Questions tagged [writing-systems]

Questions relating to the use of writing systems, both natural and invented, as relevant to conlangs.

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29 votes
1 answer
8k views

Is the alien writing in "Arrival" really a language? Can we form custom sentences?

Here are few examples of words written in the alien language from "Arrival" (film): Image source: Pinterest. Does this alien writing have some logic in order to construct some custom meaningful ...
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19 votes
3 answers
1k views

Klingon: does anyone actually use pIqaD, or is the Latin transliteration sufficient?

Having just started the Duolingo Klingon course, I'm wondering if anybody is using the Klingon writing system (pIqaD) at all, or whether the Latin transliteration is always used? As the characters ...
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18 votes
1 answer
488 views

How can boustrophedon writing systems be published?

Boustrophedon writing systems are ones in which the direction of writing swaps after each line. At least one conlang is intended to be written as a boustrophedon (in that case vertically.) Now if ...
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16 votes
3 answers
401 views

How could a syllabary be adapted for a language with a complex syllable structure?

By definition, a syllabary has separate glyphs for each possible syllable (and usually unrelated or at least not systematically related ones for similar syllables, unlike alphasyllabaries). This ...
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15 votes
1 answer
534 views

Was Tolkien aware of the Voynich manuscript?

Looking at the Tengwar script designed by Tolkien I feel a certain similarity to the unknown script of the Voynich manuscript: Many characters look very similar to others of the same script, and there ...
14 votes
2 answers
671 views

Is there a specific term for a constructed writing system purportedly used for a conlang but actually for a natlang?

Many constructed writing systems are purportedly used to write conlangs, but in reality are actually used to write English or another natlang. For example, omniglot.com says that Kryptonian is "a ...
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13 votes
4 answers
838 views

Are there any "unspeakable" languages?

Sorry, my title is slightly misleading; what I'm after is more like a written language that doesn't have its roots in spoken language, and has no definitive translation into speech, but is none-the-...
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12 votes
6 answers
482 views

How to describe a purely symbolic writing system?

Before I jump headlong into constructing a language, I'd like to do some research and see what others have done before me and learn from their experiences/mistakes. The keywords I'm currently using ...
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12 votes
1 answer
582 views

Is any of the Wakandan writing in Black Panther used for something other than English?

For the film Black Panther production designer Hannah Beachler created a Wakandan writing system partially based on real African writing systems. Well that's what this and other news articles say, but ...
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12 votes
1 answer
227 views

With the death of CSUR, has there been any new Unicode proposal for con-scripts?

The CSUR (ConScript Unicode Registry) is — or, rather, with its last update in 2008, was — a project "to coordinate the assignment of blocks out of the Unicode Private Use Area (E000-F8FF and 000F0000-...
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11 votes
2 answers
541 views

Is the Klingon alphabet inspired by Tibetan alphabet?

Is the Klingon alphabet inspired by Tibetan alphabet? Because they look similar..
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11 votes
1 answer
755 views

What do double consonants specify in Esperanto?

The Esperanto word for 'Finland' is Finnlando. What does the doubled consonant specify? The Esperanto alphabet is phonemic. Why are there two consonants? Is it gemination (which doesn't appear often ...
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10 votes
5 answers
1k views

Is there a middle-written language?

Real languages I am aware of several types of writing systems. The first one would be left to right and a prime example is English and also most of other languages, no matter if they use letters or ...
10 votes
3 answers
205 views

How can I format a dictionary that mixes vertical and horizontal scripts?

My conlang Atili is written in a vertical script. I'm having a hard time trying to imagine how to write out words in the Atili script within my dictionary. This is important because Atili spelling is ...
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10 votes
1 answer
304 views

Organizing a lexicon in a logographic writing system

A little background before my question: I am an amateur in mid-development of a logographic writing system, not necessarily a whole language with phonetics. As I develop, I don't so much care about ...
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9 votes
4 answers
323 views

How can I avoid "relexing" punctuation?

I'm trying to design a conscript for my conlang Atili and would like to create punctuation in order to deliminate sentences and transcribe limited prosody. However, I don't just want to create new ...
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9 votes
4 answers
1k views

Are there any Conlangs using Chinese characters?

The Chinese character system is one that is universal to many Chinese dialects. Two people can pronounce the same character in two different ways, but when writing to each other it is intelligible. ...
9 votes
5 answers
450 views

Finding inspiration for letter forms?

I believe I've mentioned before on here how I struggle to come up with forms for letters. I've tried to solve this by looking at other systems. Despite the diversity in our world, I've found it ...
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9 votes
2 answers
237 views

How to model the change of script over time

I want two languages to share a root but I want them to look unrecognizable written down (with the original language having a written form, so not independently created writing systems). Are there any ...
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9 votes
2 answers
252 views

Mixed writing systems - which words should have their own symbols?

Assume that a conlang is written partially with an alphabet and partially with pictograms. The idea is to have something like the Japanese writing system. Does it follows the structure of natlangs ...
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9 votes
1 answer
287 views

Is there a stroke order for any of the Klingon alphabets?

Is there an order in which you write the strokes making up a letter belonging to the Klingon alphabet (apart from the Latin alphabet)? Are letters from Klingon alphabets intended to be written ...
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

How would having a logographic writing system work in a conlang?

Creating a logographic writing system for a language can quickly become overwhelming; having a different symbol/image for each word can quickly become overwhelming; it’s why Sequoyah switched to a ...
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7 votes
4 answers
579 views

How to choose a writing system for a conlang?

When one creates a conlang, it notionally has its own writing system (although in many cases actually working out the writing system is ignored, and everything is simply done in transliteration). If ...
7 votes
2 answers
348 views

What are resources for conlangers designing a knot writing?

I have not encountered many con-scripts encoding information in knots, rather than by marking flat media. I imagine that many conlangers would enjoy the inspiration of Andean khipus, which, going back ...
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7 votes
2 answers
105 views

Examples of the combination of 2 independent symbolic scripts

I am looking for examples real or con, of two foreign symbolic scripts being made into a hybrid language/script. In my case I wish to see about making a hybrid 15th century Aztec-Chinese Hybrid ...
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6 votes
4 answers
623 views

I'm constructing a language with some rather hard-to-produce symbols. Computer or paper?

My constructed language has 26 English letters and 30 special characters (plus four different accent marks.) The characters are slightly abstract. The closest I've gotten to producing them is with ...
6 votes
6 answers
752 views

Could you have a language with only three words?

Don't immediately dismiss this! Just give me a moment to explain and you might realize it's an idea that might have merit, especially considering the question title is a little misleading. Also, I'm ...
6 votes
2 answers
135 views

Creation of Alphabets

If the creation of languages ​​is called language invention what is the creation of writing systems called? I don't think it's called Lettering because when I search for that on the net, I see that ...
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6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there a toki pona hieroglyphics font?

For the toki pona language there is a writing system where each word is replaced by a single logogram or hieroglyph. There is also a web-based converter which allows you to enter a text in toki pona ...
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6 votes
1 answer
43 views

What glyph to pick from alternatives in Kēlen script?

The Kēlen alphabet as given on https://www.terjemar.net/kelen/writing.php shows variants for some letters. Here is an example: Are there rules on when to pick which form?
5 votes
5 answers
316 views

Can entire words be silent?

Most people will be familiar with the idea that naturalistic spelling can be tricky. Some examples of natlangs with annoying spelling that come to mind are English ("ough" can be pronounced /...
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5 votes
3 answers
340 views

Is there any importance of "dots" while constructing alphabets for a language?

In English, there is a little dot over small letters of i and j. I am not sure what that dot signifies to - pronunciation or sound. In Gujarati, Hindi and Sanskrit languages, there happens to be dot ...
5 votes
3 answers
163 views

Which character is best to use for a schwa? Ь or Ъ?

Cyrillic for English - (Сарилик фоьр Иңглиш) is an adapted Cyrillic orthography to write English using ь as schwa, so 'sofa' would be written 'соьфь'. Does ь make sense as a schwa or is ъ better? The ...
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5 votes
1 answer
80 views

How to Indicate Idea Flow

Are there any other schemes to indicate the flow of words/thoughts in writing? (Outside of what I have researched.) I am specifically asking about how languages present complete grammatical statements ...
5 votes
1 answer
88 views

Are there any constructed languages designed with a constructed script, both aiming to be international and auxiliary?

Hangul is a beautiful constructed script, used to write the natural languages of Korean, Jeju, Hokkien, and Cia-Cia, perhaps others. The shape of the letters mimic the shape of the mouth, and a ...
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4 votes
3 answers
503 views

Simplified Version of IPA?

In IPA, the sounds of many symbols are so close that they are indistinguishable to me! For example, [bʊk], [ɓʊk], or [βʊk]. Even though they do have some minor differences, but all a listener like me ...
4 votes
2 answers
139 views

How do you determine a New Letter's sound?

I'm trying to create a new language, but I need some advice. How do you determine what a new letter sounds like? Is there a pattern, or do I just make it up?
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4 votes
2 answers
347 views

Has anybody created an Arabic inspired shorthand for english?

I'm thinking of a system where all fricatives look similar to each other, all plosives look similar, etc; the same base shape could be used for similar sounds using the dots placed above/below letters ...
  • 449
3 votes
2 answers
180 views

Has anyone made image based languages?

This is my first visit here. I have been writing machine/computer languages for about 8 years now. I am completely self taught and use my own tools. I have many languages that I have completed that ...
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3 votes
1 answer
173 views

what real world language does this look like?

This isn't really about a conlang, it's an alternative orthography but I didn't know where else to ask it. I found an alternative orthography for english called 'EBEO'(Even Better English Orthography)...
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2 votes
3 answers
84 views

What uncommon letters are there? [closed]

I have made an alphabet, but I think that I need to add more letters. I don't want to invent random letters. Is there a letter that doesn't exist in most other languages? My language's alphabet has 16 ...
2 votes
2 answers
373 views

Brahmic conscript with European style [closed]

The scripts of South Asia (i.e. the Indian subcontinent), e.g. Devanagari, and Southeast Asia, e.g. Thai, are almost all derived from the Brahmic script. They show gradual visual relationships and ...
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2 votes
3 answers
136 views

How to distinguish [i] from [iː] in Cyrillic

Renglish/Рэнглиш (not mine) is an adaptation of Cyrillic for English. Most of the sounds seem ok, but how would you normally differentiate [i] in bit from the [iː] in beet using Cyrillic or would they ...
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1 vote
1 answer
82 views

International Language [closed]

I was reading International Auxiliary Language, but I don't like their setups. Because, mostly, they use Latin alphabets! And that, my friends, cause confusions! No matter what the letter was ...
-4 votes
2 answers
199 views

Is Russian a constructed language?

It is regulated directively by authorities even more strictly than programming languages! E.g. During the reform of 1918 they just forbade letter Ъ аnd removed all those letters! In some cases letter ...