Flashcards in Week 7 - Writing Systems Deck (11)
Basic types of phonographic systems
- abjad (consonant only)
- alphabetic (consonant and vowel)
- (entire syllables)
- ABUGIDA (syllabic but based on consonants w default vowel)
Syllabary: each symbol rep distinct syllable
- only used for languages w relatively small no. of possible syllables
- Mycenean Greek
- JAPANESE hiragana / katakana
Consonantary or Consonantal Alphabet
Name derives from First letters in the Arabic abjad: ʔ, b, j, and d.
- Arabic (no vowel points)
Egyptian mono-consonantal signs
Probably developed from logograms via rebus or acrophonic principles.
- Unlike modern abjads, used primarily as phonetic indicators in mixed representations.
Set of symbols representing both consonantal and vowel phonemes
Enormously popular, possibly bc of utility
the "ideal" alphabetic system
Ideally, each symbol represent distinct phoneme, 1 to 1
- alphabets typically exploit systems which do not meet 'ideal'
- MULTIGRAPHS (2 or more com. for 1 phoneme)= 'SH'
- UNDER-DIFFERENTIATION (fail to differentiate between 2 distinct phonemes) = TH and TH
From ethiopian Ge'ez script, first 4 letters "a" "bu" "gi" "da"
- alphasyllabary or SYLLABIC ALPHABET
- Basic symbols represent a CONSONANT and INHERENT/DEFAULT VOWEL together: CV
- Diacritics added to indicate:
- that consonant w different vowel
- that consonant alone, as at end of syllable
DENVAGARI - used to write Hindi, Gujari, etc
> consonant only (diacritic can 'cancel' vowel
> Vowel-only syllables also have own symbols (ie when syllable doesn’t commence with consonant)
UTILITY: Size of the set of symbols
Given that languages have:
- thousands of words
- perhaps hundreds of distinct syllables,
- often <100 n 12 - 100 phonemes
LOGOGRAPHIC SYSTEM @ 1 symbol per word
= thousands of symbols
SYLLABIC SYSTEM @ 1 symbol per syllable
= maybe hundreds of symbols
- English has ~10k monosyllables…
ALPHABETIC SYSTEM @ 1 symbol per sound
= 12 - 60 symbols
Writing systems = sub-classified based on the placement / direction of symbols
eg Chinese, Japanese: Horizontal First or vertical First
eg Egyptian hieroglyphics: L-R or R-L.
Boustrophedon: reverse direction from one line to next. From Greek bous ‘ox, cow’ + strephein ‘to turn’ ‘as the ox plows’
Interpreting Unknown Writing
1814 Thomas Young matched greek names w/cartouches - first sound/hieroglyphic match
Jean-François Champollion used Rosetta Stone to transliterate Egyptian, announcing his results in 1822
Current Controversy: WEST INDUS
4000 linear inscriptions on seals, miniature tablets, pottery, stoneware, copper plates, tools, weapons, and wood
- ave.5 symbols per transcription, max. of 17.
- Indus Valley civilization ca. 2600-1900 BCE.
- Approx. 400 distinct symbols n possibly suggesting a syllabic and/or logographic system.
- significance of the brevity of transcriptions
- the overall probabilities of sequencing vs non-linguistic systems