|WikiProject Writing systems||(Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)|
Looks like an alphabet to me; the ligatures don't seem especially complex. But whether it's psychologically treated as an alphabet or an abugida by its speakers is another matter, I suppose... - Mustafaa 10:39, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)
All the charts I've seen set out the Mandaic alphabet as an abugida. However, just as you say, the vowels do stand as independent letters. I have a feeling that a final consonant is considered to have a short a-vowel before it, and that this is unmarked. However, I do not have enough information to be sure about it. Mandaic certainly does look almost as alphabetic as English. If the Greeks managed to turn an abjad into an alphabet, I'm sure it can happen elsewhere. The interesting thing is that an abjad might be inappropriate for writing Greek, and hence the change to alphabetic writing, but Mandaic is still a Semitic language. Perhaps the influence of Persian on Mandaic demanded a more complete transcription of vowels.
- Gareth Hughes 13:13, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Vowel Letters vs. Matres Lectiones
I've got an article on this topic coming out in a future issue of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. I make the argument that the Mandaic script, and some other scripts from the region, developed under the influence of the Parthian chancery script, and that Mandaic imported the Parthian orthography, complete with vowel letters.
The major distinction between Parthian (and Mandaic) vowel letters and the matres lectiones found in most Aramaic scripts is that the vowel letters are, first and foremost, vowels, not consonants; matres lectiones are consonants that are occasionally (and inconsistently) employed to indicate the presence of a vowel. The Mandaic letters i and u are also used to indicate the semivowels /j/ and /w/, just like the analogous Greek letters. For this reason, the Mandaic script should not be considered an abjad.
Leo Caesius 23:30, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
The diagram of the alphabet is positioned so that it covers some text. This problem with pictures occurs in many other articles as well. Any way to fix this? Musicguyguy (talk) 05:16, 27 May 2010 (UTC)