Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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A survey of modern descendants of Brahmi shows that the letter forms and various other features of the scripts vary, but the use of an inherent vowel and of dependent, satellite signs for other vowels is remarkably stable. Comparison is made to other scripts invented in the same geographic region, Thaana and Sorang Sompeng, and to the Arabic script as used in Arabic, Persian, Sorani Kurdish, Uyghur, and Kashmiri. Arabic scripts maintain uniform letter forms but vary considerably in their treatment of vowels. Cultural factors may explain the visual diversity of Brahmic scripts as compared to Arabic scripts. The stable combination of inherent vowel and satellite vowels derives from the decodability of simple aksharas into pronounceable syllabic units in the acquisition of reading. This akshara advantage is related to the psychological grain size theory of reading, with the additional claim that the syllable has special status because it is pronounceable.


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