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Writing system, not sure which one to use.
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Author:  caters [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Writing system, not sure which one to use.

So, still working on that Keplerian Proto-Arab language but 1 question I have is, what writing system to use. I want it to be Arabic based when it comes to the characters but not written in the same type of system as Arabic.

Here are the writing systems I know of:

Abjad
Image

An abjad is a writing system where vowels aren't letters in their own right but are either particles near the consonant that aren't actually attached to it(impure abjad) or just don't exist and context is needed for someone to know what vowels to use(pure abjad). 2 languages that I know use abjads are Arabic and Hebrew.

If I'm using an abjad with Arabic based characters, even if the grammar isn't similar to Arabic at all, I am basically making a knockoff of Arabic, not good in my opinion for a conlang to just be a knockoff of a single natlang.

Abugida
Image

In an abugida, vowels also aren't letters in their own right but are modifications attached to the consonant like diacritics. This is commonly used in India and Southeast Asia. Abugidas are also sometimes called alphasyllabaries. I'm not sure how well this would work for an Arabic based writing system. I mean, if the whole thing is cursive and the vowel is attached like a diacritic, how would you tell whether you have just a consonant or a different consonant + a diacritic representing the vowel? Sure, you don't need context but still, I think it would be hard.

Syllabary
Image

A syllabary is a writing system where you have a symbol for every syllable. A famous example of that is Japanese. It actually has 2 syllabaries for the same sounds in different contexts. This could get complicated very fast. I mean in Japanese, it is mostly 2 letters per syllable when romanized in the form CV. But if my writing system is based off of Arabic characters, then I could see all these syllables occuring:

- CV, just like Japanese
- VC
- CVC
- CVCC
etc.

That would require hundreds of characters just for the syllables alone. I can't see that being very easy at all, never mind combining the syllables into words. And how am I supposed to represent 1 syllable with Arabic characters, especially with complicated syllables?

Logography
Image

Logographies, in my mind are even more complicated than a syllabary. Sure, you have fewer characters because each character = 1 word but only if the language is analytic and thus has very few long words. I plan for my language to be agluttinative or fusional. Both of these would have longer average words than analytic languages. How am I supposed to compound in a logography? It makes no sense. Even if I hybridized it into a logosyllabary where sometimes a character represents a word and other times it represents a syllable, it would still be complicated.

Alphabet
Image

Then of course there is the alphabet, where every character represents a phoneme. Some are featural like Korean where place of articulation and aspiration are shown in the letter itself and some aren't such as the Latin alphabet that is used for a lot of European languages and the Cyrillic alphabet used for languages related to Russian. This would be simple but in my mind, too simple since that means I could directly translate it character by character from Keplerian Proto-Arab to English and the other way around without even thinking about it because of the letter to phoneme correspondence.

So, what type of writing system should I use? An abugida maybe since that seems to be the least complicated and not a knockoff of Arabic or so easy to directly translate that I wouldn't need to think about it.

Author:  Vijay [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

caters wrote:
If I'm using an abjad with Arabic based characters, even if the grammar isn't similar to Arabic at all, I am basically making a knockoff of Arabic

What makes you think so? All kinds of languages have been written with Arabic-based characters: Persian, Pashto, Urdu, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese...
Quote:
Abugidas are also sometimes called alphasyllabaries. I'm not sure how well this would work for an Arabic based writing system. I mean, if the whole thing is cursive and the vowel is attached like a diacritic, how would you tell whether you have just a consonant or a different consonant + a diacritic representing the vowel? Sure, you don't need context but still, I think it would be hard.

Not sure what you mean. Are you saying you're not sure how well this could be used for representing Arabic? I think that would work pretty well.
Quote:
A syllabary is a writing system where you have a symbol for every syllable.

Not really. It's more like one symbol per mora. You might want to take a look at Ge'ez script, Amharic script, etc.

Author:  bbbosborne [ Tue May 01, 2018 10:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

also, it's totally an option to have a mixed system with mechanics from multiple different writing systems, which I recommend just cause it's more fun and interesting, both to make and have. just don't overdo it.

Author:  Torco [ Thu May 03, 2018 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

everyone knows the superior writing system is a syllabary-logogram mix, all else is shirking one's duty as conworlder

Author:  Salmoneus [ Fri May 04, 2018 9:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Torco wrote:
everyone knows the superior writing system is a syllabary-logogram mix, all else is shirking one's duty as conworlder


Nonsense! Alphalogography all the way!


[my idea I've had for ages: an underspecifying alphabet/abugida (so, say, KATINU could be 'katinu', 'kateno', 'katemo', 'gadengu', etc), but the letters are drawn from different alphabets depending on the meaning of the word. So, for instance, the English words 'moss' and 'mouse' might both be written 'MOS', but the first would use the 'plant' forms of the letters, and the latter would use the 'scurrying animal' forms of the letters. This may seem ridiculously cumbersome, but actually, if you had, say, 20 character values, and, say, 30 semantic areas, that's still only around 600 character forms to memorise - similar to a syllabary, and much fewer than a logography. It's easy to see how it could evolve, too: at the rebus stage, when people take logograms and use them for their phonetic values, simply let people use different rebuses for different topics. So, for instance, if you wanted to spell 'bat', you might rebus it as BIRD-AIR-TERN (for the winged animal, using the 'flying' alphabet), or as BRICK-ANVIL-TRUNK (for a cricket bat, using the 'heavy blunt objects' alphabet). At first these would be ad-hoc choices, but over time they'd be standardised into alphabets. Of course, there'd be complications: there'd be some rare alphabets only used in a few common words; there'd be semantic drift so some words used the 'wrong' alphabet; there'd be gaps, where they just couldn't think of a good rebus for certain letter in a particular alphabet, and just used something more generic. But I do think that such a system could in theory be practical and could evolve naturally!]

Author:  Hydroeccentricity [ Fri May 04, 2018 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

A is for apple, A is for Angry, A is for Arpeggio...

Author:  Travis B. [ Fri May 04, 2018 4:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

One thing to remember is that different scripts mix better than other scripts; for instance, it is easy to mix Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and even square scripts, whereas mixing Latin and Arabic scripts just does not really work; conversely, one might be able to mix Arabic and Serṭā scripts.

Author:  Ryan of Tinellb [ Sat May 05, 2018 1:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Hydroeccentricity wrote:
A is for apple, A is for Angry, A is for Arpeggio...

Sounds like the Thai alphabet, as I understand it from mildly flicking through a textbook one lunchtime at university.

Author:  xxx [ Sat May 05, 2018 2:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

many languages use imported writing systems ...
rarely a mix of several ...
for a naturalistic effect, why not an import of Arabic with minor adaptations to your conlang ...
For a more constructed effect, it's a question of finding a new system which makes it possible to maximize the possibilities of your conlang ...

Author:  Zaarin [ Sat May 05, 2018 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

xxx wrote:
For a more constructed effect, it's a question of finding a new system which makes it possible to maximize the possibilities of your conlang ...

The fact that Akkadian used Sumerian cuneiform for hundreds of years or that Middle Persian used Aramaic words as logograms suggests that "maximizing the possibilities" is rarely a high priority in selecting a script for most languages. :p

Author:  alynnidalar [ Mon May 07, 2018 9:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Salmoneus wrote:
Torco wrote:
everyone knows the superior writing system is a syllabary-logogram mix, all else is shirking one's duty as conworlder


Nonsense! Alphalogography all the way!


[my idea I've had for ages: an underspecifying alphabet/abugida (so, say, KATINU could be 'katinu', 'kateno', 'katemo', 'gadengu', etc), but the letters are drawn from different alphabets depending on the meaning of the word. So, for instance, the English words 'moss' and 'mouse' might both be written 'MOS', but the first would use the 'plant' forms of the letters, and the latter would use the 'scurrying animal' forms of the letters. This may seem ridiculously cumbersome, but actually, if you had, say, 20 character values, and, say, 30 semantic areas, that's still only around 600 character forms to memorise - similar to a syllabary, and much fewer than a logography. It's easy to see how it could evolve, too: at the rebus stage, when people take logograms and use them for their phonetic values, simply let people use different rebuses for different topics. So, for instance, if you wanted to spell 'bat', you might rebus it as BIRD-AIR-TERN (for the winged animal, using the 'flying' alphabet), or as BRICK-ANVIL-TRUNK (for a cricket bat, using the 'heavy blunt objects' alphabet). At first these would be ad-hoc choices, but over time they'd be standardised into alphabets. Of course, there'd be complications: there'd be some rare alphabets only used in a few common words; there'd be semantic drift so some words used the 'wrong' alphabet; there'd be gaps, where they just couldn't think of a good rebus for certain letter in a particular alphabet, and just used something more generic. But I do think that such a system could in theory be practical and could evolve naturally!]


That is an incredibly cool idea! Perhaps it could also arise/be strengthened if you had separate sets of symbols used for specific domains (e.g. one system arises for recording taxes [thus needing symbols for numbers and agricultural products], while another has to do with recording imports and exports of craft goods such as textiles and pottery, and another has religious/fortune-telling/etc. uses).

Author:  xxx [ Tue May 08, 2018 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Zaarin wrote:
The fact that Akkadian used Sumerian cuneiform for hundreds of years or that Middle Persian used Aramaic words as logograms suggests that "maximizing the possibilities" is rarely a high priority in selecting a script for most languages. :p

that's a naturalistic effect ...
naturalism by nature follows the sweetest slope following a slow evolution, unlike language makers who try to produce an out-of-the-box language of their brains ...

Author:  Sevly [ Wed May 09, 2018 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Salmoneus wrote:
my idea I've had for ages: an underspecifying alphabet/abugida [...] So, for instance, if you wanted to spell 'bat', you might rebus it as BIRD-AIR-TERN (for the winged animal, using the 'flying' alphabet), or as BRICK-ANVIL-TRUNK (for a cricket bat, using the 'heavy blunt objects' alphabet). [...] such a system could in theory be practical and could evolve naturally!
alynnidalar wrote:
That is an incredibly cool idea!

Agreed! Do it, do it!

Author:  Qwynegold [ Sun May 13, 2018 4:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Sevly wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
my idea I've had for ages: an underspecifying alphabet/abugida [...] So, for instance, if you wanted to spell 'bat', you might rebus it as BIRD-AIR-TERN (for the winged animal, using the 'flying' alphabet), or as BRICK-ANVIL-TRUNK (for a cricket bat, using the 'heavy blunt objects' alphabet). [...] such a system could in theory be practical and could evolve naturally!
alynnidalar wrote:
That is an incredibly cool idea!

Agreed! Do it, do it!

+3

Author:  Torco [ Wed May 16, 2018 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Salmoneus wrote:
Torco wrote:
everyone knows the superior writing system is a syllabary-logogram mix, all else is shirking one's duty as conworlder


Nonsense! Alphalogography all the way!

Heresy! alphalogography is too much contrast! it is like playing a double bass over a piccolo solo without anything in between.

I like this idea of glyphs differentiated by gender/noun class: its no sillier than UppErCasEs, and a lot cooler! a path for such a system to have followed might be for a language with just a few noun cases, such as spanish, to absorb like an abjad or something: then, scribes begin, say, writing serifs or other embelishments onto words to indicate if CQS means con queso or con quesa (maybe <imagine here squiggly letters for CQS*> for con quesa since those squiggly letters are more female or something). then the language absorbs or develops more noun classes, like how in english you raise the cow in saxon but eat it in french, and boom.

I like this notion... maybe i'll use it!
* apparently the board code doesn't like the kind of thing this sort of site gives you

Author:  Salmoneus [ Wed May 16, 2018 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Qwynegold wrote:
Sevly wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
my idea I've had for ages: an underspecifying alphabet/abugida [...] So, for instance, if you wanted to spell 'bat', you might rebus it as BIRD-AIR-TERN (for the winged animal, using the 'flying' alphabet), or as BRICK-ANVIL-TRUNK (for a cricket bat, using the 'heavy blunt objects' alphabet). [...] such a system could in theory be practical and could evolve naturally!
alynnidalar wrote:
That is an incredibly cool idea!

Agreed! Do it, do it!

+3


Thank you! But...

a) it's still a lot of symbols to create...
b) I'm not sure what language I'd want to do this with, but it's probably not one I've actually made (or even close to made)...
c) one day...

Torco: oh, are you not a fan of Rossini?

[for full extreme, try this Tchaikovsky arrangement for piccolo and contrabass clarinets...]

[honorable mention, from closer to your part of the world, for this Piazzolla arrangement, although the violin mostly stays out of the piccolo ranges most of the time...]

Author:  Torco [ Wed May 16, 2018 9:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Salmoneus wrote:
Torco: oh, are you not a fan of Rossini?
[for full extreme, try this Tchaikovsky arrangement for piccolo and contrabass clarinets...]
[honorable mention, from closer to your part of the world, for this Piazzolla arrangement, although the violin mostly stays out of the piccolo ranges most of the time...]

I knew I was going to get something like this out of that post ♡

though I must say, those are not precisely my cup of tea save for the two strings: that does work beautifully, perhaps cause its less stark of a difference: I just bought a 88 keyboard, so who knows, maybe i'll gain an appreciation for the contraposition of sounds many octaves apart after all... the clarinet one makes me think of the thing explained in

More: show
this adam neely video, basically that classical musicians aren't very good at phase locking / playing attacks very precisely because many classical instruments have long attacks anyway.

(warning, once you realize this, you can't un-notice it)

Oh, also an obvious implementation aspect of this idea would be to have only some glyphs have different versions for each of the genders, as opposed to all of them.

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