Origin of Alphasyllabaries (was: Why so much emoji nonsense?)

Richard Wordingham via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Thu Feb 15 18:59:11 CST 2018

On Wed, 14 Feb 2018 21:49:57 +0100
Philippe Verdy via Unicode <unicode at unicode.org> wrote:

> The concept of vowels as distinctive letters came later, even the
> letter A was initially a representation of a glottal stop consonnant,
> sometimes mute, only written to indicate a word that did not start by
> a consonnant in their first syllable, letter. This has survived today
> in abjads and abugidas where vowels became optional diacritics, but
> that evolved as plain diacritics in Indic abugidas.


> The situation is even more complex because clusters of consonnants
> were also represented in early vowel-less alphabets to represent full
> syllables (this has formed the base of todays syllabaries when only
> some glyph variants of the base consonnant was introduced to
> distinguish their vocalization;

The only syllabary where what you say might be true is the Ethiopic
syllabary, and I have grave doubts as to that case.

I hope you are aware that most syllabaries do not derive from
alphabets, abjads or abugidas.

> Indic abugidas with their complex
> clusters where vowel diacritic create contextual variant forms of the
> base consonnant is also a remnant of this old age):

I see no reasons to regard consonant-vowel ligatures as going back to
an earlier system without dependent vowels.

> the separation of
> phonetic consonnants came only later.

Old Brahmi stacked consonants are generally very clear compositions.
Opaque ligatures are a later development.  Writing consonants linearly
is a later development; is this what you are referring to?


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