Wednesday, April 28, 2010

[Baybayin] Sulat Something Something

Assume for the moment that a "reasonable" "historic" letter order is that found in Doctrina Cristiana:


Also for the moment, assume that our originator of this script lumped a few "leftover" letters at the end, following an order similar to Rejang and Bugis, for R, Y, and W, inserting NG between Y and W (and not too far removed from Kerinci, Lampung, and Sundanese, either).

Leaving the vowels alone, that leaves a potential mnemonic in the remaining consonants:


Assume yet further that S-L is SU-LA "Sula(t)", a letter, a note, a jotting.

Then we have the following word-puzzle:

H P K SuLat T N B M G

Sadly, I'm not fluent in Tagalog of any era.

T-N /TiNu/ 'taught' ?

"HaPa(k), Ko SuLa(t), TiNu" B- M- G-

"broken, I have written and taught" ?

Of course I'm worse than a fool for even posting that attempt.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

[Baybayin] The Vowels...

Baybayin vowels all look sort of like they descend from the Devanagari vowels A and U, don't they?

And, while we're at it, look at the Devanagari letter 'I'. Lose the bar on top, and turn the squiggle on its side, and it resembles Baybayin /YA/, don't you think?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

[Baybayin] My Ordering

All this is wonderful fun. Is it of value? Not any of the stuff from me. But I can think about it just a little more. My collation order for Baybayin -- in other words, an 'ABC' for Baybayin, based on historical orderings for its ancestor and sibling scripts, including ghost spots for letters it doesn't have -- would go something like this:

K G NG P (F) B (V) M T (Th) D N (Ch J Ñ) Y (R) L W (Sh) S H A I U

Monday, April 12, 2010

[Baybayin] Character Order

Right then. Plainly, it seems then that the overwhelming order in related scripts is Brahmic -- letters are ganged up in groups, palatals, labials, whatnot. For examples, from the non-Javanese scripts Batak, Rejang, Kerinci, Lampung, and Bugis. I've filtered out many of the letters Baybayin doesn't have, but kept the remaining letters in order:

a(from h) h(from k) n m t d l r b p w y j s g ng ny i u
a(from h) h k b p n w g j d r m t s y ng l c nd mb i u
k g ng t d n p b m c j ny s r l y w h a
k g ng t d n p b m c j ny s r l w y h a(from h)
k g ng p b m t d n c j ny y a l r s w h
k g ng p b m t d n c j ny y r l w s a h
k g ng p b m t d n c j ny r l w s h a
k g ng p b m t d n c j ny r l w s a h y
k g ng p b m t d n c j ny y s w l (a?)

I've split the latter 7 into groups by sound-correspondence. And I'm going to try to analyze them in groups.

The first group is easiest, because all 7 start with the k-series: (K G NG). This group is present in Baybayin, and I hypothesize that Baybayin collation may have begun with K G NG.

The next three groups are nearly as easy, referring to labials (P B M) and dentals (T D N) and some sort of ts- or ch- series (C J NY NC). The C-series isn't in Baybayin. The other two are, but which order to use?

As a more remote cross-reference, here is Kannada, the precursor to Telegu, and the Granthas, the script used since the 5th century and a precursor to a lot of scripts in India. In both cases, I've excluded most of the letters that don't pertain to Baybayin:

K G NG C J Ny T D N P B M Y R L V Sh S H
K G NG C J Ny T D N P B M Y R L V Sh S H

So in other words, the older or more conservative scripts have T D N first, while the younger ones place P B M in front. Either way would be fine. For now I will collate P B M before T D N.

Now what to do with the remaining letters?
Granthas and Kannada somewhat loosely group them into [Y R L V] and [Sh S H].
I see R-L-W and Y-R-L-W. There's also a fair case for following with S, then H, then the vowels. But there's no compelling evidence to say if Baybayin actually followed the order of one of these, or went its own route. My preferred order would be traditional. And would probably be wrong.

So my hypothesis, for what it's worth, is:

Baybayin collation order hypothesis, mostly unsupported:


In grid form:

P (F) B (V) M
T (Th) D/R N
(Ch J Ñ)
Y (R) L W
(Sh) S H

Note that I've included slots for potential, non-existent F, Th, Ch, J, Ny(Ñ), V, and Sh characters, according to their places in related scripts.

Friday, April 9, 2010

[Baybayin] Character Order and Implications

From my former post, I noted that there's recorded, historical evidence that the Sanskrit order was used for collating Baybayin characters; the order appears to be:

A U E Ha Pa Ka Sa La Ta Na Ba Ma Ga Da/Ra Ya NGa Wa

It would be nice to have a mnemonic phrase, in Tagalog, to remember this by. Any takers?

OK, so I have implications to ponder here.

Question 1 Under what circumstances would Baybayin retain a Sanskrit order? Answer: when it's taught and transmitted. When did you learn the ABC song? Very early in your education. A First Thing.

Question 2 Why would Baybayin retain a Sanskrit order? Answer: because the script it was derived from also retained the Sanskrit order. However the derivation occurred, its concept originated closely from a working knowledge of a pre-existing Brahmic script.

Say it was one person who sat down one day and decided to use Script X to write Old Tagalog. She already had to know Script X's sounds and order; she was taught it. She might have been literate.

Question 3 If Baybayin really did stick close to its parent or "godparent" script, does this mean that Baybayin isn't really a descendant of Kawi?

Kawi's ancient character order was (I think):

Ha Na Ca Ra Ka Da Ta Sa Wa La Pa Dha Ja Ya Nya Ma Ga Ba Tha Nga

Doesn't look at all similar.

And I can't find out what the Buginese order is, nor Cham order... although they both might be gathered by family in the order K/G C/J T/D P/B Y/R/L/V/S.

They don't look similar either. At least not at first glance. I'm probably missing some important information here...

I suppose I can assume that Assamese order is more or less the same as Sanskrit.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

[Baybayin] Original Character Order?

So what was the original ordering of the characters?

When we write the vowels first, I see vestiges. But then we usually go in "font order", that is, K D G H K L M N P (R) S T... you know, the trusty Latin-based alphabetical order.

In the Doctrina Cristiana, however, the Baybayin character order was recorded as A U E H P K S L T N B M G D/R Y NG W. That ain't based on OUR alphabet, bub. And... see the vowels? They're first, like we often still see the characters written.

So there's a datum. Where can I go with that? If I knew more about the Brahmic-related scripts, then I'd compare directly with them.

Next best thing: I'll use the Japanese kana ordering. From Wikipedia:

The gojūon is an ancient convention (somewhere around 1004 to 1028 AD), originating in the character ordering in Sanskrit, as well as a means for expressing the hansetsu of Chinese characters.

Aha. So let's compare the ordering of gojūon with the Doctrina Cristiana order:

Kana Doctrina
Ka K
Sa S
() L
Ta T
Na N
Ha B*
Ma M
() G
Ya Y
() NG
Wa W

* Some differences apply: In Japanese, the kana has its own 'kudlits' which can, for example, turn /HA/ into /PA/ or /BA/ -- /KA/ into /GA/. And Japanese has no /L/ sound -- /R/ is midway between our L and R, and use it in both places. And it has no /NG/.

* h/b/p (はばぱ) are placed where p/b are in Sanskrit (again from Wikipedia). So it looks like Baybayin is closer to Sanskrit order than Kana order, which is perfectly reasonable.

Looks pretty reasonable to assume that Baybayin originally used an old Brahmic ordering. Not surprising. But it's nice to have some evidence for that.