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On Tue, 28 Feb 2012 13:37:40 -0800, Garth Wallace <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>On Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 3:28 AM, Paul Bennett <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> What intrigues me, though, is a writing system that would let someone
>> literate in Hamer be more or less literate in the rest of Ethiopia. To this
>> end, I'm thinking of a Ge'ez based writing system.
[...]
>> Questions, comments, suggestions?
>
>Personally, I'd try to keep it as similar to standard Ge'ez as
>possible, so keeping it syllabic instead of turning it into an
>alphabet. 

Agreed.  

>A virama of some kind could be introduced for consonants not
>followed by a vowel; a second virama-like diacritic would be used for
>unreleased final consonants. 

Conveniently, if /a e i o u/ are the only spelled vowels, there remain two
unused vowels which could be used for viramas!  No need to introduce more
diacritics.  Taking Ge'ez C@ for C0 is a perfectly logical thing to do, I
think, especially as the C@ graphemes are the formally basic ones.  

[And let me be the record as saying that contrastive releasedness is
completely hatstand.  I'm sure I've read at least one phonology text
asserting that it's impossible; I'd been planning to leave it out of Gleb
for that reason...]

>I'm not quite sure I understand how the vowels work from your previous
>post. Can all of those vowels follow any consonant? If so, new
>diacritics may be required for glottalized and laryngeal vowels. 

I think Paul's original idea works fine here: just find two unused consonant
series, let me symbolise them as h*V and ?*V, and write glottal vowels as CV
?*V and laryngeal ones as CV h*V.  

Given the harmony, perhaps it is only necessary to use this spelling once in
a root, and the rest will be inferrable.  

By the way, Paul, would you mind quoting some transcribed text in Hamer so
we can see how this phonology plays out in practice?

Alex