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2414Re: [ANE-2] The abagadary vagary

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  • B.E.Colless
    Sep 2, 2006
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      > From: "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
      > Reply-To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 04:15:49 -0700 (PDT)
      > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] The abagadary vagary
      > "Abjad" is NOT an equivalent of "alphabet."

      Yes, Peter, you are right, of course. The word exists to distinguish the
      Semitic-type script in which each character represesents a consonant.

      So it should be called a "'bgd", pronounced with no vowels (like "Ms").

      No, that's me being "silly" again (cognate with German "selig", blessed,
      mystically blissful, in the seventh heaven of delight, away with the ...
      angels, and with my Syriac mystic, John of Dalyatha).

      Even though 'bgd is written without vowels, that does not mean it is
      pronounced without vowels; the reader supplies the vowels in texts written
      in such scripts. (And I pronounce "Ms" the same as "Miss").

      The special meaning of "alphabet" is the Greco-Roman type, which includes
      vowel-signs as well as consonant-letters.

      But I also like to call this a "vocalic" alphabet, as opposed to a
      "consonantal" alphabet. We should be allowed to talk about the Hebrew
      alphabet, and the Syriac alphabet, when we are not being technical.

      And an abgad is also a "consonantary", not a "syllabary" (in which each
      character is a "syllabogram", representing a particular syllable, as in the
      Creto-Cyprian scripts).

      And an abugida is a simplified syllabary (Sanskrit and Ethiopic, both of
      which developed from the Semitic abgad/consonantary). You could say that the
      Hebrew and Arabic scriptures, with vowel-marks added to the consonants, have
      such a system of writing. (If we don't classify them that way, what would be
      the correct designation, in a single word?)

      The ancient Mesopotamian (Sumero-Akkadian) and Canaanite ("Byblos
      pseudo-hieroglyphic") scripts were logosyllabaries (the signs stand for
      words or syllables).

      The Egyptian hieroglyphic system is a special case: a "logoconsonantary"
      (normally no vowels are indicated).

      And eventually it will be common knowledge that the Semitic "proto-alphabet"
      was not simply a 'abgad/ consonantary, but a logoconsonantary, a very
      simplified or reduced imitation of the Egyptian system.

      And so, an "abagadary" is a "table" (a paradigm?) of the Semitic "alphabet",
      at any stage of its development. And thus I decree.

      For an example of such a table of the proto-alphabet, found in Thebes, with
      the letters not in any particular order, go to:

      ("The alphabet when young")

      (I would like to get a good copy of it into our ANE-2 photo-album)

      And please note that Emile Puech has informed me that he drew attention to
      it "in a lecture at the first congress of Phenician and Punic Studies, in
      Rome in 1979".

      And do we need a word "abugidary"?

      Brian Colless

      > At its first appearance in print I note that Alan Corré suggested the
      > pronunciation "abgad" (JAOS 110: 730 n. 7).
      > --
      > Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
      > ----- Original Message ----
      > From: B.E.Colless <briancolless@...>
      > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:34:19 PM
      > Subject: [ANE-2] The abagadary vagary
      > Yes, it is my own neologism. We have previously discussed Peter Daniels's
      > "abjad" for "alphabet" (I said I would prefer to say "ab(a)gad"). And
      > "abagadary" is made acrophonic-ly from 'Alp Bayt Gaml Dalt.
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