Syllables and Syllabaries
Peter T. Daniels [+]
The first chapter immediately signals that something unusual is going on: it begins with English, the language most familiar to the reader, but it begins with Noah Webster’s American Spelling Book, which presciently presented each word to be learned in terms of its syllabic structure. The unifying theme of the book is thus adumbrated. The best-known syllabary of the modern world, Cherokee, is presented in some detail, providing the opportunity to introduce the concept of phoneme that has proved so important in the history of writing. The syllabaries of modern West Africa are introduced, and those of the ancient Aegean and Anatolia are mentioned.