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At 2:37 pm -0500 20/3/02, John Cowan wrote:
>Raymond Brown scripsit:
>
>> The Arabic script is IMO more beautiful than any of the above; but not
>> well-suited to non-Semeitic languages.
>
>Actually, it has problems even with those.  The main difficulty with
>Arabiform script is the paucity of vowels -- even worse than Roman.

Like, basically, having none - like (unpointed) Hebrew or Egyptian hieroglyphs.

I understood that native speakers of Semitic & Hamitic languages, the
vowels were pretty predictable and therefore the script could get by
well-enough without them.   Obviously for non-native speakers this is a bit
of a bind!

But the fact Egyptologists can read the ancient texts even though, for the
most part, we haven't a clue what the 'missing' vowels were (and,
therefore, can't speak the language except by using some modern, artificial
convention) seems pretty good evidence to me that the vowels were secondary
and didn't need indication for native speakers.

Anyway, we will both violently agree it's not suited for the phonology I
suggested.

>> Yep - if I were designing an artlang, I'd almost certainly include clicks.
>> But I'm not sure that I'd class the as 'beautiful'; so if it's beauty, as
>> Frank said, I don't think I can include them.
>>
>> But then, although much art has beauty, I don't think great necessarily has
>> it, e.g. Guernica  ;)
>
>Clicks and Guernica have that beauty that Blake said exuberance is.

Not sure I'd even class clicks here either; I guess I haven't been exposed
to clicks enough.  This is where I'd put the trills - both apical and
uvular.  Now they are truly exuberant, indeed magnificant.  Languages that
possess either of these are really serious about communication; the sounds
are vigorous, vibrant and defeat all but the noisiest of backgrounds.
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At 12:15 pm -0800 20/3/02, Frank George Valoczy wrote:
>On Wed, 20 Mar 2002, Raymond Brown wrote:
[snip]
>>
>> Why?  Surely a beautiful phonology deserves a beautiful script.  Cyrillic
>> is so boring with most of the letters being the same height.  At least the
>> ascenders & descenders of the modern Roman and Greek alphabets lend them
>> some attractiveness.
>
>IMO there is no script more beautiful than handwritten Cyrillic.

Ah, now the cursive script is something different.  From what I've seen,
cursive Cyrillic is like that cursive Roman style called "copperplate",
that was popular here in the 19th cent & early 20th cent.  Indeed, I see no
formal difference, except their use of the different shapes.  Yes,
copperplate is very beautiful when written properly, but IME degenerates
quickly when poorly written.

I suppose well-written Arabic is beautiful because it's cursive.

[snip]
>> ..all of which goes to prove how subjective aesthetics are  :)
>>
>
>Indeed. I could see two countries going to war over something like,
>
>Gulgustan: "/l/ is prettier than /r/"
>Zomozgia: "No it's not"
>Gulgustan: "yes it is"
>Zomozgia: (to aide) "launch the Scuds"

Or even over /r/ itself when one recalls how many different ways the rhotic
consonant gets pronounced.
Rugistan: "Our /r/ is the only true way of saying /r/; your /r/ is ugly and
harsh"
Ravolia: "Nonsense, our /r/ has ancient beauty; indeed the prophet
Raratoran said /r/ as we do."
Rugistan: "You lie. If you read the ancient texts properly, you will see
that the Prophet always said /r/ our way.
Ravolia: "And you blaspheme! The Prophet would never have defiled his mouth
with your /r/.
...and so another unholy 'Holy War' is launched.
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At 8:49 pm +0000 20/3/02, Joe wrote:
[snip]
>
>My Ideal phonology:

'ideal' phonology, now that's another matter.

The most (aesthetically) beautiful phonology - which must needs be
subjective  :)   is not necessarily the most ideal.

If you say ideal, my immediate question is: "Ideal for what?"

Clearly the phonology I gave, e.g., is not ideal for any a_posterior
conlang based on any European models.  It's clear, e.g. from Tolkien's
works that what he consider ideal phonolgies for elven languages what not
all what he thought proper for dwarves, still less so for orcs.

Ray.

=========================================
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
                     [J.G. Hamann 1760]
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