Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Divergent Scripts

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Saturday, August 31, 2002, 0:23
Arthaey Angosii writes:
 > When I started creating my first conlang, Asha'ille, the conscript I made
 > was obviously based on the Latin alphabet. Now that I've been exposed to
 > more conscripts, I want the Asha'illens to have their own unqiue script. As
 > far as the conhistory goes, their writing system should be based on the
 > ancestor language's script (which luckily isn't itself derived from the
 > Latin alphabet :).
 > I'd like to know how believable/likely it would be for them to develop two
 > totally different scripts that were both originally based on an alphabetic
 > script. I want one of the scripts to remain alphabetic, but I want the
 > second script to be like Chinese (what's this called? logographic?). I

Interesting.  I don't know of any case, historically, of an alphabetic
(or other phonetic) writing system becoming logographic, although it's
several times gone the other way.  Any specific thoughts on how this
would have come about?

As for totally different scripts descending from a common ancestor, as
a general principle that's entirely reasonable - look at the chart on
this page:

or the development of a character from Brahmi into various Indian

 > don't know the history of how/when/why the Chinese characters got a
 > Latin-alphabet tranliteration equivalent... could someone fill me in? Do I
 > need to have two geographically separated groups of Asha'illens for one of
 > them to create a logographic script from an alphabetic one?
 > Also, I really like having fonts for my conscripts. With an alphabetic
 > script it's very simple for me to make a font, but I don't know where to
 > start with a logographic one. Seems that however computers deal with
 > Chinese would work for me. How do you type Chinese characters? What are the
 > fonts like?

I believe you generally have software that allows you to enter the
phonetic representation and then choose the appropriate logogram from
a list of homonyms (or effective homomnyms, say, if there's no way of
entering tones at the keyboard).  Certainly systems of this kind are
standard for Japanese.  Chinese mechanical typewriters (there's a link
to a picture of one below) were extremely slow and complicated, and
have been rendered almost entirely obselete by such systems.

There are various font encodings for Chinese - I don't see why you
couldn't encode your script into one, but you'd probably have to write
your own software to enter text in a way that makes sense for your
language.  (Okay, you could probably find a way of entering character
codes directly, or picking them off a chart, but that'll be slow.)


Arthaey Angosii <arthaey@...>