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Quoting Ray Brown <[log in to unmask]>:

> On Monday, January 26, 2004, at 09:01 PM, Andreas Johansson wrote:
>
> > Quoting Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]>:
>
> [snip]
>
> >> Is there such a thing as a vowel-first syllabary?
> >> Some preliminary dinking around seems to show that
> >> vowel-first symbols (like "ak" and "or" instead of
> >> "ka" and "ro") might work better for English.
> >
> > I'm not quite sure what you are speaking of, but if you're thinking of
> > something like the Old Persian habit of writing syllables with two signs,
> > like 'da'-'ar' for /dar/, Old Persian, or cuneiform and cuneiform-derived
> > scripts in general, might be the place to look.
>
> Yep - I was going to suggest cuneiform.  I know of no syllabaries that are
> exclusive vowel first, and I'b be very surprised if any such existed or had
> existed as AFAIK no natlang consists only of blocked syllables beginning
> with
> vowels only.

I've heard claims that an Aboriginal Australian language variously spelt
Arrente and Arrernte only allows VC syllables, or alternatively only VC and V.
There seem to be some controversy about this, however. The very name of the
language would seem to be a problem for the first claim, but, of course, there
could be an unwritten glottal stop there, or the name might not be the native
one, or be an adaption thereof.

> But the ancient Akkadian cuneiform, which was used for writing other langs
> besides
> Akkadian, contained a whole range of signs for both CV and VC syllables
> much as
> in the later Persian system Andrew mentions above.

"Andreas", please! No worries, but I do deeply dislike having my name mangled.

> It would be possible to
> adapt
> either the Akkadian or the Old Persian system to English.  But I fail to
> see how
> this would be any improvement on what we now have.  However, it could be an
> interesting experiment.

Well, it might rid us of silent 'e's and ambiguous digraphs like 'ea'. Not to
say that couldn't better be achieved by a more consistently phonetic alphabet.

I've not worked out any actual signs for it yet, but my semitoid conlang
Kalini Sapak's writing system is supposed to write each word with two signs,
the first indicating the consonants (in effect, the root), the second the
vowels (in effect, derivational and inflectional morphology). There are
unrelated signs for -a-a- and a--a-, like in _wanad_ "word"
_awnad_ "dictionary, vocabulary", both from WND "word". Now, imagine writing
English like this!

                                                        Andreas