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Title: Ancient Scripts and Phonological Knowledge
Written By: Gary D. Miller
Series Title: Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 116

This study investigates the properties of several ancient syllabic and linear segmental scripts to make explicit the aspects of linguistic knowledge they attempt to represent. Some recent experimental work suggests that nonliterate speakers do not have segmental knowledge and that only syllabic knowledge is real or accessible, whence the ubiquity of syllabaries. Miller disputes this by showing that such tests do not distinguish relevant types of knowledge, and that linguistic analysis of the ordering and writing conventions of early Western scripts corroborates the evidence from language acquisition, use, and change for segment awareness. By coding segments, the ancient syllabaries represented more phonological knowledge than the alphabet, which was a poor compromise between the vowelless West Semitic scripts and the vowel-redundant syllabic scripts.

Publication Year: 1994
Publisher: John Benjamins
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Linguistic Field(s): Writing Systems
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 1556195702
ISBN-13: 9781556195709
Pages: 139
Prices: U.S. $ 142