Indic Syllabic Categories

Richard Wordingham richard.wordingham at
Mon May 12 16:58:10 CDT 2014

On Mon, 12 May 2014 21:54:32 +0200
Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at> wrote:

> 2014-05-12 10:03 GMT+02:00 Richard Wordingham <
> richard.wordingham at>:
> > Dependent vowels on independent vowels generally modify rather than
> >  replace the vowel sound of the independent vowel. Balinese
> > provides a simple example; the Brahmi length mark has retained or
> > regained its independence and is regularly applied to both
> > independent and dependent vowels.

I was writing in haste; the use of the length mark is not as regular as
I thought it was.

> Hmmm... The length mark itself is not a dependant vowel by itself,
> it's a modifier that follows a vowel (dependant or not).

It's counted as such in the Balinese script, and has become such in
most Indic scripts, being the dependent vowel AA.

> Indic abugidas on the opposite have not distinguished this
> null-consonnant explicitly; but it still exists logically as an
> unbreakable combination of that null-consonnant and the dependant
> vowel.

In mainland SE Asia the distinction is made.  The independent vowel
whose vowel is the implicit vowel has been reinterpreted as the
consonant for a glottal stop, and is combined with the dependent
vowels.  Several scripts, e.g. Tibetan and Thai, have largely done away
with the independent vowels.


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