Indic Syllabic Categories

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Mon May 12 17:55:38 CDT 2014

2014-05-12 23:58 GMT+02:00 Richard Wordingham <
richard.wordingham at>:

> In mainland SE Asia the distinction is made.  The independent vowel
> whose vowel is the implicit vowel has been reinterpreted as the
> consonant for a glottal stop, and is combined with the dependent
> vowels.  Several scripts, e.g. Tibetan and Thai, have largely done away
> with the independent vowels.
Also Arabic with Alef in many uses. So has also Greek in an ancient time.
And this goes further than the simple matres lectionis for "half-vowels"
that still ahve remains in the Latin script (in the orthographic systems
due to the phonology and assimilation of regional "accents" variations and
their evolution).

In fact it is in the alphabets (rather then abjads and abugidas) that the
distinctions between consonnants and vowels (which are still clear in the
phonetics) has become the most fuzzy: this is a large departure between the
spoken language and the written one assimilating more and more local or
historic phonetic variations and evolutions

Up to extreme points like in English whose orthography is very far from the
spoken language and obeys absolutely no rule: lots of exceptions, lots of
mute letters, it is completely counterintuitive, only partly ompnsated by
the (over?) simplification of grammatical rules and the syntax (and
creating many interpretation ambiguities in written texts whose
understanding require mich more contetual analysis; it is a fact that many
English texts are difficult to translate due to these frequent multiple
interpretations, non marking the tense of verbs, and this has become even
worse with some arbitrary conventions in the written text like
capitalization, and then these have also contaminated the spoken language).

Even the basic SVO syntax is threatened in English by the SSS model: if
there was not a few auxiliary verbs kept, English would be now just a
justaposition of nouns, with a syntax reduced so much that it's difficult
to distinguish a verb, a noun, and basic verb modes like infinitive and
imperative, and the intended target of imperatives. Pronouns are also
disappearing. This is only compensated by a large increase of the
vocabulary (with lots of strange borrows from other languages, frequently
with very irregular orthography. And it is probably the base for the
promotion of "Simple English" which could become a new language far from
the English we read today that could become a et of related languages for
specialists in their own domain. More or less the world has learnt to work
with written English, but has difficulties (including within the
Englosphere) with the spoken language.

But at the same time, native English speakers write less and depend more on
the spoken language. Children no longer use a pen, they use a computer, and
read less : they look at videos or listen audio records in their more local
community. With the huge separation between the oral and written language,
a new written form appears and grows fast in popular usage (but these texts
are more difficult to parse and understand by others living or working in
different contexts). Could English become tomorrow like Church Latin?

Today when I read at a few short news headlines in English, it's hard to
see what the article really speaks about, or what is the real intent.
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