From: Peter Constable (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed May 12 2004 - 13:12:24 CDT
> I agree with this but Kent's meaning
(it was Patrick)
> of "featural" is probably refering to this
> feature of Hangul of grouping letters into square syllables.
No, that is definitely *not* what was meant. In the taxonomy devised by
Gelb and promoted by Daniels, Hangul is described as a "featural" script
because the description of the script prepared under King Seychong's
administration described the shape of certain jamos (e.g. k, t, m) as
being iconically related to the corresponding points of articulation.
Point of articulation being what linguists since Jakobson have referred
to as a phonological feature, the term "featural" was applied.
My concern with using this in the taxonomy is that every other category
in the taxonomy is structural in nature, having to do with the
relationship between structural units of the writing system and
structural units of the phonology (sign <> phoneme / syllable...). In
describing Hangul as "featural", however, those structural issues are
ignored, and instead the focus is on an iconic relationship between
shapes of symbols and the shape of the vocal tract. I don't mind noting
such a characteristic of a script, but I think it is not good science to
create a taxonomy that mixes defining criteria in an ad hoc manner:
categories in a taxonomy should be defined on a consistent basis. There
is absolutely no reason why a purely structural taxonomy could not
include Hangul. It just requires an additional category of like
"alphasyllabary", which Peter Daniels simply refuses to accept.
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