Re: Indic Syllabic Categories

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2014 21:54:32 +0200

2014-05-12 10:03 GMT+02:00 Richard Wordingham <>:

> 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.

Hmmm... The length mark itself is not a dependant vowel by itself, it's a
modifier that follows a vowel (dependant or not).
This length mark is just like a simple macron in Latin, or other length
marks used in Asian scripts. In may cases its use is optional as it is not
significant semantically and phonologically, or it remains by tradition and
frequently used words.

It is the introduction of a null consonnant as a plain letter (H in Latin;
a letter distinguished with other letters when the glotal stop is realized
phonetically with semantic distinctions from a pure "mute" sound : a true
glottal stop more or less advanced in the throat or palatal, or an
expirated or inspirated breathe, or a short mute pause, sometimes just a
modification of tone for the following vowel...) that have made possible
the evolution of semitic abjads to alphabets with separate letters (though
without banning the use of diacritics)

Orthographies also have used diacritics for represent this null consonnant
in alphabets ; notably the diaeresis as in French, where it is not only
used for this but also to avoid the interpretation of digrams and enforce
the separate pronounciation of one of the two vowels ; notably when appied
to a final e (usually this final e is mute but it would need to be
pronounced in a separate syllable if not mute for emphasis purpose — see
"aiguë": /ɛ.ɡy/, or exceptionally /ɛ.ɡy.ɘ/ with emphasis, where we see this
null-consonnant as if it was written "aiguhe"; the same term may also be
written "aigüe" with an older orthography, the placement of the diaeresis
or the first or second vowel being variable though it is preferable today
to write it on the second one).

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. This Indic model was
abandonned in the Hangul script using an explicit null-consonnant jamo (but
older Korean orthographies have also written multiple vowels in the same
syllabic cluster, without marking this null consonnant explicitly, and a
syllable leading vowel coudl also be left unwritten, or written with a
special placement relative to the following consonnant; today Korean no
longer use clusters of vowels and have also abandonnend clusters of
consonnants by promotting 'de jure' some digrams into plain consonnants
even if this change is superficial).

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Received on Mon May 12 2014 - 14:56:02 CDT

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