Please download a font to view these pages properly.

Glossary of Terms

Combining mark
In some languages, a small sized mark indicates that an extra consonant sound comes in between the initial consonant sound and the vowel. These marks appear either before or after the syllabic, depending on the language or writing tradition. An example from Plains Cree is the "w-dot". ᑫ (kē) becomes ᑵ (kwē).
A symbol used to show that the consonant sound has no vowel after it. The final can be a reduced size version of a larger syllabic (as in Inuktitut ᒃ or ᒻ for "k" and "m"), or an abstract mark (as in Blackfoot ᐨ or ᔈ for "t" and "s"). Some sounds do not have full syllabics of their own, like Cree/Ojibway ᐦ (h), so "ha" is written ᐦᐊ.
A syllabic is any single character/glyph/letter that includes a consonant sound followed by a vowel sound. A syllabic series is three to six symbols that begin with the same consonant sound but have different vowel sounds. Dunne-za (Beaver) examples are ᗴ, ᗯ, ᗰ, ᗱ (cha, che, chi, cho).
I am using the term vowel to represent a syllabic character that does not have any consonant before it. In most syllabic languages, the vowels are shown as triangles, as in Dene (Carrier) ᐊ ᐅ ᐈ ᐉ ᐃ ᐁ (a, u, e, i, o, oo). However Blackfoot has the distinctive vowel syllabics ᖳ ᖰ ᖱ ᖲ (a, e, i ,o). 

Previous Page

Last Update:  June 13, 2005