For example, below is a spelling alphabet where each word begins with the letter it represents, but none of the letters have their usual phonetic values
amiyara-), certain scribes were confused by erstwhile phonetic values, and by associating PAP = P[A.
In the absence of hard evidence, it is difficult to argue that PAP ever took on a phonetic value /pa/ for the Hittite scribes.
The vowel and consonant, then, are not necessarily phonetic values
, but simply graphic values as well, or components of the written idea, or word.
While for Chinese characters one in principle only really knows the dialect pronunciation of today and their reconstructed phonetic values can solely claim dependability for the period of "Middle Chinese" (7th-13th cent.
One sees that the intransitive forms begin with a '- prefix, which is supposed to have the phonetic value of a laryngeal fricative or nasal, and that in the corresponding transitive/causative it is substituted with an s- prefix.
Jones does not ignore this fact (`in most instances descriptions are too inexact for us to come to certain conclusions about the precise vowel qualities referred to'; `we are never left with a completely clear or satisfying picture of the phonetic values
of the mid back vowels'), and this does, on a number of occasions, make his conclusions necessarily speculative, especially in terms of the level of detail he seeks to provide, as well as from the theoretical standpoints at times adopted.
Each chapter begins with a short description of the language at the relevant times, and then gives phonetic values
and a commentary for each written letter and the salient combinations.
He says at the outset that he considers the early Chinese rhyming groups (yunbu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) an inadequate tool of analysis and "our current state of knowledge about early Chinese phonology does not allow us to assign specific phonetic values
to" them (p.
The underlying assumption is that the system is based on some actual, spoken form of Chinese and that the phonology of that speech form is recoverable by determining the phonetic values underlying each ChYS category.
But that very uncertainty casts doubt on the insistent efforts of earlier scholars to assign phonetic values to the system.