Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Somewhere I belong: Non-abugidic alphasyllabaries, non-alphasyllabic abugidas and their typological classification
Contributor(s): Iyengar, Arvind  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2021
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link:
Open Access Link: Access Link
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl. Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics)
200406 Language in Time and Space (incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology)
200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 470406 Historical, comparative and typological linguistics
470409 Linguistic structures (incl. phonology, morphology and syntax)
440105 Linguistic anthropology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 950202 Languages and Literacy
950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130202 Languages and linguistics
130201 Communication across languages and culture
280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture

Since their coinage a quarter-century ago, the terms abugida and alphasyllabary (Daniels & Bright, 1996; Bright, 1999) have revolutionised our conceptualisation of writing systems. Together with alphabet, these terms have proven invaluable in understanding and classifying subtypes of segmentaries—writing systems whose grain size is the phonological segment (Gnanadesikan, 2017). Nevertheless, there remain areas of ambiguity. While segmentaries that are neither abugidas nor alphasyllabaries are usually classified as alphabets, those that are either abugidas or alphasyllabaries—but not both—may be classified under various labels, and inconsistently so. Adding to the mix is the concept of akshara, which, depending on interpretation, may form a distinct typological category or a subset of an existing one. While Gnanadesikan (2017) has made significant strides in refining and constraining the above typological categories and associated terminology, she also highlights the need for additional research, for instance, on the appropriate classification of Canadian Syllabics-based writing systems. Moreover, certain writing systems such as Braille-based ones are only rarely covered from the perspective of writing system typology (Sproat, 2010), despite the potential they carry to inform our understanding of the field.

Using Gnanadesikan’s (2017) typological classification of segmentaries as the point of departure, this talk proposes an augmented classification of vowelled segmentaries based on various graphe(ma)tic criteria. The classification is illustrated by applying it to various writing systems, including homoscriptal ones that are typologically distinct, as well as lesser studied ones. Particular attention will be paid to the classification of writing systems of unsettled typological status, and the justification for their classification. The talk concludes by identifying potential avenues for further refinement and inquiry.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Details: 13th International Workshop on Writing Systems and Literacy, Online Event, 21st - 23rd October, 2021
Source of Publication: On the systematic nature of writing systems, p. 33-33
Publisher: Association for Written Language and Literacy
HERDC Category Description: E3 Extract of Scholarly Conference Publication
Other Links:
Appears in Collections:Conference Publication
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Files in This Item:
2 files
File Description SizeFormat 
Show full item record
Google Media

Google ScholarTM


Items in Research UNE are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.