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Hi, and a Tengwar Mode

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  • draqonfayir@juno.com
    Hello! I just joined the group, so i thought i d introduce myself and ask for your-all s opinions on something that some of you have possibly already seen, if
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 31, 2002
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      Hello!

      I just joined the group, so i thought i'd introduce myself and ask for
      your-all's opinions on something that some of you have possibly already
      seen, if you're on Conlang or Elfling lists. I didn't even know that
      this one exists until the moderator of the elfLING list said that
      elfSCRIPT would be a better forum for what i just sent to elfling. So
      now i'm sending it here.

      My real name is Stephen, but i generally go by my nickname "Steg" online.
      I read Lord of the Rings around 4th grade, and later on read the
      Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the first few volumes of the History
      of Middle-Earth. I play on the Tolkien-themed online RPG ElendorMUSH,
      and participate in the "Conlang" listserv about constructed languages as
      well as a few of its spinoffs and related lists. (Conculture,
      Westasianconlang, Conlangrelay, etc.)

      Recently, while looking around on the web for various Tolkienic things, i
      became interested in the Tengwar writing system. I saw that a few people
      have come up with Tengwar modes for various natlangs and conlangs beyond
      that which Prof. Tolkien had made himself, so i decided that i would try
      and make one myself, for Hebrew. Since the consonant-letter +
      vowel-diacritic systems are similar anyway, i wanted to come up with a
      Tengwar mode for writing Hebrew that would work as close as possible to
      how the Hebrew alphabet itself works, while still being Tengwar.

      This is what i came up with:

      (the Hebrew phonology is more or less Classical Tiberian, since that's
      where its own vowel-diacritic system came from)

      I based my Hebrew mode mostly off of the classical Quenya mode:

      first of all, like in the Hebrew alphabet and the Quenya mode of Tengwar,
      combinations of vowels and consonants are read CV, not VC.

      like in Quenya, columns I, II, and III are used for dental, labial, and
      velar consonants respectively. Since Hebrew doesn't have labiovelars,
      i'm using IV for pharyngeals.
      The rows are more different, however:
      row 1: voiceless stops (same as Quenya, Sindarin, English, probably all
      Tengwar modes)
      row 2: voiced stops (same as Sindarin and English)
      row 3: voiceless fricatives (but not all of them)
      row 4: emphatic stops
      row 5: nasals (common to most Tengwar modes)
      row 6: voiced fricatives (based on the use in Quenya of one of these for
      /v/)

      This system is phonemic, so the letter written doesn't change based on
      "beged-kefet" allophones - the /b/ [b] in |bayit| and the /b/ [v]/[B] in
      |uvayit| are written with the same "voiced stop" letter.

      So far, the primary series of Hebrew-mode Tengwar look like:
      /t p k -/
      /d b g -/
      /s - - H/ ([H] = voiceless pharyngeal fricative, hhet)
      /t. - k. -/ ([.] = emphatic marker)
      /n m - -/
      /z - - 3/ ([3] = voiced pharyngeal fricative/approximant, `ayin)

      But, this doesn't take care of all of the consonants, so some of the
      'additional' letters are used:
      The Quenya |trilled R| is used for /r/, and |l| is used for /l/.
      Since /s/ is taken care of above, |s| is used for /S/, and |ss| is used
      for /s./.
      To distinguish |Sh| /S/ (shin) from |Sh| /s/ < /K/ (sin), an "S-curl" can
      be added to |s|.
      The different versions of /S/ and /s./ are used depending on where you're
      putting diacritics on the letter.
      /h/ is represented by |H-hyarmen|, not by |H-halla|.
      /j/ and /v/ (</w/) are represented by the letters used for /-j/ and /-w/
      diphthongs in most Tengwar modes.
      And /?/ is represented by the "short carrier" letter.

      Vowels are a bit more complicated, though, since Hebrew has a lot more
      vowels than Quenya does.
      I decided to use:
      |superscript A with subscript Y| for /O:/ (qomatz)
      |A| for /a/ (patahh)
      |doubled E| for /e:/ (tzeireh)
      |E| for /E/ (segol)
      |I with following Y-letter| for /i:/ (hhiriq-malei)
      |I| for /i/ (hhiriq-hhaseir)
      |O with following W/V-letter| for /o:/ (hholam-malei)
      |O| for /o/ (hholam-hhaseir)
      |superscript A with subscript Y| for /O/ (qomatz-qatan)
      (if you want to distinguish |qomatz| from |qomatz-qatan|, a distinction
      made sometimes (but rarely) in Hebrew writing, you can replace the
      subscript Y with a subscript O)
      |U with following W/V-letter| for /u:/ (shuruq)
      |U| for /u/ (qubutz)
      |vowelless marker| for /@/ and vowellessness (shva)
      |v.m. with A| for ultrashort-/a/ (hhataf-patahh)
      |v.m. with E| for ultrashort-/E/ (hhataf-segol)
      |v.m. with O| for ultrashort-/O/ (hhataf-qomatz)

      The |dagesh| marking gemination and stop allophones of /bgdkpt/ is
      represented by the Tengwar gemination tilde.

      I made a chart at:
      http://bingweb.binghamton.edu/~bh11744/stuff/tengwar.gif

      I tried to come up with a mode for writing Arabic, but it has too many
      emphatics and they were making trouble ;-) . An Arabic tengwar mode
      would probably need to use the 'extended stem' forms in order to have
      enough of a chart to fit all the consonants in.

      A mode for my conlang Rokbeigalmki (since it's set in Arda and has at
      least two fictional speakers who also know Tengwar) will hopefully follow
      soon. Unfortunately, Rokbeigalmki has at least as many vowels as Hebrew,
      and they're not as neatly arranged in 'small'-'big' pairs. A
      Rokbeigalmki mode for Tengwar would probably end up using a mix of
      Beleriandic vowel-letters and Classical vowel-diacritics, which probably
      wouldn't look very balanced.

      Hopefully there's at least one someone here familiar with both Tengwar
      modes and Hebrew who could comment on it. Does it fit the spirit of the
      canonical Tengwar modes? Does it seem logically-arranged?

      Thanks, and 'mae govannen, mellyn!', (if i spelled that right)


      -Stephen (Steg)
      "there is darkness all around us;
      but if darkness *is*, and the darkness is of the forest,
      then the darkness must be good."
      ~ song of the BaMbuti in troubled times

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    • xeeniseit <xeeniseit@yahoo.com.ar>
      Hi Steg First of all, I have to confess that I don t speak any Hebrew. But I still think my theoretical knowledge I have about it and my tengwar knowledge
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 4, 2003
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        Hi Steg

        First of all, I have to confess that I don't speak any Hebrew. But I still think my
        theoretical knowledge I have about it and my tengwar knowledge allow me to
        make some remarks about your mode of writing Hebrew.

        As I see it, you've chosen to orientate your Hebrew mode by traditional
        Hebrew spelling (by Classical Tiberian). That's a good choice, because it
        can't be discussed a lot. But personally, I prefer modes that are rather
        orientated by the actual Standard Pronounciation.

        Along with this goes my critic on the representation you've chosen for long
        vowels: tehta + approximant. This is unusual in tehtar modes (though it's
        attested in "full writing" modes!) - the same representation as in traditional
        Hebrew orthography. This allows you to drop all tehtar - as in traditional
        Hebrew spelling. But there's no tehtar mode where all tehtar can be dropped,
        so tehtar and Hebrew vowel diacritics are not really the same. I think it's more
        tengwar-like (=it fits better "the spirit of canonical tengwar [tehtar] modes") to
        represent long vowels using a long carrier, but your way of representing them
        of course works very well.

        Another remark on your vowel representations: Isn't it possible to have no
        sign at all for shva?

        But now I stop critisizing your choice of orientation by traditional spelling; now
        I come into "harder" critics, i.e. critics about your way of choosing tengwar
        sound values (if they're "logically-arranged"):

        I don't like your choice of anto-tyelle (row 4) for emphatic stops. I'd prefer anto-
        tyelle to be used for voiced fricatives. Of course, in Quenya it's not used like
        this. But Quenya has only one voiced fricative and has alternative uses for all
        four tengwar of anto-tyelle, while Hebrew has (at least in traditional spelling)
        two voiced fricatives, but only (in the mode you propose) two alternative uses.
        In Quenya, it's thus in a ratio of 4 to 1 (or even more, because Quenya has a
        parallel use of ando-tyelle/row 2), but in your mode only of 2 to 2, which does
        not justify the alternative use (as I see it). But I'd neither suggest oore-tyelle/
        row 6 to be used for emphatic stops; rather the tyelle of tengwar with the very
        extended stem (but see below).

        Anyway, one of the sounds you represent with anto-tyelle, qoph, could as well
        be consedered as the voiceless stop of quesse-teema (column IV). I know it's
        not pharyngal, but you could consider quesse-teema to be represent the most
        back counterparts of calma-teema.

        You could even give up the distinction between calma-teema and quesse-
        teema (as long as qoph isn't counted as belonging to the latter), considering
        for example calma-teema as a general back consonant column.

        Now about what alternative tengwa I'd use for emphatic /t./: You've inspired
        me for a proposal to write Arabic with tengwar. What do you think about the
        following?:

        t - k q
        d b j -
        th f ch h.
        dh - gh 3
        n m - -
        - w y ?

        r - l -
        s s z z
        h - - -

        (Exept for the "most back" consonants, I've used the transcriptions Tolkien's
        used for his languages.) As for the consonant sounds which are not yet
        covered by this chart: the emphatic dentals and /sh/, I'd propose to consider
        them "dentalized" versions of other consonants, i.e. instead of considering the
        emphatic dentals as pharyngalized dentals, I propose them to be considered
        as dentalized pharyngals. The reason for that is that it's easier to have a sign
        for "dentalization" than one for "pharyngalisation": I propose the s-hook (which
        comes from dental silme) to be considered as dentalization sign. There is thus
        the following chart of dentalized consonants (i.e. of tengwar + s-hook):

        - - - t.
        - - - d.
        - - sh s.
        - - - z.
        - - - -
        - - - -

        (The representation of vowels isn't problematic -at least as for Classical
        Arabic-: I propose the simple point, the a-tehta and the right-curl as
        representations of i, a and u; and if long, they're to be put on a long carrier. I
        propose to put them on the preceding tengwa, because there are no words
        which begin with a vowel, but there are words which end with one.)

        yours
        xeeniseit
      • draqonfayir@juno.com
        On Sat, 04 Jan 2003 11:27:39 -0000 xeeniseit ... - Have you seen Yehuda Ronen s mode? You can see it at:
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 4, 2003
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          On Sat, 04 Jan 2003 11:27:39 -0000 "xeeniseit <xeeniseit@...>"
          <xeeniseit@...> writes:
          > As I see it, you've chosen to orientate your Hebrew mode by
          > traditional
          > Hebrew spelling (by Classical Tiberian). That's a good choice,
          > because it
          > can't be discussed a lot. But personally, I prefer modes that are
          > rather orientated by the actual Standard Pronounciation.
          -

          Have you seen Yehuda Ronen's mode?
          You can see it at:
          http://samurajdata.se/~cj/psview.php3?id=92c48ce5&page=1&size=full
          His website itself is at:
          http://my.ort.org.il/tolkien/gandalf/index.html (but it's in Hebrew)
          I hope your "theoretical knowledge" of Hebrew is enough to understand his
          alphabet chart...
          The things he has that aren't just letters:
          16, 19, 20, 24, 26, 28, 34, etc.: marked "unused" (lo'-beshimush)
          23: |yud| "consonant"
          The last two lines in the first chart, reading Right-to-Left, are:
          "no", "of", "and", |et| (direct object marker)
          "the", "of the", "and the", |et ha-| (direct object marker + 'the')
          35: the |yud| as a vowel-letter
          36: |patahh genuva|, the /a/ inserted before pharyngeals
          He also, for some reason i don't know, gives two letters for /r/ - the
          first for syllable-finally and the second for syllable-initially.

          > Along with this goes my critic on the representation you've chosen
          > for long
          > vowels: tehta + approximant. This is unusual in tehtar modes (though
          > it's
          > attested in "full writing" modes!) - the same representation as in
          > traditional
          > Hebrew orthography. This allows you to drop all tehtar - as in
          > traditional
          > Hebrew spelling. But there's no tehtar mode where all tehtar can be
          > dropped,
          > so tehtar and Hebrew vowel diacritics are not really the same. I
          > think it's more
          > tengwar-like (=it fits better "the spirit of canonical tengwar
          > [tehtar] modes") to
          > represent long vowels using a long carrier, but your way of
          > representing them of course works very well.
          -


          I guess i'm so used to Hebrew and Arabic that i didn't really understand
          the idea that a consonant-letter + vowel-diacritic system could consiter
          the vowels as important as the consonants. Or maybe i just wanted the
          Tengwar-Hebrew mode to be as similar as possible to Hebrew orthography
          itself.

          > Another remark on your vowel representations: Isn't it possible to
          > have no sign at all for shva?
          -

          I originally had that, until i saw that Tengwar itself had a 'no vowel'
          sign, so i decided to use it - which then made deciding on a form for the
          hhatafim/ultrashort vowels much easier.

          > I don't like your choice of anto-tyelle (row 4) for emphatic stops.
          > I'd prefer anto-
          > tyelle to be used for voiced fricatives. Of course, in Quenya it's
          > not used like
          > this. But Quenya has only one voiced fricative and has alternative
          > uses for all
          > four tengwar of anto-tyelle, while Hebrew has (at least in
          > traditional spelling)
          > two voiced fricatives, but only (in the mode you propose) two
          > alternative uses.
          > In Quenya, it's thus in a ratio of 4 to 1 (or even more, because
          > Quenya has a
          > parallel use of ando-tyelle/row 2), but in your mode only of 2 to 2,
          > which does
          > not justify the alternative use (as I see it). But I'd neither
          > suggest oore-tyelle/
          > row 6 to be used for emphatic stops; rather the tyelle of tengwar
          > with the very extended stem (but see below).
          -

          According to this idea, of moving row 6 up into row 4, why would you then
          not want to just move the old row 4 down into row 6? What else would you
          use the oore-tyelle for? |vav| and |yud|?
          Actually, i could see a rational for having the emphatic stops be row
          6... if rows 1&2, and 3&4 are connected in being voiced/voiceless
          versions of each other, if the emphatic stops were in oore-tyelle we
          could say that rows 5&6 were for stops with *secondary articulations* -
          in row 5's case, it would be nasality, and row 6 would be emphaticness.
          So how come you don't want to use oore-tyelle for that?

          > Now about what alternative tengwa I'd use for emphatic /t./: You've
          > inspired
          > me for a proposal to write Arabic with tengwar. What do you think
          > about the following?:
          > t - k q
          > d b j -
          > th f ch h.
          > dh - gh 3
          > n m - -
          > - w y ?

          > r - l -
          > s s z z
          > h - - -
          > (Exept for the "most back" consonants, I've used the transcriptions
          > Tolkien's
          > used for his languages.) As for the consonant sounds which are not
          > yet
          > covered by this chart: the emphatic dentals and /sh/, I'd propose to
          > consider
          > them "dentalized" versions of other consonants, i.e. instead of
          > considering the
          > emphatic dentals as pharyngalized dentals, I propose them to be
          > considered
          > as dentalized pharyngals. The reason for that is that it's easier to
          > have a sign
          > for "dentalization" than one for "pharyngalisation": I propose the
          > s-hook (which
          > comes from dental silme) to be considered as dentalization sign.
          > There is thus
          > the following chart of dentalized consonants (i.e. of tengwar +
          > s-hook):
          > - - - t.
          > - - - d.
          > - - sh s.
          > - - - z.
          > - - - -
          > - - - -
          -

          I like this! It makes a lot of sense, especially the re-analysis of the
          emphatics in order to give them places on the chart. It looks like it
          works well with Arabic, since it has all of /t. d. s. z./ to fill a
          column with. However, i think to use a similar solution for Hebrew would
          be a bit too much, when there are still empty places on the chart.

          > (The representation of vowels isn't problematic -at least as for
          > Classical
          > Arabic-: I propose the simple point, the a-tehta and the right-curl
          > as
          > representations of i, a and u; and if long, they're to be put on a
          > long carrier. I
          > propose to put them on the preceding tengwa, because there are no
          > words
          > which begin with a vowel, but there are words which end with one.)
          -

          This was my idea, too, although thinking in the transliterating style i
          used when designing my Hebrew mode i couldn't decide whether to have long
          I and U use the letters for /j/ and /w/ instead of long carriers.


          -Stephen (Steg)
          "Beornings speak with a Lithuanian accent?!"

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        • xeeniseit <xeeniseit@yahoo.com.ar>
          ... ... which is a good reason, because it keeps the mode easy even for non- linguists. But perhaps your understanding of the tengwar-tehtar system is closer
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 5, 2003
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            Steg teithant:
            > I guess i'm so used to Hebrew and Arabic that i didn't really understand
            > the idea that a consonant-letter + vowel-diacritic system could consiter
            > the vowels as important as the consonants. Or maybe i just wanted the
            > Tengwar-Hebrew mode to be as similar as possible to Hebrew orthography
            > itself.

            ... which is a good reason, because it keeps the mode easy even for non-
            linguists. But perhaps your understanding of the tengwar-tehtar system is
            closer to the original one of the Elven lore masters, and it's just because of
            Roman spelling influence that I think different.

            > > Another remark on your vowel representations: Isn't it possible to
            > > have no sign at all for shva?
            >
            > I originally had that, until i saw that Tengwar itself had a 'no vowel'
            > sign, so i decided to use it - which then made deciding on a form for the
            > hhatafim/ultrashort vowels much easier.

            What's your reason to consider the subposed single dot a 'no vowel' sign?

            > According to this idea, of moving row 6 up into row 4, why would you then
            > not want to just move the old row 4 down into row 6? What else would you
            > use the oore-tyelle for? |vav| and |yud|?

            Exactly. Two reasons for that: It's the most common assignations vor the /w/
            and for the /y/ sound, and it allows you to abandon two of the "additional"
            signs, yanta and uure (I think we always have to prefer the primary signs). Of
            course, this wouldn't help anything if we'd have to pay for the gain of these
            two new assignations (|vav| and |yud|) with the loss of two old assignations (|
            t.ad| and |qof|). But that's not the case, because I think |qof| can perfectly be
            expressed by quesse. But how to express t.ad?

            > Actually, i could see a rational for having the emphatic stops be row
            > 6... if rows 1&2, and 3&4 are connected in being voiced/voiceless
            > versions of each other, if the emphatic stops were in oore-tyelle we
            > could say that rows 5&6 were for stops with *secondary articulations* -
            > in row 5's case, it would be nasality, and row 6 would be emphaticness.
            > So how come you don't want to use oore-tyelle for that?

            Sounds good to me, but I'm very used to have oore-tyelle for the weakest
            consonants. I like best the possibility of expressing t.ad with an extended stem
            tengwa, because these are ment to express consonantal stop combinations
            and pharyngalisation is something alike.

            Have you thought about the possibility of expressing all zayn, vav, yud and
            3ayn in the same row?

            suilaid
            xeeniseit
          • xeeniseit <xeeniseit@yahoo.com.ar>
            ... v/, stuck in a row all by itself. :-P Why did you use the doubled S letter for |z|, instead of a T + s-curl combination like |x|? About the /v/ all
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 5, 2003
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              Teithant Steg:
              > > This talk about a Hebrew tengwar mode has finally led me to make the
              > > German tengwar mode I had always planned to make one day...
              > > http://catharsis.netpeople.ch/langmaking/DTM/dtm.html
              > > Comments? (It's in German, I'm afraid... ;-)
              >
              > I don't know German, but the system looks good! Although i feel bad for |w| /
              v/, stuck in a row all by itself. :-P Why did you use the 'doubled S' letter for |z|,
              instead of a 'T + s-curl' combination like |x|?

              About the /v/ all allone I don't feel bad, because there's also "dh" and "zh" in
              the same row which occur in loan words.

              The idea of representing the Umlaute with yanta combinations is good, but
              what I don't like that you use the same yanta in diphtongs. I'd suggest to make
              a clearer difference between diphtongs and Umlauten, and the easiest way I
              see to do so is the following: Don't use yanta but for the three Umlaute
              (considering it kind of a "-e" sign), use vala and anna for the diphtongs, don't
              use uure at all. If yanta is used as a diphtong sign, all the three signs you
              suggest for the Umlaute can be misread as diphtongs: ai as in "Schweiz", oi
              as in "deutsch" and ui as in "pfui".

              I'll never agree on the reason you give for inverting the tehtar-tengwar order.
              I'll try to translate what you've written in order to justify it:

              "You can either place the vowels on the preceding (CV) or on the following
              consonant (VC). The Tolkienian modes for English and Sindarin do the latter
              because in these languages the majority of the words end in a consonant.
              Moreover, in the Enlish mode a point is placed under the last consonant to
              indicate a mute -e at word ending.

              Also in German, most words end in a consonant or in an -e, but for esthetical
              reasons, I have decided to use a CV mode. On one hand, you often get
              troubles with the subposed point for -e when other symbols (e.g. the
              doubbling sign) already fill the place under the consonant; on the other hand,
              the VC notation originates an un-beautiful amount of vocal signs at the end of
              the written word, instead of distributing them equally on the whole writing."

              Many people will never agree on these esthetical reasons, because Tolkien's
              said very explicitly that in a language as German, the tehtar-tengwar order
              has to be VC.

              The same happens with your suggestion of vilya for the h-sound (and
              anyway, when using VC tehtar-tengwar order, your argument disappears).

              And as for the z-sign, i totally agree with Steg. The tengwa aare mustn't be
              used for the /ts/-sound of the German letter z.

              But except for these few objections, your mode is a very good intent of
              representing German with tehtar. What I really like about it: I's very easy! Most
              suggestions for German modes I've seen are much more complicated,
              because most of them don't follow traditional spelling but pronunciation, i.e.
              they ban doubled consonants but they demand a consistent representation of
              long vowels.

              suilaid
              xeeniseit
            • draqonfayir@juno.com
              On Sun, 05 Jan 2003 15:09:41 -0000 xeeniseit ... - http://hem.passagen.se/mansb/at/teng_quenya.htm Section The Vowel A , and Figure
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 5, 2003
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                On Sun, 05 Jan 2003 15:09:41 -0000 "xeeniseit <xeeniseit@...>"
                <xeeniseit@...> writes:
                > > > Another remark on your vowel representations: Isn't it possible
                > > > to have no sign at all for shva?

                > > I originally had that, until i saw that Tengwar itself had a 'no
                > > vowel'
                > > sign, so i decided to use it - which then made deciding on a form
                > > for the
                > > hhatafim/ultrashort vowels much easier.

                > What's your reason to consider the subposed single dot a 'no vowel'
                > sign?
                -

                http://hem.passagen.se/mansb/at/teng_quenya.htm
                Section "The Vowel A", and Figure 4 (Known ways to write 'calma')

                > > According to this idea, of moving row 6 up into row 4, why would
                > you then
                > > not want to just move the old row 4 down into row 6? What else
                > would you
                > > use the oore-tyelle for? |vav| and |yud|?

                > Exactly. Two reasons for that: It's the most common assignations vor
                > the /w/
                > and for the /y/ sound, and it allows you to abandon two of the
                > "additional"
                > signs, yanta and uure (I think we always have to prefer the primary
                > signs). Of
                > course, this wouldn't help anything if we'd have to pay for the gain
                > of these
                > two new assignations (|vav| and |yud|) with the loss of two old
                > assignations (|
                > t.ad| and |qof|). But that's not the case, because I think |qof| can
                > perfectly be
                > expressed by quesse. But how to express t.ad?
                -

                So you'd put |quf| in row 1 column IV as quesse, and then leave |t.et| as
                the only 'extended' stem? I assume it'd have one open rightwards bow,
                i.e. same as /t/ except with an extended stem?

                > Have you thought about the possibility of expressing all zayn, vav,
                > yud and 3ayn in the same row?
                -

                Would that mean moving |vav| and |yud| into row 6 with |zayin| and
                |`ayin|, or moving them all into row 4 to replace the emphatics and have
                row 4 be the 'voiced fricatives & approximants' row, with |vav| as ampa
                and |yud| as anca? Hmm... if that were done, harma/aha right above the
                new |yud| could be used for |shin|, since it's sort of palatal like
                |yud|. And then |s.adi| could be silme instead of being aze/esse?


                -Stephen (Steg)
                "Beornings speak with a Lithuanian accent?!"

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