Indic Syllabic Categories

Richard Wordingham richard.wordingham at
Sat May 10 05:19:46 CDT 2014

On Fri, 09 May 2014 19:58:03 -0700
Asmus Freytag <asmusf at> wrote:

> On 5/9/2014 6:32 PM, Shriramana Sharma wrote:

> > At least in *Indian* Indic scripts we don't have
> > Vowel_Independent letters participating in a cluster via a virama
> > unlike the consonant letter,

> And the ability to construct a regular expression that caters to this 
> restriction (for the scripts that have it) is supremely useful in a 
> number of application areas.

Is it participation as C1, as C2 or as either in a <C1, virama, C2>
cluster that one wishes to rule out?

> Having a division that is only occasionally required is much better
> than not having the division.

What worried me is the possibility of false deductions from such a
division.  If the differences are widely known to vary from script to
script, then there is much less cause to worry.

> > And that [traditional] classification (which you probably know but
> > just putting into writing) is: The consonant letters all denote the
> > same inherent vowel preceded by one (or, rarely, more) consonant
> > sounds. The independent vowel letters OTOH all denote different
> > vowel sounds without (for the most part) any consonant sounds.

Unsurprisingly, it's when the latter rule breaks down that things can
get complicated, and one has to ask which symbols denoting consonant
plus vowel are to be counted as independent vowels and which as
consonant letters.  There don't seem to be any complications arising from
different consonants having different implicit vowels (e.g Khmer). 


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