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Re: Tolkien's elfish script (was: Re: demuan identifiers

From:BP Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 1, 1999, 19:54
ho de Ioannes Haimatikos egraphe:

>Canadian Syllabics (also in 3.0) they're totally systematic: the vowel >is shown by rotating the glyph, and if there's no vowel, the glyph is >written as a superscript.
Sounds vaguely familiar to anyone who has acquainted Brahmi or Tibetan. Superscripting is somehow more logical than subscripting, since it is the bottommost glyph which kinda "holds" the vowel. Two questions, tho: (1) Which vowel is inherent in the form of the glyphs that is used as superscript? (2) Do there occur large stacks of glyphs as in Tibetan? (When Sanskrit is written in Tibetan script the stacks can get truly monstrous, as I krt s n y for _krItsnya_!) kai ho men Phabianos:
>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. >
Actually Tolkien devised and used both alphabetic and Abugida modes for Sindarin and English (even several alphabetic ones!). AFAIK there is no known example of alphabetic Quenya by Tolkien himself. Yours truly has however used an adaptation of the alphabetic Sindarin mode found in "The King's Letter" to cram some Quenya text into a very narrow space. I guess others, including JRRT, might have taken that expediency too. BTW there is one example of Abjad Tengwar: the _l-nd-l_ used as a monogram for _Elendil_. WRT Abjad scripts: I know of at least four more still in use beside Arabic and Hebrew, namely Syriac (two versions there), Samaritan, Mandaean and Pitman's shorthand(!) I don't know if Tifinagh is Abjad or alphabetic, nor if it is still in use, but being derived from Carthaginian Phoenician it is at least an Abjad candidate (altho late Carthaginian Phoenician wasn't itself Abjad: the dialect had lost the laryngeal and pharyngeal sounds and used those letters as vowels on the Greek model -- probably a conscious adaptation.) There is also at least one cursive form of Devanagari (Kaithi) that is Abjad, since no vowel diacritics are used. I don't know if there aren't any, or if they are just mostly left out. In principle I suspect the usual Devanagari ones could have been adopted. BTW: Sanskrit was and is written in several different Indic script, but is nowadays mostly *printed* in Devanagari. Only in the Tamil country was there a special Sanskrit script (Grantha) distinct from the one used for the vernacular. The first printed books in Sanskrit were printed in Grantha by the Jesuits. /BP B.Philip Jonsson <bpj@...> <melroch@...> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~__ Anant' avanaute quettalmar! \ \ __ ____ ____ _____________ ___ __ __ __ / / \ \/___ \\__ \ /___ _____/\ \\__ \\ \ \ \\ \ / / / / / / / \ / /Melroch\ \_/ // / / // / / / / /___/ /_ / /\ \ / /Melarocco\_ // /__/ // /__/ / /_________//_/ \_\/ /Eowine__ / / \___/\_\\___/\_\ I neer Pityancalimeo\ \_____/ /ar/ /_atar Mercasso naan ~~~~~~~~~Cuinondil~~~\_______/~~~\__/~~~Noolendur~~~~~~ || Lenda lenda pellalenda pellatellenda cuivie aiya! || "A coincidence, as we say in Middle-Earth" (JRR Tolkien)