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In Kalleh's "What a gaffe" thread, Goofy mentions the Hebrew abjad. I'd like to understand the difference between abjad and abugida. Is it just a difference between Semitic and non-Semitic languages?


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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As I understand it, an abugida is a system where letters represent consonants, and vowels are indicated by diacritics. This includes Brahmi scripts like Tibetan, Devanagari, Thai, etc, and also Ge'ez (Amharic). An abjad is a system where letters represent consonants and vowels are not written - for instance Phoenician. Arabic and Hebrew are not full abjads because some vowels are written.

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Would that mean that the vowel sounds of abjad are less predictable?


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Since many of the vowels aren't written, it's difficult to know how to pronounce the word if you're not familiar with the language. Of course you could say that about any language and any writing system to some extent.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Geoff:
Would that mean that the vowel sounds of abjad are less predictable?


Geoff, if you mean that the vowel sounds are variable - that is, they can change and the word has the same meaing - then no.
 
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Here is a site depicting the difference. Very interesting.
 
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