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Preview of a New Non-Linear, Morpho-Phonemic Writing System

From:John Quijada <jq_ithkuil@...>
Date:Saturday, October 22, 2005, 21:48
I've been working as time permits on what was supposed to be only a
revision of Ithkuil’s morpho-phonology, however, it is rapidly turning
into an entirely new conlang, as it is beginning to display unexpected
variances, enhancements, consolidations and rearrangements of Ithkuil

At any rate, I've been looking for a way to "raise the level" of the
morpho-phonemic principle behind the existing Ithkuil script so that it
operates beyond a single linear, sequential dimension, but is rather more
of a morphological "map" of a sentence. As a result, I have come up with a
radically new script which operates on three different levels: actual
characters which in turn are presented within overlapping "cartouches"
whose shapes convey grammatical information, while both characters and
cartouches would in turn be made up of any combination of three colors
reducible to white, black and gray (to accommodate color-blind readers,
monochrome display, engravings, etc.). The colors also convey grammatical
information. The total system would be even more morpho-phonemic than the
current Ithkuil script. In fact, it would carry very little purely
phonemic information at all, being almost entirely a visual representation
of the morphological analysis of each sentence, i.e., essentially an
intralinear analysis.

In the examples below, each of the four groupings would represent an
entire sentence, so that the picture as whole represents a "paragraph."
Each cartouche and it's enclosed symbols, more or less corresponds to a
single word in the spoken language, although, being primarily
morphological representations rather than phonological, the correspondence
is definitely not one-to-one.

Here is the first example above showing a flat monochromatic version, as
it would appear in texts:

Here is the same paragraph presented in a fancy artistic version which
would lend itself to being made into ornamental wall hangings or
sculptural hanging collages made of metal, fine wood, and mother-of-pearl,
marble or glass inlays for the characters, etc.:

At this point, I only have the general principles mapped out and haven't
yet assigned the individual morphological values to each component.
Nevertheless, it is far enough along for me to present this diagram giving
a high-level explanation of how the system works:

I am also working on a handwritten form of the script, sort of similar to
the way "demotic" writing was derived from hieroghlyphics.

The hexagonal based characters within the cartouches are inspired by the
brief example of a writing system shown in an old Star Trek episode of
the "Sheliak" language, which I've always admired, although I have
switched the "axis" of the characters from horizontal to vertical.

For newer members unfamiliar with Ithkuil, it is at

--John Quijada


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>