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Varang Kshiti script description (was Re: NATLANG: Chinese parts of speech (or lack thereof))

From:Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 10, 2004, 17:13
On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 17:43:51 +0200, Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>

> Quoting Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>: > >> On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 14:59:33 +0200, Andreas Johansson <andjo@...> >> wrote: >> >> > "Defective" abugida? How does that work? >> >> The unmarked vowel may be any of "a", "e" or "o", even though the script >> has characters for all three vowels, as well as the other vowels needed >> for the underlying language (called "Ho"). For all I know, that might be >> structurally sound according to the needs of the Ho language, but it's >> not >> the normal behaviour in abugidas, and is an underspecification rather >> than >> an overspecification, so I called it defective. > > Is there a virama? If not, it sounds more like a abjad were some vowel > marks are > mandatory and some not. Is there a zero consonant?
There doesn't appear to be a virama, neither is there a zero consonant. They are not vowel marks, they are vowel letters. With further reflection, it seems kinda like an alphabet where certain vowels may be omitted, although the description of it as using inherent vowels made me shy away from using the term "alphabet" originally. Knowing the underlying language would probably help one decide whether what I call defectiveness was a rational design choice. Let me try and take useful quotes from my source (Daniels & Bright): <blockquote> Varang Kshiti is written from left to right, with the vowel characters in the order they are spoken; the complications of vowel placement and variant forms found in Brahmi-derived scripts are eschewed. Lako Bodra [inventor of the script] has created certain extra characters -- there is no call in Ho for {s-underdot} distinct from |s| -- apparently because he wants an archaic, Sanskrit-like cast to Varang Kshiti. The letter |h| after a vowel indicates vowel lengthening. The sequence |hb| represents |w|, whose interpretation ([v]?,[w]?) is unclear. There is a special symbol for the mystical syllable |om.|. Varang Kshiti has ten vowel characters: simple vowels, mixed vowels, and ligatures. The four simple vowels are |a|, |i|, |u|, and |m.| (nasalisation, cf. Hindi candrabindu and anusvara), plus the inherent vowel as in Devanagari and other Indic scripts. The inherent vowel is not always to be pronounced [a], but sometimes [o] or [e]. </blockquote> There. That's basically the information from which I was drawing my conclusions. You may now draw your own... Oh, and I speculatively tried Google, just now, not expecting to find much, and actually uncovered quite a treasure trove. You may find more information there than is in Daniels & Bright, but looking at a few random links, it doesn't look like you'll find *much* more information. Paul