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Re: Tolkien's elfish script (was: Re: demuan identifiers re-visited)

From:Fabian <rhialto@...>
Date:Monday, August 30, 1999, 22:05
> One classification I have seen is: > Abjad - consonantal script e.g. Arabic, Hebrew > vowels not marked or marked with optional diacritics > Abugida - Indic and Ethiopic scripts > vowel included as part of composable characters > a vowel included in the base form > Syllabary - Japanese kana > symbols for syllables that are not composable > Alphabet - Latin, Hangul, &c. > Separate independant symbols for both consonants > and vowels > Mixed - Japanese and Korean > Other- English :)
Thanks! Abjad and Abugida were the words I was looking for. I remember a usenet post listing these, but with the following changes: 1) English is alphabetic. Just because it isn't particularly phonetic doesn't make it any less alphabetic. 2) While the components of Hangul may be regarded as being alphabetic, the composite Hangul themselves can be regareded as a syllabary. 3) The sixth category was "ideographic", and covered hanzi, hieroglyphics and Mayan symbols. Tengwar could be regarded as alphabetic when used in English or Sindarin mode, Abugida when used in Quenya mode. I had thought they could be considered Abjad, but those vowel diacritics aren't really optional, except for the "a" diacritic, and not always for that one - it can only be omitted when teh meaning remains obvious. Then again, if Tolkien wasn't so bothered about ensuring the meaning remains obvious, he could have made it an Abjad script. Certainly, there is plenty of ambiguity in Arabic when the vowels are omitted. Tengwar/Quenya can be regarded as a modified Abjad, where teh vowel diacritics are compulsory. I've decided I'm going to use Tengwar as the main written form for Demuan. It just *feels* right, and the background for the universe where the Demuans reside can certainly explain it. Tolkien had many a lengthy conversation with Demuans (who are nothing to do with elves). --- Fabian If a flying horse ye see, mock ye not if it stays up not.