abudiga" is a Ge`ez and Amharic word, and it only got
applied to Indic faute de mieux, because Ethiopic and Indic are the same

> It seems that each writing system should have three descriptors,
> first its type, which is established in peer reviewed academic
> literature; then its encoding style which is technical and historic,
> practical or political; and finally its traditional presentation.
> Sometiems all three are the same but often only 2 out of 3. The
> Unicode book ought to be clear on this and not mix them up to make
> encoding style appear as if it is consistent with writing system
> type, which is often not so.
> I could recommend Robert Bringhurst's book, The Solid Form of
> Language, 2004, for its writing system types.
> Bringhurst's types are
> 1. logosyllabic, (I prefer morphosyllabic, but I am in a minority
> here. )
> 2. syllabic,
> 3. alphasyllabic, which includes two groups 3a Indic and 3b
> Ethiopic, Hangul and Syllabics,

Sure. He's a crony of Bill Bright's.

> 4 consonantal
> 5 alphabetic.
> So Hangul and Syllabics are called alphasyllabic. He says "In
> alphasyllabic systems, syllables are recognized as units but are
> represented by symbols that acknowledge an awareness of underlying
> consonants and vowels." I don't necessarily recommend this *as is*

Does it agree with Bill's varying characterizations?

> but as a starting point. If abugida is a type then I think Ethiopic
> is going to have to be an abugida, with the explanation that its
> traditional presentation and encoding don't match the type. Tamil
> also is traditionally presented as a syllabary.

But abugida and alphasyllabary ARE NOT names for two different types.
They are ALTERNATIVE NAMES, one of them fitting the pattern of the other
type-names, the other misleading.

> How about 'analytic syllabaries' or 'systematic syllabaries'.

They are NOT syllabaries and MUST NOT be named with any term that has
"syllabary" in it.

> The term 'featural' should be reserved for Bell's Visible Speech.

And Gregg. And Pitman. And Hangul.

> Well, I know you don't want my advice, just give me the rational for
> Syllabics being a 'featural syllabary' - I do need something I can
> quote.

{*** Phrases removed by moderator ***}

Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...