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Re: C.A.S. ref.

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  • Peter T. Daniels
    ... More phonemic makes no sense. If every consonant phoneme had a row, and every vowel phoneme had a column (or a column plus a diacritic), there was no
    Message 1 of 15 , May 4, 2005
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      suzmccarth wrote:
      >
      > --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Muke Tever" <muke@f...> wrote:
      > > Nicholas Bodley <nbodley@s...> wrote:
      > I'm far from qualified to comment on its accuracy and
      > > > quality.
      > > >
      > > > <http://www.answers.com/topic/canadian-aboriginal-syllabics>
      > >
      > > It's just a Wikipedia mirror. The original page is:
      > > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Aboriginal_Syllabics
      >
      > It pretty much reflects what I know. Quite detailed. Under 'current
      > usgae' there is an description of what I am refering to.
      >
      > "In the past, government policy towards syllabics has varied from
      > indifference to open hostility. Until quite recently, government
      > policy in Canada openly undermined native languages and church
      > organisations were often the only organised bodies using syllabics.
      > Later, as governments became more accommodating of native languages
      > and in some cases even encouraged their use, it was widely believed
      > that moving to a Roman alphabet writing scheme was better both for
      > linguistic reasons and to reduce the cost of supporting alternative
      > writing schemes."
      >
      > There were 'linguistic reasons' for prefering an alphabet. An
      > alphabet was thought to be more phonemic? After all there was lots
      > of tech support for syllabics throughout its history.

      "More phonemic" makes no sense. If every consonant phoneme had a row,
      and every vowel phoneme had a column (or a column plus a diacritic),
      there was no "additional" phonemicness to be had.

      (If tone was to be notated, diacritics would need to be added whether
      syllabics or alphabet.)

      > Maybe it was because Bloomfield thought of writing as subordinate to
      > or a reflection of speech, not an independent system of its won.

      Then wouldn't this attitude lead a newly devised writing system to be as
      faithful a representation of speech as possible, i.e. (for that era)
      perfectly phonemic? That's certainly the goal of missionary linguists
      devising what Smalley called "practical orthographies."

      > For Bloomfield writing was 'merely a way of recording language by
      > means of visible marks' . I am sure that in the first half of this
      > century linguists believed that a phonemic orthography, and by that
      > they usually meant alphabetic, was best.

      Considering that no orthography has ever deliberately been
      "non-phonemic," that looks like a pretty good guess.
      --
      Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
    • Richard Wordingham
      ... whether ... Not necessarily. Nushu appears to be a phonetic syllabary, but I have not heard that it uses diacritics for the tone distinctions. There ought
      Message 2 of 15 , May 6, 2005
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        --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...>
        wrote:

        > (If tone was to be notated, diacritics would need to be added
        whether
        > syllabics or alphabet.)

        Not necessarily. Nushu appears to be a phonetic syllabary, but I
        have not heard that it uses diacritics for the tone distinctions.

        There ought to be a language in which the tone contrast is solely
        marked in the initial consonant - tonal Mon-Khmer languages would be
        an obvious place to look. (Tone is generally a recent development in
        Mon-Khmer languages, and can carry the now generally lost distinction
        between voiced and voiceless initials, e.g. some dialects of Khmu.)
        Most Tai scripts use a combination of consonant and diacritic for the
        tone.

        Do the initial consonants mark a 3-way tone distinction in any Tai
        language or dialect? <hñ> v. <y> v. <ñ> would be possible for a Lao
        dialect that had, like Siamese, undergone the 3-way merger of /j/, /?
        j/ and /ñ/. The Thai digraph <'y> (or <?y> if you prefer) no longer
        occurs in the right environments to justify citing the U Thong
        dialect or a Southern Thai dialect, and I don't there there is a 3-
        way contrast (*not* supplemented by a tone mark) in the area where
        the Lanna Thai script may legitimately be used.

        Richard.
      • Richard Wordingham
        ... Some of the Roman alphabet-based syllabaries , e.g. that of Potawatomi, deliberately drop the phonation contrast! Or are you denying these systems the
        Message 3 of 15 , May 6, 2005
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          --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...> wrote:

          > Considering that no orthography has ever deliberately been
          > "non-phonemic," that looks like a pretty good guess.

          Some of the Roman alphabet-based 'syllabaries', e.g. that of
          Potawatomi, deliberately drop the phonation contrast! Or are you
          denying these systems the status of 'orthographies'?

          Philippine orthographies relegate glottal stops to the pronunciations
          shown in dictionaries. Malay <e> (two distinct vowels) and final <k>
          also spring to mind, though <k> may be an example of a language having
          two co-existing spelling systems - native and loanword.

          As to the Royal Thai General System of Transcription,...

          Richard.
        • Peter T. Daniels
          ... Believe it or not, there are languages in which voice is not phonemic. Is this one of them? ... I don t, of course, know what you re talking about, but if
          Message 4 of 15 , May 6, 2005
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            Richard Wordingham wrote:
            >
            > --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...> wrote:
            >
            > > Considering that no orthography has ever deliberately been
            > > "non-phonemic," that looks like a pretty good guess.
            >
            > Some of the Roman alphabet-based 'syllabaries', e.g. that of
            > Potawatomi, deliberately drop the phonation contrast! Or are you
            > denying these systems the status of 'orthographies'?

            Believe it or not, there are languages in which voice is not phonemic.

            Is this one of them?

            > Philippine orthographies relegate glottal stops to the pronunciations
            > shown in dictionaries. Malay <e> (two distinct vowels) and final <k>
            > also spring to mind, though <k> may be an example of a language having
            > two co-existing spelling systems - native and loanword.
            >
            > As to the Royal Thai General System of Transcription,...

            I don't, of course, know what you're talking about, but if you're
            suggesting that /'/ is a phoneme unrepresented in the orthography, is it
            predictable from the phonotactics?
            --
            Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
          • Peter T. Daniels
            ... What is Nushu? Is that a Chinese name for Yi? Why would being a phonetic syllabary lead you to expect tone distinctions to be written? If it is Yi,
            Message 5 of 15 , May 6, 2005
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              Richard Wordingham wrote:
              >
              > --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...>
              > wrote:
              >
              > > (If tone was to be notated, diacritics would need to be added
              > whether
              > > syllabics or alphabet.)
              >
              > Not necessarily. Nushu appears to be a phonetic syllabary, but I
              > have not heard that it uses diacritics for the tone distinctions.

              What is Nushu? Is that a Chinese name for Yi?

              Why would being a "phonetic syllabary" lead you to expect tone
              distinctions to be written?

              If it is Yi, that's a syllabary including tone that's only a few decades
              old, hence a sophisticated grammatogeny, hence not interesting. Its 819
              characters are cut down and regularized from thousands of logosyllabic
              characters.

              > There ought to be a language in which the tone contrast is solely
              > marked in the initial consonant - tonal Mon-Khmer languages would be
              > an obvious place to look. (Tone is generally a recent development in
              > Mon-Khmer languages, and can carry the now generally lost distinction
              > between voiced and voiceless initials, e.g. some dialects of Khmu.)
              > Most Tai scripts use a combination of consonant and diacritic for the
              > tone.

              Why "ought" there to be? How many local languages have inherited writing
              systems?

              Smalley urged people to create Thai-based, not roman-based, scripts for
              Tai languages, so his last book is an obvious place to look.

              > Do the initial consonants mark a 3-way tone distinction in any Tai
              > language or dialect? <hñ> v. <y> v. <ñ> would be possible for a Lao
              > dialect that had, like Siamese, undergone the 3-way merger of /j/, /?
              > j/ and /ñ/. The Thai digraph <'y> (or <?y> if you prefer) no longer
              > occurs in the right environments to justify citing the U Thong
              > dialect or a Southern Thai dialect, and I don't there there is a 3-
              > way contrast (*not* supplemented by a tone mark) in the area where
              > the Lanna Thai script may legitimately be used.
              --
              Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
            • Nicholas Bodley
              {Lowest priority} On Tue, 03 May 2005 22:41:50 -0400, Nicholas Bodley wrote: [...] ... [...] Ah, the joys of the Dvorak layout. R and L
              Message 6 of 15 , May 6, 2005
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                {Lowest priority}

                On Tue, 03 May 2005 22:41:50 -0400, Nicholas Bodley
                <nbodley@...> wrote:
                [...]
                > One, concerned with old Cyrillic retters, deleted a number of them
                [...]

                Ah, the joys of the Dvorak layout. R and L are right next to each other,
                significantly increasing the likelihood of inadvertent, seeming spoofs of
                the difficulties some people from Asia have with English.

                Regards,

                --
                nb
                who is trying to proofread more of what's sent
              • suzmccarth
                ... pronunciations ... ... having ... This argument about non-phonemicity was given to me in conversation with a linguist working with Cree who had hoped
                Message 7 of 15 , May 6, 2005
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                  --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Wordingham"
                  <richard.wordingham@n...> wrote:
                  > --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > > Considering that no orthography has ever deliberately been
                  > > "non-phonemic," that looks like a pretty good guess.
                  >
                  > Some of the Roman alphabet-based 'syllabaries', e.g. that of
                  > Potawatomi, deliberately drop the phonation contrast! Or are you
                  > denying these systems the status of 'orthographies'?
                  >
                  > Philippine orthographies relegate glottal stops to the
                  pronunciations
                  > shown in dictionaries. Malay <e> (two distinct vowels) and final
                  <k>
                  > also spring to mind, though <k> may be an example of a language
                  having
                  > two co-existing spelling systems - native and loanword.
                  >
                  > As to the Royal Thai General System of Transcription,...

                  This argument about non-phonemicity was given to me in conversation
                  with a linguist working with Cree who had hoped to introduce
                  alphabetic literacy in a certain area but was reluctantly in the
                  process of transfering to syllabics.

                  Since the Cree had been writing without using diacritics (how am I
                  supposed to say this, overdot and preaspiration, not diacritic as in
                  vowel markers) there was a certain amount of underrepresentation.
                  Also sometimes finals were left off as well. All these symbols were
                  of a reduced size, had a different status in the system for native
                  speakers, and the overall shape of the word was left unchanged -
                  without these symbols, it was called unpointed text.

                  But when writing in an alphabet, the English linguists used the
                  double vowel system for long vowels and h for preaspiration. Now the
                  long vowel and the h have a symbol _of the same status_ as other
                  symbols and are not as likely to be left out. So, somehow it was
                  felt that the syllabic system contributed to a habit of
                  underrepresentation. This was especially so if a writer wrote only
                  one symbol for each syllable and did not write the final. Also a
                  reduced vowel might have disappeared altogether in a dialect but the
                  writer might use a full syllabic symbol for what was perceived by
                  the linguist to be a consonant(no vowel).

                  In a language with multisyllabic morphemes there were relatively few
                  homographs. However, some homogtraphs were found and that was
                  enough to prove that underrepresentation should not be allowed.

                  While Kenneth Pike's Phonemics was a strong influence, he later
                  suggested an 'ethnophonemic' principle, and even underrepresentation
                  was eventually considered as allowable if non-scientific, a real
                  compromise. The morphophonemic principle had its own ups and downs.

                  I am sure someone somewhere commented that syllabaries tend to have
                  a certain amount of underrepresentation in them (as though alphabets
                  don't) This is not my argument - just a comment on a view that I
                  have heard expressed from time to time.

                  Two questions really

                  1. Do syllabaries, in fact, tend towards greater underrepresentation
                  than alphabetic orthographies?

                  2. To what extent is underrepresentaiton detrimental to literacy?
                  How much can be tolerated without undermining literacy?

                  Suzanne
                • Richard Wordingham
                  ... phonemic. ... It has contrastive aspiration, which is why I used the word phonation . The original spelling system indicated a voicing contrast, but it
                  Message 8 of 15 , May 9, 2005
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                    --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...>
                    wrote:
                    > Richard Wordingham wrote:
                    > >
                    > > --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...>
                    wrote:
                    > >
                    > > > Considering that no orthography has ever deliberately been
                    > > > "non-phonemic," that looks like a pretty good guess.
                    > >
                    > > Some of the Roman alphabet-based 'syllabaries', e.g. that of
                    > > Potawatomi, deliberately drop the phonation contrast!

                    > Believe it or not, there are languages in which voice is not
                    phonemic.
                    >
                    > Is this one of them?

                    It has contrastive aspiration, which is why I used the
                    word 'phonation'. The original spelling system indicated a voicing
                    contrast, but it was probably using near-English values, as in the
                    way pinyin shows the aspiration of stops. (I don't know enough to
                    exclude the possbility of /b/ > /ph/ in historic times.)

                    > > Philippine orthographies relegate glottal stops to the
                    pronunciations
                    > > shown in dictionaries.

                    No. Typical unpredictable places are word-finally and in
                    intervocalic clusters, which are spelt the same as single
                    intervocalic consonants. It may be predictable at the start of a
                    word - I don't remember the details of that.

                    Richard.
                  • Henrik Theiling
                    Hi! ... Funny -- when I got my Dvorak keyboard, one of the first things to do was to swap L and ; since I felt L was too far away for my fingers to reach
                    Message 9 of 15 , May 9, 2005
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                      Hi!

                      "Nicholas Bodley" <nbodley@...> writes:
                      > [...]
                      > > One, concerned with old Cyrillic retters, deleted a number of them
                      > [...]
                      >
                      > Ah, the joys of the Dvorak layout. R and L are right next to each other,
                      > significantly increasing the likelihood of inadvertent, seeming spoofs of
                      > the difficulties some people from Asia have with English.

                      Funny -- when I got my Dvorak keyboard, one of the first things to do
                      was to swap 'L' and ';' since I felt 'L' was too far away for my
                      fingers to reach it easily. So I never encountered those types^H^Hos.
                      But the last word in the previous sentence is a good example for typos
                      that happen due to all vowels being next to each other...

                      I also tend to type 'nat' instead of 'not' (which I especially dislike
                      because it looks like I'm trying to stress unrounded pronunciation of
                      the vowel).

                      Anyway, it's good to switch to a *completely* different layout, since
                      the brain is virgin wrt. to the new layout and you can optimise the
                      layout for your special typing habbits without pain. I mean, without
                      *additional* pain -- it really was a bit of a pain to finally reach
                      fluency with the new layout again. But now the keys are perfectly
                      suited for typing English, German, C, C++, Perl, Latex, Shell and
                      Lisp. :-)

                      I have most symbols on AltGr + letter, so they are easily reachable
                      without stretching fingers. A funny thing is that $%#@ are right next
                      to each other on AltGr + MWVZ -- so this looks like the Perl 'vowels'
                      row...

                      **Henrik
                    • Richard Wordingham
                      ... No! See http://www2.ttcn.ne.jp/~orie/home.htm . ... Because tone is an important part of the sound, more important than vowel length. ... be ... writing
                      Message 10 of 15 , May 9, 2005
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                        --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...>
                        wrote:
                        > Richard Wordingham wrote:
                        > >
                        > > --- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@w...>
                        > > wrote:
                        > >
                        > > > (If tone was to be notated, diacritics would need to be added
                        > > whether
                        > > > syllabics or alphabet.)
                        > >
                        > > Not necessarily. Nushu appears to be a phonetic syllabary, but I
                        > > have not heard that it uses diacritics for the tone distinctions.
                        >
                        > What is Nushu? Is that a Chinese name for Yi?

                        No! See http://www2.ttcn.ne.jp/~orie/home.htm .

                        > Why would being a "phonetic syllabary" lead you to expect tone
                        > distinctions to be written?

                        Because tone is an important part of the sound, more important than
                        vowel length.

                        > > There ought to be a language in which the tone contrast is solely
                        > > marked in the initial consonant - tonal Mon-Khmer languages would
                        be
                        > > an obvious place to look.

                        > Why "ought" there to be? How many local languages have inherited
                        writing
                        > systems?

                        It seems that most of Tai languages outside China do or did.
                        (Thailand may be exceptional, in that the Siamese system was
                        established throughout the country, and local systems lost their
                        utility.) There may, of course, have been massive re-adjustments, as
                        for example happened in Britain.

                        > Smalley urged people to create Thai-based, not roman-based, scripts
                        for
                        > Tai languages, so his last book is an obvious place to look.

                        I think you mean for Thai languages, though using Thai for other Tai
                        languages might be an effective way of escaping 'phonetic' order. (I
                        think phonetic order is actually impossible for Thai - if a 'logical
                        order' in the Unicode sense existed, it would be neither visual nor
                        phonetic!)

                        A Thai-based writing system would not be such a system - tone
                        contrasts on syllables starting with unvoiced, unaspirated stops
                        would be shown by tone marks.

                        Richard.
                      • Nicholas Bodley
                        On Fri, 06 May 2005 15:52:29 -0400, Peter T. Daniels ... ALmost on a whim, I tried Googling; here s one hit that I thought Qalamites might like:
                        Message 11 of 15 , May 12, 2005
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                          On Fri, 06 May 2005 15:52:29 -0400, Peter T. Daniels
                          <grammatim@...> wrote:

                          > What is Nushu? Is that a Chinese name for Yi?

                          ALmost on a whim, I tried Googling; here's one hit that I thought
                          Qalamites might like:
                          <http://www.ancientscripts.com/nushu.html>

                          It's not only Chu Nom (diacritics omitted) that's an endangered writing
                          system (of course...)

                          Regards,

                          --
                          Nicholas Bodley /*|*\ Waltham, Mass. (Not "MA")
                          The curious hermit -- autodidact and polymath
                          If you're determined to be afraid, choose wisely
                          what to be afraid of.
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