Korean/Tamil/Hindi (was Re: Query on var.nabheda)

Narayan S. Raja raja at galileo.IFA.Hawaii.Edu
Fri Mar 7 02:00:04 UTC 1997

On Thu, 6 Mar 1997, Dan Lusthaus wrote:

> >As I understand, these are not complete
> >and purely phonetic alphabets...  Or am
> >I mistaken?
> I'm not sure what you mean by complete. They have nearly fifty letters a
> piece. They are consonant+vowel combos, (e.g.: na, ni, no, though there are
> long vowels that can be added). They are purely alphabetic and have no
> semantic significance  beyond their use in constructing phonemes.

Well, what I meant by "not complete" was
that, to the best of my knowledge,
the Japanese language is not completely
represented in writing using a phonetic 

When learning Japanese, right from the
beginning you also have to learn kanji.
If you look at Japanese signboards, they
are a mix of phonetic as well as kanji
characters.  To be functional, you need
at least a couple of thousand characters.

On the other hand, you can learn Korean 
(enough to be completely functional) by 
just learning approximately 30 characters.
Kids books are written completely in
Hangul.  Public signboards are almost
entirely in Hangul.  Chinese characters
are the exception.

By the way, I'd like to make it clear
that I'm not anti-Japanese (the idea is
absurd)!  The above is simply the 
objective situation, as far as I know.

Is this still relevant to Indology?

All the best,


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