On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 8:39 AM, Jim Henry<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 10:45 AM, Gary Shannon<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> In that case, perhaps the design goal should be to come up with a
>> writing system that simultaneously confounds ALL of those definitions
>> by incorporating the distinguishing features of each.
> You'd have to do more than that to surprise people; otherwise
> orthographologists would call it a "mixed writing system" and not bat
> an eye.
> Reviewing the definitions of the various kinds of writing systems, it
> seems that a possible type not instantiated in any natlang's writing
> system would be the inverse of an abjad or abugida, where the primary
> glyphs represent vowels, and consonants are either implied (inverse
> abjad) or notated by diacritics (inverse abugida).
> Or maybe you could have some abugida-like system where the distinction
> between phonemes represented by major glyphs and those represented by
> diacritics is based on something other than sonority, or where the
> divide in sonority between diacritic-phonemes and glyph-phonemes is
> placed somewhere other than where a phonologist would place the divide
> between vowels and consonants in the corresponding spoken language?
> E.g., maybe all nasals, or all continuants, are indicated by
> diacrtitics even when they aren't syllabic. Or long vowels and
> continuant consonants are represented by glyphs while short vowels and
> plosives are represented by diacritics...
Or one that encodes tone in glyphs and vowel POA as optional
diacritics. This could conceivably evolve from an abjad in a language
that lost some consonants, leaving tone in their wake. AFAIK it's
never happened "in the wild" though.
One of my less active sketches has roots that act a bit like Semitic
triconsonantal roots, consisting of a sequence of consonants and also
an associated "high" or "low" vowel harmony state. Words are written
with consonants as glyphs branching from an overline or underline that
shows harmony, with vowels as connectors between them. So, for
example, /i/ and /e/ would be written with the same connector, and
which is which is determined by the root line. I don't think any
natural writing system gives vowel harmony that sort of prominence;
it's usually just reflected in the choice of vowel glyphs.