The characters of the syllabary were all arranged and named, and elaborate lists of them were drawn up. The literature was for the most part inscribed with a metal stylus on tablets of clay, called laterculae coctiles by Pliny; the papyrus which seems to have been also employed has perished.
This double method of writing words arises from the circumstance that the cuneiform syllabary is of non-Semitic origin, the system being derived from the non-Semitic settlers of the Euphrates valley, commonly termed Sumerians (or Sumero-Akkadians), to whom, as the earlier settlers, the origin of the cuneiform script is due.
Yet, even in those days, the Babylonian syllabary continued to be a mixture of ideographic and phonetic writing.
In 1876 Sayce pointed out the resemblance between certain Hittite signs and characters in the lately deciphered Cypriote syllabary, and suggested that the comparison might lead to a beginning of decipherment; but the hope has proved vain.
To this day the spoken language of Japanese women is appreciably simpler and softer than that of the men, and to this day while the educated woman uses the hiragana syllabary in writing, eschews Chinese sords and rarel pens an ideograph, the educated man employs the ideograp entirely, and translates his thoughts as far as possible into thi mispronounced Chinese words without recourse -to which it would be impossible for him to discuss any scientific subject, or even tc refer to the details of his daily business.
It is doubtful ness, smallness whether they classified the signs of the huge hieroglyphic syllabary with any strictness.
From the fact that upon the Galassi vase (unearthed at Cervetri, but probably aï¿½product of Caere), which is now in the Gregorian Museum of the Vatican, a syllabary is found along with one of the most archaic Greek alphabets, and that a similar combination was found upon the wall of a tomb at Colle, near Siena, it has been argued that syllabic preceded alphabetic writing in Italy.
But a syllabary where each syllable is made by the combinations of a symbol for a consonant with that for a vowel can furnish no proof of the existence of a syllabary in the strict sense, where each symbol represents a syllable; it is rather evidence against the existence of such writing.
The syllabary upon the Galassi vase indicates in all probability that the vase, which resembles an ink-bottle, belonged to a child, for whose edification the syllables pa, pi, pe, pu and the rest were intended.
Evidence of continuity comes from the peculiar Cypriote script, a syllabary related to the linear scripts of Crete and the south Aegean, and traceable in Cyprus to the Mycenaean age.'
The Ethiopic system is thus rather a syllabary than an alphabet.