Re: Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Oct 29 2005 - 15:08:24 CST

  • Next message: suzanne mccarthy: "Re: Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics"

    From: suzanne mccarthy
    > I would assume that the French author who wrote 'syllabaires' didn't
    > really understand
    > the English semantics since Syllabics is the original *name* for the
    > system. It was not
    > a shortened invention in recent years but it is the Cree way of talking
    > about their writing
    > system in English and is in sense a proper noun as is.

    For your information, the list of French names were initially built by one
    member of the Canadian standard organization, and approved by it when it was
    submitted to ISO, where it was also approved by other French-speaking
    members, and endorsed by the ISO standard.

    Still, even today, French names for new characters and scripts are created
    and listed from a working registry that is Canadian, located in Quebec (if I
    remember well, it is on a server belonging to a project hosted and financed
    by the University of Laval, correct me if I'm wrong because I have not
    verified if this is still true now).

    You can't say that they don't understand very well both English and French,
    and that they don't know anything about the Cree culture. So the term
    commonly used in English does not have to match exactly the term commonly
    used in French in the Canadian context.

    It just appears that "Syllabics" is effectively a contraction of the more
    exact "Syllabic characters", transforming the adjective into a common name,
    and that such contraction (called "substantivation" in French) is not
    possible on French adjectives without an actual common usage (like
    "mathématiques", "arithmétique",... all of them appearing as a contraction
    made by substantivation accepted in the common usage). But the substivation
    of adjectives ending in "-ique" would look strange because it could
    incorrectly imply that this means "sciences syllabiques", a non-sense when
    it should actually be a short way to designate "caractères syllabiques".

    France (or Belgium, Switzerland, etc...) has little to say about the correct
    names for designating those syllabaries and their syllabic characters,
    because it does not have enough expertise on this domain and rarely needs or
    use it. I am even wondering if there's an official linguistic department in
    some french university working on canadian aboriginal languages and their
    scripts, may be there are only some independant specialists, and libraries
    that have some copies of books related to these languages.

    So it seems natural to leave this subject discussed and approved between
    Canada and USA where those languages are significantly spoken and written,
    and where an higher level of expertise is available locally (there's
    apparently no significant american aboriginal community in Europe).

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