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New Syllabry!

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Friday, October 29, 1999, 0:54
I've worked out a syllabry for Watakassi', it's rather an interesting
system.  In Old Watakassi', it was a typical syllabry.  There were 6
vowels, /i e a @ o u/ (written in that order).  There were 9 "basic"
consonants, /p t k q m n w l j/ with diacritics for voicing and for
fricatives (/h/ was written as /q/ + fricative).  There were ONLY CV

The syllable-structure for Old Watakassi' was CV(C), but the syllabry
did not distinguish CVC@ from CVC, so that kas@ta could be /kasta/ or
/kas@ta/.  However, two styles were later created to indicate that.  One
used C@ for C, and C@ written twice over itself for C@, so for instance
(use monowidth for this):
kas@ta = /kasta/ kas@ta = /kas@ta/

But another system existed that used CV written over C@ for CVC, thus
kata = /kasta/ kas@ta = /kas@ta/

(Of course, when two characters were written over each other, they were
written half-size)

Later, /q/ was lost, and the q-series has become the vowel series (that
is /qa/ became /a/).  The schwa-series was lost, turning those into pure
C characters (so, there are C, CV, and V characters), obviously the old
/q@/ was lost.  In addition, /e/ and /i/ merged, as did /u/ and /o/,
thus /ki/ could be written two ways, one with the old /ki/ and the other
the old /ke/.

Now, something interesting happened.  The two /i/-series and the two
/u/-series were split into /i/ and /i:/, and /u/ and /u:/ (so ti/tii are
distinguished by different characters).  Thus, there's a Ci-series, a
Cii-series, a Ca-series, a C-series, a Cu-series, and a Cuu-series.

There are, therefore, 53 characters.  In the old, 6 vowels * 9
consonants.  One (/q@/) completely lost.

There are also a lot of ligatures.  At present, I've worked out 57
ligatures, indicating geminates, by combining C and CV characters, i.e.,
_tta_ = t + ta, and also long a's, formed from Ca + a ligatures (taa =
ta + a), and ligatures of geminates + a, thus _ttaa_ = t + ta + a
(historically /t@taqa/), so 110 total.

Voicing and fricative diacritics were combined into a single diacritic
for voiced fricative.

I may work out ligatures for Cw, Cy, and Cl.

"Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many
ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia." --
Joseph Wood Krutch
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