tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Jan 30 09:44:13 2002

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Re: Alphabet

> >A better route might be like Hebrew, with consonants only, and vowels 
>indicated by diacritics (the technical term for such a consonant-only 
>alphabet is an abjad), which would require only 21 characters.
>That was kind of what I was getting at in my post, though I used Arabic
>as an example.  Is it not the same sort of thing?
>Actually, are there any modern abjads that don't even bother with the
>diacritic vowels?

The site has this to say about Arabic:

* The long vowels /a:/, /i:/ and /u:/ are represented by the letters 'alif, 
yaa and waaw respectively.

* Short vowels are not usually marked, except in poetry, textbooks for 
foreign learners, children's books and the Qur'an (Koran). When short vowels 
are marked, /a/ is written with a horizontal line (fat?haa) over the 
consonant letter, /i/ is written with a horizontal line (kasraa) below the 
consonant letter, and a little hook (damnaa) is used to write /u/.

And about Hebrew:
* Long vowels can be indicated by the letters alep, waw, and yod. Short 
vowels are not usually marked, except in the Bible.

From the information on this site, there seem to be only three abjads still 
in modern use (the other is Thaana, which is used to write Divehi, and 
language related to Sinhala and spoken in the Maldives).  Some of the older 
ones, however, appear to have not marked vowels at all.

THis site is all about writing systems.  Interestingly enough, it also has 
info on Klingon, although it's mostly wrong.  It has the {pIqaDqoq}) as 
someone so elegantly described it), but claims it is the official writing 
system.  It even claims that Okrand created it.  I sent email to their 
contact address telling them they were wrong and pointing to the appropriate 
page on the KLI site (even though they have a link to main page right on the 
{pIqaDqoq} page), but the information has not been changed.  It also has 
links to free {pIqaDqoq} fonts, and if you are lulled into thinking that 
they are the same fonts as they used to create their {pIqaDqoq} chart, you 
might be tempted to grab them, but if you go to the actual font page and 
look, you will see that the sample image there looks much lower-quality than 
the one on the omniglot page (although I did not bother to actually download 
the font).

Abjads and alphabets are under alphabetic writing systems.  Klingon, 
Tengwar, Cirth, Braille, Morse Code, etc. are under alternative writing 

And I should say that I agree with something that has been posted here 
before, although I do not believe I have seen it during this particular 
discussion:  Reading center outward would be extrememly distracting and 
disorienting.  Your eyes would have to jump from side to side instead of  
just following then line of text.  Spoken language (as opposed to sign 
language, for example), is very linear (one word right after the other), and 
it would make sense that the written representation would be linear also, 
whether right-to-left, left-to-right, top-to-bottom, or (though I know of no 
real-world examples) bottom-to-top.

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