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USAGE: Abugidas

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 28, 2004, 14:43
Andreas Johansson scripsit:

> I've, BTW, always been somewhat mystified that someone ever came on the > idea of having graphemic zero indicate /a/ (or /O/ and so on depending > on language) rather than phonemic zero. In a language like Sanskrit > it may perhaps save typing, but it's certainly the last idea I would > have stumbled on. People are weird.
Well, Tengwar (as used to spell Quenya, anyhow) is an abjad with mandatory vowel marks, but the step from that to an abugida is small, as JRRT himself indicates rather offhandedly in a footnote: In Quenya in which _a_ was very frequent, its vowel sign was often omitted altogether. Thus for _calma_ 'lamp' _clm_ could be written. This would naturally be read as _calma_, since _cl_ was not in Quenya a possible initial combination, and _m_ never occurred finally. A possible reading was _calama_, but no such word existed. And indeed we see that the Ethiopic and Brahmi abugidas descend from an abjad. Canadian Syllabics is also an abugida, where the vowel signs are rotations and the virama (that's the word someone was looking for as a replacement for "vowel killer") is superscripting. -- One art / There is John Cowan <jcowan@...> No less / No more All things / To do With sparks / Galore -- Douglas Hofstadter


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Joe <joe@...>
Tim May <butsuri@...>
Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>