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Scripting was Re: Pablo is back, Job, Argentina, Relay, Lord of the Rings

From:Peter Clark <pc451@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 15, 2002, 15:46
--- Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...> wrote:
> But what I really want is a 'combinatoric' > script like JRRT's tengwar - one which is based on a recurring > graphical > motif - e.g. stems and loops. But as much as I stretch my brains, I > can't > quite imagine one that would look as nice as the tengwar. ;(
It's your decision, of course, but I would recommend against a combinatoric script, as it violates a key principle for clear and easy-to-read scripts: maximum distinction. As one wise sage once quipped, the elves must have suffered terribly from dyslexia. If you don't want a clear, distict script (this could be a legitimate choice), ignore the following. - Use a wide variety of forms and shapes. Tolkien used, for the most part, straight lines and curves that were identical, just arranged in different fashions. A maximally distict script would use many different shapes, not just orientation. - Use different regions of the available letter space. Imagine that the possible field for a letter is a box (or a circle, or a triangle, or whatever). In Latin scripts, this box tends to be (roughly) three times the height of the average letter. That means that you can extend downwards with qypg or upwards with tidfhklb or both with j. You also find wide divergence between "skinny" letters like i and horizontally challenged letters like m. - Scripting is an artform. The reason Tengwar looks nice is not because it is combinatoric script, but because Tolkien had a good aesthetic eye. If you don't have an artistic eye, the best way to develop one is to look at lots of different scripts. The internet is your friend--there are lots of sites out there that feature different scripts. DON'T look at individual letter forms. DO look at large bodies of texts. Remember, when reading, your eye does not pick up individual letters but word patterns. You recognize "word" not because you look at each letter w-o-r-d but because your brain recognizes the resulting shape that the four letters produce. What attracts your eyes? What puts you off? Do you like complex forms? Simple? Do a little research on the history of alphabetic systems. See what gets preserved and what gets ditched along the way. <rant>I personally find Cyrillic rather difficult at times, especially if the typesetting is poor. The letters for sh, shch, ts, i, p, and n can all run together if placed too close to each other. And don't get me started on handwriting! I forget which, but there is a Russian word that when written cursively is little more that "UUUUUUUU" or something like that (as best as I can represent handwriting in ASCII text).</rant>
> It's very distracting; I really should be learning quantum mechanics > and > looking for a job (unrelated activities, I should say...)
Something more important than conlanging? Nonsense. Sir, we will have to ask you to leave this list immediately. And take your heretical ideas with you! :) Seriously, nothing is unrelated to conlanging, because conlanging is language, and if you can't express something something, or even a part of something, then you've discovered something very rare and quite special. :Peter __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send FREE video emails in Yahoo! Mail!


Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
And Rosta <a.rosta@...>