Nova Scriptio [was: Novus, was; capitolisation]
|From:||Barbara Barrett <barbarabarrett@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, May 30, 2004, 11:34|
> > Barbara Blithered;
> > Each letter has an inherent vowel (which follows in the initial/medial
> > and precedes for the final), the vowel is always unread unless*activated*
> > by a diacritic,
> John C Jotted;
> I don't follow this: if the inherent vowel is not pronounced unless a
> diacritic is given, how can it be said to be inherent? The essence of an
> abugida (like Indic, Ethiopic, or Canadian Syllabics) is that the
> inherent vowel is pronounced *unless* suppressed by a virama or overridden
> by a vowel mark.
Thank you for pointing this out. I hadn't realized that the semantic
placed upon inherent in modern linguistic usage would cause comprehension
Ha, "Inherent" means "intrinsic: existing as an inseperable part", it's got
nothing to do with pronunciation. Linguists have just hijacked the word and
applied it in a sense more limited than its original meaning.
In the sense of pronunciation even Indian "inherent" vowels are not
"inseparable" as they may be negated or changed to another vowel by
diacritics and eclipsed in conjunct consonants.
However, In common usage "inherent" is often used to mean "That which
inevitably follows and therefore needs not be said". In Nova Scriptio the
is there, but one doesn't use it unless it is needed.
The Other way of looking at it is that the diacritic activates the letter's
a syllabic, just as capitols do in modern tXt messaging; eg;
Ur Tm 1! (your team won!)
Y R U late? (Why are you late?)
R U going 2 C the B& 2nite? (are you going to see the band tonight?)
What 4? (what 4).
For an English speaker "ee" is an inherent part of /t/ - it just isn't used
the letter which represents that sound is called by name.
This is the way the devisors of the script thought, and thus the diacritic
known as the "Nome".
> It sounds like you have an abjad with mandatory vowel marks, like Tengwar.
No. There are no mandatory vowel marks. Only the inherent vowel (whichever
it is) is unwritten and then only if activated by a "Nome".
> Note that there has never been a writing system in which vowel marks
> were attached to the consonants that followed them in order of speaking,
I Know ;-) Cool huh? But that isn't really the way it works. The letter's
vowel precedes it because it's a final letter - it can not be followed by an
Also in NS the Nome isn't a vowel mark; a vowel mark would represent a
vowel, and one needs a different mark for each vowel. In NS the Nome
activates different vowels for initial/medial and final forms of the same
phoneme, and to avoid confusion with similar sounds, different vowels again
for "close" phonemes such as /t/ and /t[/ (dentalised). Again; another way
looking at it is the diacritic instructs the reader to use the letter's NS
*name*. Thus while /t/ initial/medial is called /ti/ , /t/ final is called
/It/. Initial/medial /t[/ is called /et[/ while final is called /t[a/.
NB To my knowledge has there ever been a writing system where voicing was
controlled by diacritics - anyone know different? I'd love to find
> > The New system was Base 12, the angular numerals were based on Runes and
> > Ogham (one corner for each unit; thus one had one corner, two twocorners,
> > three three corners, and so on). Cursive forms developed for writingnumbers
> > within texts (more visually elegant!) and these became used as syllabics
> > within the system; This resulted in all languages using the same namesfor
> > numbers.
> That's hard to swallow, that so many and so diverse peoples could adopt
> not only a new and unheard-of base for numbers, but to actually abandon
> their number names entire, including such fundamentals as "one" (which is
> also used as the indefinite article in languages that have one).
I said that very badly: thanks for pointing it out. What the above should
that the names of numbers in NS were fixed regardless of the Lang1 of the
As for the Base, well had it been the general population perhaps, but we're
here with a writing system exclusive to the monastically educated and higher
ecclesiastical circles, an elite. Everyday counting by common folk was
uneffected. Perhaps I should have been clearer and said that everyone used
the same names for NS numbers when used as syllabics written in NS, just as
they all used the same names for NS letters, just as one would never dream
of insisting that Greek Sigma was "really" Ess or Cee even if you used those
letters to spell an English word!
You see the Church had encountered place-value mathematics during the
conversion of western India, and naturally their Arabic adaptations in the
resistance to Jihad, and recognized the system's usefulness.
The problem was the symbols used to write it - the Pope forbid the use of
"satanic" symbols (this happened in real life: see Georges Ifrah's
of Numbers") because those numbers appeared in heathen texts.
St Colm's task then was to re-invent place value numeration for Christian
use. He needed different symbols that bore no resemblance to Indian/Arabic
numbers, hence the use of Runes and Ogham - and he increased that
metaphoric distance by using base 12 - a base already in everyday use for
counting livestock and weights and measures in his day (and was therefore
far from unheard of). This found a resonance in Christian thought through
the 12 months of God's year, the 12 hours of God's day, the 12 apostles;
The lack of place value arithmetic held up the technological and scientific
development in Europe for centuries. For my con culture it was imperative
that Europe adopted place value arithmetic in the 1st millennium - the above
was how I rationalized it..
> > The age of exploration, the discovery of the New World, and the openingof
> > the Orient, naturally led to missionaries being sent to these new lands
> > (although it was a brave Male missionary who'd risk Central and South
> > America as Male Europeans had no immunity to the native illness known in
> > the Old World as the Red Plague). It was many centuries later that itwas
> > discovered that the virus could not survive in blood with even thesmallest
> > trace of estrogen - an a remarkably similar compound occurred naturally
> > in a mainstaple of the jungle diet - the Giant Yam.
> If males didn't have estrogen in their bloodstreams they'd be dead.
> Estrogens are fundamental to mammalian life.
You're not the only one to point this out, and my thanks for that. It's a
In my con culture the native civilizations need to remain and develop into
modernized nations. To do that the conquistadors had to be kept out, yet the
natives had to have access to European learning and knowledge. Thus the
no-males got in but the female priests (as well, if not better educated than
any Jesuit) did.
I'm now working with someone off-list to create a more plausible scenario
this to be possible.
My thanks for a thought provoking reply