Writing system, not sure which one to use.

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Writing system, not sure which one to use.

Postby caters » 2018-05-01, 0:39

So, still working on that Keplerian Proto-Arab language but 1 question I have is, what writing system to use. I want it to be Arabic based when it comes to the characters but not written in the same type of system as Arabic.

Here are the writing systems I know of:


An abjad is a writing system where vowels aren't letters in their own right but are either particles near the consonant that aren't actually attached to it(impure abjad) or just don't exist and context is needed for someone to know what vowels to use(pure abjad). 2 languages that I know use abjads are Arabic and Hebrew.

If I'm using an abjad with Arabic based characters, even if the grammar isn't similar to Arabic at all, I am basically making a knockoff of Arabic, not good in my opinion for a conlang to just be a knockoff of a single natlang.


In an abugida, vowels also aren't letters in their own right but are modifications attached to the consonant like diacritics. This is commonly used in India and Southeast Asia. Abugidas are also sometimes called alphasyllabaries. I'm not sure how well this would work for an Arabic based writing system. I mean, if the whole thing is cursive and the vowel is attached like a diacritic, how would you tell whether you have just a consonant or a different consonant + a diacritic representing the vowel? Sure, you don't need context but still, I think it would be hard.


A syllabary is a writing system where you have a symbol for every syllable. A famous example of that is Japanese. It actually has 2 syllabaries for the same sounds in different contexts. This could get complicated very fast. I mean in Japanese, it is mostly 2 letters per syllable when romanized in the form CV. But if my writing system is based off of Arabic characters, then I could see all these syllables occuring:

- CV, just like Japanese
- VC

That would require hundreds of characters just for the syllables alone. I can't see that being very easy at all, never mind combining the syllables into words. And how am I supposed to represent 1 syllable with Arabic characters, especially with complicated syllables?


Logographies, in my mind are even more complicated than a syllabary. Sure, you have fewer characters because each character = 1 word but only if the language is analytic and thus has very few long words. I plan for my language to be agluttinative or fusional. Both of these would have longer average words than analytic languages. How am I supposed to compound in a logography? It makes no sense. Even if I hybridized it into a logosyllabary where sometimes a character represents a word and other times it represents a syllable, it would still be complicated.


Then of course there is the alphabet, where every character represents a phoneme. Some are featural like Korean where place of articulation and aspiration are shown in the letter itself and some aren't such as the Latin alphabet that is used for a lot of European languages and the Cyrillic alphabet used for languages related to Russian. This would be simple but in my mind, too simple since that means I could directly translate it character by character from Keplerian Proto-Arab to English and the other way around without even thinking about it because of the letter to phoneme correspondence.

So, what type of writing system should I use? An abugida maybe since that seems to be the least complicated and not a knockoff of Arabic or so easy to directly translate that I wouldn't need to think about it.

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