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Syllabaries are best suited to languages with a relatively simple syllable structure, such as Japanese.
For instance, all sounds pronounced with the lips ("labial" sounds) may have some element in common.
A vast number of logograms are needed to write Chinese characters, cuneiform, and Mayan, where a glyph may stand for a morpheme, a syllable, or both—("logoconsonantal" in the case of hieroglyphs).
Many logograms have an ideographic component (Chinese "radicals", hieroglyphic "determiners").
Writing systems based primarily on marking the consonant phonemes alone date back to the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt.
Such systems are called abjads, derived from the Arabic word for "alphabet".
An alphabet is a set of symbols, each of which represents or historically represented a phoneme of the language.