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syllabary

[sil-uh-ber-ee] /ˈsɪl əˌbɛr i/
noun, plural syllabaries.
1.
a list or catalog of syllables.
2.
a set of written symbols, each of which represents a syllable, used to write a given language:
the Japanese syllabary.
Origin
1580-1590
1580-90; < New Latin syllabārium. See syllable, -ary
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for syllabary
  • Each symbol stands for a syllable, which is why this type of alphabet is called a syllabary.
British Dictionary definitions for syllabary

syllabary

/ˈsɪləbərɪ/
noun (pl) -baries
1.
a table or list of syllables
2.
a set of symbols used in certain writing systems, such as one used for Japanese, in which each symbol represents a spoken syllable
Word Origin
C16: from New Latin syllabārium, from Latin syllabasyllable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for syllabary

a set of written symbols used to represent the syllables of the words of a language. Writing systems that use syllabaries wholly or in part include Japanese, Cherokee, the ancient Cretan scripts (Linear A and Linear B), and various Indic and cuneiform writing systems. Some syllabaries include separate symbols for each possible syllable that may occur in the language; others use a system of consonant symbols that include an inherent vowel. In the former type of syllabary, for example, there will be separate symbols representing ka, ke, ki, ko, and ku; whereas in the latter type of syllabary a symbol for ka might be paired with a symbol for the vowel e to represent ke but would stand alone when it represented ka. Other types of syllabaries combine syllabic symbols to represent syllables for which there is no one symbol; in such systems, for example, there may be symbols for ka, ke, ki, etc., but no symbols for kan, ken, kin, etc. Syllables of this latter type might be represented in such a system by combining the symbol for ka with that for an to form kan (ka-an), the symbol for ke with that for en to form ken (ke-en), etc.

Learn more about syllabary with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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