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
> motif - e.g. stems and loops. But as much as I stretch my brains, I
> 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
> It's very distracting; I really should be learning quantum mechanics
> 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
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