Creating a genuinely original conscript is *hard* (unless you're Serali
what exactly is "hard" about it? Sooner or later, if you choose to go with an angular, carved-in-stone runelike writing system, you're going to end up with shapes that look something like Cirith or Futhark or old Turkic runes. An all curvy system will bring you into the land of Burmese.
That was precisely my point; note my use of the phrase "genuinely original". If you're not worried about originality, none of what I said applies.
I didn't say I wasn't worried about originality! Mm, perhaps we should clarify: what do yóu mean by "genuinely original"? I don't have a problem with writing systems like Deseret or Cherokee that borrow from other alphabets but use the letters in strange and wonderful ways. So perhaps we're just not agreeing on what counts as "original". I see those as rather original productions, even though some letter forms are lifted right out of English or Greek or Runic alphabets.
I guess if all the letter shapes must be completely original and never-before-conceived, then yeah, I can see how that might be difficult (if not impossible).
Even the person you mention ends up with loads of writing systems that look very much like or is reminiscent of either some natural writing system or else one of her own previous ones. I don't think this detracts from the originality --- it just goes to show that there are only so many simple shapes that can be put into play when devising an alphabet!
What you do with those rather limited palettes is where the real originality comes in.
Take the example I showed. There's nothing "original" about it --- I don't think there's a stroke in there in that doesn't exist in some Chinese character. The originality lies in what I did with that palette of strokes: I applied them to the various basic shapes of trees in The World and in the regions where the speakers of this language live (some of which are very similar to trees *here* in the primary world, others are quite different).
I think the question ought more to be: if so many natural writing systems break with these principles, how truly useful are they for a glossopoet to follow?
Thank you for blowing my theories completely out of the water
Sorry! I guess I was put off by what appeared to be absolutes. Anytime someone comes up with an "every conlanger does X" or "creating Y is genuinely", well, I guess I take it as something of a challenge to be overcome.
It's very nice! (The Tree Script)
As for finding a better term to replace "conscript", would anyone give "scriptie" serious consideration? Oh well, I thought not.
HOWEVER, there may still be something in what I was trying to elucidate. Consider:
- How stable would a hand-written script be which was made up solely of graphemes resembling i m n u v w and variants thereof?
- The Tengwar are sometimes, and not without reason, criticised for being too similar to one another.
- "Lowercase won; it is less dense and has more distinctive letterforms" from here
1. I think perhaps fairly stable --- after all, literate folks in Europe did just that for a good many centuries: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/412431278349397053/
, though I've seen some rather worse examples, too! I admit to inventing a script of that sort
with lots of letters that involve loads of vertical strokes.
2. Yes, I've seen that criticism as well. I wonder though: did these critics understand what "featural script" means? In other words, letters being similar to one another can be a design feature, too!
3. Agree. It's what lets me read English as ideograms --- where "c - a - t" is viewed not as three distinct letters with three (or four) distinct sounds that make up a unique word, but rather where the whole three-character-unit is seen as an icon or symbol which names the thing it's associated with. Kind of like a rebus, except all the little pictures are drawn with letters. Leastways, that's how I
read, and yes it's much easier for me to read lower case text at speed this way than all upper case text.
And as for your original statements, I didn't mean to shove them aside entirely!
1. It should not be too "complicated", i.e. there shouldn't be too many separate strokes in any given grapheme. Obviously, "too many" for an ideographic script is larger than for an alphabetic script.
2. The graphemes should, in general, be as distinct from each other as necessary. This is analogous to the principle of dispersion in the vowel-space.
There is nothing invalid about these statements as design principles. Except, perhaps, for the over-generalising tendency in the verbiage (my first thought is always going to be "well, why on earth wòuldn't a graphopoet want to make the most byzantine writing-spelling system she can possibly devise!?"), I think these statements are fine.
Depends on what direction one wants to go with a writing system. Sometimes simple and distinct will exhibit more merit than than mazy and ungothroughsome.