Article published in:Understanding Writing Systems
Edited by Merijn Beeksma and Martin Neef
[Written Language & Literacy 21:1] 2018
► pp. 26–51
Core syllables vs. moraic writing
It is generally accepted that the units of writing systems represent categories found in spoken language; in phonographic writing, these categories traditionally include the syllable and segment, which correspond to syllabic and alphabetic systems. But it has been claimed that some or most “syllabaries” are actually based on moras, well known from phonological theory as units of syllable weight. I argue that apparent moraic systems are in fact built on signs that stand for core CV syllables, and consequently that moras do not appear to play a central role in any writing system.
Keywords: syllabic writing, moraic writing, syllable weight, minimal syllable, typology of writing systems, alphasyllabary, Vai, Ethiopic script, Japanese kana, Thaana
Published online: 02 November 2018
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