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Re: Syllabaries [was Re: t-shirt]

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Thursday, September 28, 2000, 3:55
Matthew Kehrt wrote:
> > Eviendadil has a pseudo-syllabic alphabet. Each syllable is one > character, but the characters are constructed out of symbols for > sounds.
In other words, just like the Korean alphabet? Or am I misunderstanding what you mean? Watakassí uses an interesting variant of a syllabry. There are characters for V, CV, and CLV (that is, consonant-L-vowel). The ClV are descended from ligatures of the old Cë (ë = /@/) with the LV characters. Now, in addition, there are various diacritics which go underneath or on top of the characters. On top of the character is the fricative mark. This makes, for instance, <pa> into <fa>. Underneath the characters are marks for stress, vowel length and for coda/gemination. The coda marks are for -f, -s, -v, -z and -n. They are historically derived from the old pë, të, bë, dë, and në. The mark for vowel length is historically derived from kë (as most long vowels are descended from Vkë -> Vk -> Vx -> V:). The mark for gemination is derived from the old rë character. The interesting thing about that is that it goes on the *preceding* character. Thus, _katta_ would be indicated by _ka_ with gemination diacritic and _ta_. There's also a mark for L by itself. Now, for the origin: The syllabry was invented by an Elder. She borrowed the fricative mark from the syllabry of the Sanle Language, which was the dominant language of the area. All of the characters were CV, with the vowels i, e, a, ë, o, u, and consonants p, t, k, q, b, d, g, m, n, r. /h/ was indicated by /k/ with fricative. Now, Common Kassí had CV(C) syllables. For C1VC2 syllables, the convention that won out was using C2ë underneath C1V, i.e, _kan_ would be _ka_ on top of _në_. For /j/ and /w/, hi/hu above hV was used. Thus, _ya_ would be hi above ha. This convention was eventually lost. Later, when /q/ was lost, the qV series was used for V. Also, when the vowel system simplified, symbols were dropped. CLV is derived from CëLV, thus, when those merged into a single syllable, Cë on top of LV were used for CLV. Gemination is derived from rC, thus the use of the gemination mark, which is derived from underput rë. Today, there is no productive "stacking" of characters, so that /ja/ is just _i_ followed by _a_ (as in my new orthography, see relevant post). The individual L is derived from _rë_, but used as, originally, its own syllable. That is, modern _kalta_ is from _karëta_, while _karta_ became _katta_. There is, however, an pseudo-alphabetic component. Not just in the use of solitary L, but also in the use of TI, etc (in referring to the script, the following convention shall be used - capitals are the characters themselves, period indicates division between characters, and lower-case is diacritics, with * for gemination). /tSa/ is rendered by TI.A, thus, TI is often used simply to indicate /tS/ (which was, originally, underlyingly /tj/). There is, however, no way to distinguish /tj/ from /tS/ (in romanization, t'i and ti). Writing is morphophonemic. For instance, the prefix uaf- is always U.Af, and the plural suffix -i is always written as I, even in words like uafifkálii (books), which is U.Af.If.KÁ.LI.I (while a purely phonetic transcription would be U.A.FIf.KÁ.LIi. There's a constant debate over what the proper balance is. For instance, some write the comparative infix -tu-/-p- as TU always. There is a productive rule that turns /tw/ into /p/, so that in a case like ziikú/zipikú (beautiful, more beautiful), it would be written as ZI.I.KÚ and ZI.TU.I.KÚ, while the more common orthography has ZIi.KÚ/ZI.PI.KÚ. Also, many will write things like SU*.KLÚ.I for the plural of SU.KLÚ (foot). However, geminates can only exist between vowels, thus _sukklúi_ would be pronounced as _suklúi_, and is often written that way (SU.KLÚ.I) - I use that convention. As you may've gathered by now, there is no one accepted orthographic convention. The word lalásta (bird) has a slightly irregular plural - laflássi, historically it was laflásti (the -a in the singular represents original -ë, preserved due to the -st- (la lástë/laf lásti [-i always replaced -ë] -> lalásta/laflásti -> lalásta/laflássi), the plural is written as LAf.LÁs.SI, preserving the first syllable in the singular stem (LA).LÁs.TA. Phonetically, of course, it should be LA.FLÁ*.SI.
> "The difference between physicists and mathematicians is that > physicists get to play with toys." -Mr. Casebolt, my Physics teacher
I like that quote. :-) -- Dievas dave dantis; Dievas duos duonos God gave teeth; God will give bread - Lithuanian proverb ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTailor