Definition of syllabary in English:



  • A set of written characters representing syllables and (in some languages or stages of writing) serving the purpose of an alphabet.

    • ‘They also write these first and last names with Japanese characters - not with the phonetic syllabary used for foreign names.’
    • ‘He used this experience to complete the translation into English of a manuscript on healing, originally in the Sequoya syllabary, which had been begun by another scholar.’
    • ‘A similar system in use in Japan at about the same time, known as man'yogana, eventually evolved into hiragana, one of the syllabaries used to write modern Japanese.’
    • ‘Eight in 10 foreigners attending Japanese-language schools can read hiragana Japanese cursive syllabary but only around five in 10 can read Roman characters, a survey conducted by the Cultural Affairs Agency said Thursday.’
    • ‘The Japanese phonetic syllabaries (characters representing syllables) or the Roman alphabet is used to transcribe Ainu speech.’
    • ‘Over time, the continual re-use of the same characters to represent sounds led to the evolution of a syllabary based on the sounds of the spoken language.’
    • ‘It was enough that we be able to read the syllabary.’
    • ‘Their equivalent of an alphabet was similar to a Japanese syllabary, where each symbol stood for a syllable in their tongue.’
    • ‘One page was written in our syllabary, which is our alphabet, and the other page was written in English.’
    • ‘Akkadian is written with wedges on clay, and has a syllabary containing several hundred signs.’
    • ‘Each kana, as these two systems are called, is a separate phonetic syllabary and each hiragana character has a corresponding katakana character.’
    • ‘This same paradigm of identical shapes in varying orientations made the syllabary easy to learn, resulting in a high rate of literacy among the Cree people.’
    • ‘Hiragana and katakana are both phonetic syllabaries, wherein each of the 46 symbols equates to one phonic.’
    • ‘A clear-cut distinction cannot always be made between alphabets proper and syllabaries, sets of syllabic symbols as in the Japanese kana systems.’
    • ‘At the same time, a sophisticated syllabary developed.’
    • ‘Cherokee is written with a syllabary invented independently by Sequoyah in the 1830s.’
    • ‘While disappointing for epigraphy fans, the find adds 101 characters to the Isthmian syllabary and should represent a step toward retrieving Olmec history.’
    • ‘Linear-B was a syllabary - each character represented a complete syllable.’
    • ‘So I got into university knowing only the Romanized syllabary.’
    • ‘Independently, the Sumerians and the Egyptians developed much simpler phonetic syllabaries consisting of about 26 letters.’
    system of symbols, alphabet, script
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Mid 19th century: from modern Latin syllabarium, from Latin syllaba (see syllable).