Classifying ambiguous writing systems

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qwed117
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by qwed117 » Thu 20 Jul 2017, 04:16

MoonRightRomantic wrote:
lsd wrote:My point of view: to use a baptist word, seach a dictionary the usual meaning in the language you want to use...
In english abjad is common... consonantary not...

If you want to use other word define it first and go on...
(or use an a priori (called philosophical) language where every word is transparent...

(as apriorist, I prefer consonantary...)
I would hardly call a Wikipedia article an indication that a given jargon is common English. Wikipedia is outright banned from being referenced in academic literature by all reputable academic institutions.

According to google trends, searches for "abjad" originate from India and Indonesia. This is probably because most keyboards use the Latin letters for input.
:roll:
And searches for "consonantary" come from people confused on the terminology in this thread.

(Also, abjad isn't a word outside of the linguistic realm)
Also probably committing this fallacy:
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Thu 20 Jul 2017, 14:19

qwed117 wrote: :roll:
And searches for "consonantary" come from people confused on the terminology in this thread.

(Also, abjad isn't a word outside of the linguistic realm)
"Consonantal alphabet" is the more common term, before spambots endlessly duplicated Wikipedia. "Abjad" has several meanings, like the Arabic alphabet, numerology based on the Arabic alphabet, and Peter T. Daniels' neologism for any consonantal alphabet. I will never adopt Daniels' terminology until he likewise decides that we should rename all syllabaries "katakana" and all logographies "hanzi" for consistency.
qwed117 wrote:Also probably committing this fallacy:
Image
I would agree, but there was no volume of searches in any countries except Indonesia, Malaysia and India. These countries have a high population of Muslims. It is preferable to read the Qu'ran in the original Arabic. I assume that is the reason.
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by lsd » Thu 20 Jul 2017, 17:26

WTF with PTD...
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by sangi39 » Thu 20 Jul 2017, 18:07

Just to step in reluctantly, I'd suggest ending this current line of discourse now. It's not going anywhere.

Everyone here knows what everyone else means when they say "abjad" (as with a number of terms, this word, as used in contemporary English, has both broad and specific meanings which have all been mentioned above) and where that word ultimately comes from, and since it's been defined, everyone else knows what MoonRightRomantic means when they say "consonantary" or "consonantal alphabet".

I'd recommend that rather than talking at and past each other, everyone takes some time away from this thread until we can get back to something resembling an actual conversation.
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by jimydog000 » Sun 13 Aug 2017, 13:00

.
Last edited by jimydog000 on Sun 13 Aug 2017, 13:10, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by jimydog000 » Sun 13 Aug 2017, 13:01

Moon Right does have a point, abjad is sometimes used for alphabet in arabic. buuut it is sometimes not. as in the ( [xD] Wikipedia) article here: https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A3%D9 ... 9%8A%D8%A9

Image

Also... AFAIK the word Consonantary does not exist in Arabic.

Isd is also wrong, Google search statistics do not form a consensus on the 'correct' word to use.

Image

edit: Oh, and getting general information from Wikipedia is perfectly acceptable in higher education.
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by sangi39 » Mon 14 Aug 2017, 14:25

Ahem...
sangi39 wrote:Just to step in reluctantly, I'd suggest ending this current line of discourse now. It's not going anywhere.

Everyone here knows what everyone else means when they say "abjad" (as with a number of terms, this word, as used in contemporary English, has both broad and specific meanings which have all been mentioned above) and where that word ultimately comes from, and since it's been defined, everyone else knows what MoonRightRomantic means when they say "consonantary" or "consonantal alphabet".

I'd recommend that rather than talking at and past each other, everyone takes some time away from this thread until we can get back to something resembling an actual conversation.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Tue 26 Sep 2017, 14:42

Back to the original topic...

Wikipedia has an unfair amount of influence over what audiences learn, despite its notorious unreliability. The articles are often written in obtuse and confusing manner. I have seen academic papers that are easier to read. Omniglot is superior in this regard, since it explains what the five commonly accepted writing systems are in simple English.

These are (with various synonyms):
  • Abjads, or consonant alphabets*
  • Alphabets, or phonemic alphabets*
  • Syllabic alphabets*, alphasyllabaries or abugidas
  • Syllabaries
  • Semanto-phonetic writing systems
(*)While typically treated as separate writing systems, the three types of alphabets share common descent from Egyptian Hieratic and carry a similar functional load. Indeed, phonemic and syllabic alphabets are functionally identical. Henceforth, my usage of the word "alphabet" without a qualifier refers collectively to all three.

Some writing systems do not fit neatly into these categories. For example, academic Hye K. Pae labeled hangul an "alphabetic syllabary" and a "syllabic alphabet". Heidi Swank streamlines the definition of alphasyllabary to put an end to arguments regarding corner cases. Some scripts may sit somewhere between a syllabary and an alphabet, and Wikipedia lumps these into a nebulous "semi-syllabary" category regardless of origin and development.

Most such corner cases may be easily folded into another category by taking into account their origin and development:
  • Old Persian and Bamum, for example, are defective syllabaries. They stopped making new graphemes part way through and filled the gaps by using digraphs. I do not consider this a distinct writing system.
  • Pahawh Hmong, using Swank's definition, is an alphasyllabary which uses vowels as the independent phone rather than consonants. It is not a syllabary because none of its graphemes represent the body or rime of a syllable.
  • Meroitic, according to one of the two common interpretations, is a phonemic alphabet with an implicit vowel following consonants. This does not make it an alphasyllabary.
  • Zhuyin and Khom divides graphemes into onsets and rimes, but this is just the reverse of syllabaries which have graphemes for bodies and codas. If we want to be consistent, these would be labeled syllabary.
The Paleohispanic scripts are the only ones which seem to qualify as a distinct writing system, or more accurately a mix of alphabetic and syllabic graphemes. Unlike Old Persian or Bamum, this arrangement is not random: only plosives occur as syllabograms. This is believed to be because the Paleohispanic languages did not allow plosives to begin consonant clusters.

What I find fascinating is that alphabets and syllabaries arise independently from semanto-phonetic systems, but there are only a couple cases of an alphabet or syllabary transitioning into the other. Of course I might have missed something, but I do not recall any such transition being complete.

Some conscripts on Omniglot defy conventions found in real writing systems. Two such conscripts are Aziana and Chumauni. Aziana has graphemes for vowels: consonants are always appended to vowels, except special coda consonants, but the vowel grapheme is always rotated 90° when used in a CV syllable; if such a consonant appears without a following vowel, a null vowel diacritic is appended. In Chumauni, graphemes for vowels and consonants are always superimposed in CV syllables; a lone vowel or consonant is always appended with a null consonant or vowel, respectively.

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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by lsd » Tue 26 Sep 2017, 16:59

The advantage of all classifications is the interest it creates in its interstices...
Not for be filled, but perhaps just to be observed...
(Without classifications, anywhere would be fascinating...)
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Wed 27 Sep 2017, 17:12

lsd wrote:The advantage of all classifications is the interest it creates in its interstices...
Not for be filled, but perhaps just to be observed...
(Without classifications, anywhere would be fascinating...)
I am interested in intersections. I spend a lot of time surveying the conscripts on Omniglot and inputting them into a spreadsheet to track certain traits. While distinguishing between an alphabet and a syllabary is easy, outside of ideal models the distinctions between consonant, phonemic, and syllabic alphabets may become fuzzy. Indeed, many of the conscripts I surveyed could not distinguish between the three.

Paraphrasing Swank's definition, the difference between a phonemic alphabet and a syllabic alphabet is that in the latter one set of phones is dependent on another set. In Devanagari and Hangul the independent phones are consonants and the dependent are vowels; in Pahawh Hmong the opposite is true. In a number of conscripts I surveyed this rule is not followed consistently, making those alphabets difficult to label strictly phonemic or strictly syllabic. In addition, a number of phonemic alphabets may stack letters to save horizontal space without employing explicit dependent phones.
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Thu 12 Oct 2017, 14:33

I've been doing more research and my understanding has changed and grown immensely.

According to page 59 of The First Writing: Script Invention as History and Process, edited by Stephen D. Houston, the "alphasyllabary" (syllabic alphabet, alphabetic syllabary, abugida, abzuda, what have you) was independently invented four times: Old Persian, South Asian, Meroitic, and Ethiopian. (I previously did not consider Meroitic an alphasyllabary, but after further reading I have changed my mind. It does fit by Swank's definition and forms a set with Pahawh Hmong and Fraser alphabet.)

According to "Typological observations on the Indic script group" by Richard Salomon, the divisions between writing systems are somewhat arbitrary. For example, the use of mater lectionis and pointing in a consonantary (consonant alphabet, abjadiyah, abjad, what have you) makes it similar to an alphasyllabary. Hence, I mentally sorted both under the umbrella of "alphabet." (Incidentally, I found a number of such "modified consonantaries" on Omniglot.)

Old Persian is a good example of the messy nature of reality. It is typically classified as an alphasyllabary but, according to the Encyclopædia Iranica entry “Cuneiform script”, it is a defective syllabary. It was originally developed as a syllabary, but partway through the scribes stopped making new syllabograms and filled in the gaps using digraphs. This same strategy has reappeared in most syllabaries invented within the last century, such as Iban and Bamum, despite being unrelated and typically devised by illiterates.

The classification of syllabaries is another point of contention. According to "Testing the learnability of writing systems" by S. Inkelas, Johnson et al, there are three basic types of syllabaries: mora, onset-rime and demisyllable. A moraic system employs graphemes for body and nucleus (CV, V), such as Mayan glyphs and Japanese kana, and may use special finals or echo vowels to indicate closed syllables or extra-syllabic /s/. A demisyllabic system employs graphemes for body, nucleus and rime (CV, V, VC), such as Akkadian cuneiform, and uses echo vowels to indicate closed syllables. The onset-rime system employs graphemes for onsets and rimes (C, V, VC), such as Taiwanese bopomofo.

So-called authorities (i.e. Wikipedia) do not consider the onset-rime system a syllabary due to a bias in favor of moraic syllabaries and devise neologisms like "semi-syllabary" instead. The same goes for defective syllabaries that use digraphs, as in Old Persian, Iban, Bamum, etc, which are inconsistently sorted. Since the latter typically rely on a haphazard compromise between moraic, onset-rime and demisyllabic systems, they may incidentally resemble alphabets.
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Re: Classifying ambiguous writing systems

Post by lsd » Sat 14 Oct 2017, 11:33

Classifications are tools that allow us to understand phenomena by distinguishing them to a certain extent, so that we do not have to deal with them any more... for working on a higher level...

The problem is that they become blinders... difficult to abandon, even when they are no longer adapted to what we watch on upper problems...

That is why I avoid words in my conlang and I use writing system with ambiguous classification...
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