Poll

In general, do you prefer Precise, "Lego," or Logographic Scripts? (see below for expl.)

Precise
0 (0%)
Lego
3 (50%)
Logographic
3 (50%)

Total Members Voted: 6

Author Topic: Alphabets and Scripts Poll  (Read 769 times)

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Offline Stranger Come Knocking

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Alphabets and Scripts Poll
« on: April 09, 2015, 07:38:33 pm »
This kind of occurred to me and I wanted to see what you all thought.  I'm sure there are fancy linguistic terms for all of this, but here are my little definitions.

Precise Script - Basically, a symbol for every sound, and a sound for every symbol.
Example: e is bet, é is bait, ĕ is boy and so on.
Pros: Very easy to read once you know the alphabet and the sounds.
Cons: Your alphabet ends up sixty letters long with a bunch of little doodles above or below most letters.

Lego Script - Rearrange letters to make different sounds, a single letter may have ten sounds depending on what precedes or follows.
Example: e is bet, ei is bait, euy is boy and so on.
Pros: Allows for greater flexibility in pronunciation.
Cons: You have no idea how to say any word you don't know.

Logographic - Like Chinese, instead of having an "alphabet" you have characters to represent ideas.
Example: Chinese.  But I don't speak Chinese.
Pros: Can be very beautiful and precise.
Cons: No idea how to pronounce new characters or figure out what they could mean.

What types of scripts work best for different language types?  Would a Semitic-based language do better with one script or the other; would a Germanic-based language do well with something else?  Is it all vocabulary-based or does grammar play a role also?

Furthermore, should you develop a con-script before or after the Latinized (or Cyrillic, whatever your base is) alphabet?  How does this change your "familiar" script?

Curious to see what you guys think.

Edit: Forgot about Logograms.  Added.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 07:49:27 pm by Stranger Come Knocking »


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Offline Vawmataw

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Re: Alphabets and Scripts Poll
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2015, 08:53:45 pm »
I chose Lego, but I would vote precize instead. To not end up with 1 billion diacritical letters in your alphabet, you can add some rules (ex.: it is pronounced differently before this letter).

The logographics (or the ideograms) seem to be a good idea, but it's a load of work. Anyway, way long ago, the writing systems used characters to express ideas (and sounds?) instead of sounds only.
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Offline 阿波

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Re: Alphabets and Scripts Poll
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2015, 12:34:00 am »
No idea how to pronounce new characters or figure out what they could mean.
I'm still learning Chinese (Taiwanese Mandarin), but I have to disagree. When you know 家 (jia1), you can approximate the pronunciation of 嫁 (jia4); if you know 俄 (e4), you can approximate the pronunciation of 餓 (e4), etc. The phono-semantic characters aren't always pronounced exactly the same, but can surely be of much help (and keep in mind most people learning Hanzi already can speak Chinese). As for the meaning, there's always context, and you don't have too much of a chance at guessing meaning of words you don't know the morphemes of, even in your European languages. Nor in some cases can you exactly guess their pronunciation.

PS.: Additional benefit is that they're fairly concise. IIRC an average English words is written with ~5 characters, and most of the time followed by a space. In Mandarin it's much closer to 2 characters, and spaces aren't really used much.

Offline Zikhnafemk

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Re: Alphabets and Scripts Poll
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 12:36:40 pm »
I think it’s worth pointing out that there’s no objective definition for “sound”; it might seem obvious to an English speaker (as opposed to a Japanese speaker, for example) that the syllables cha and chi are not simple units because one can analyze them as one element in common plus one distinct element, but then the English speaker could turn around to hear a phonetician say that actually the ch sound is not a simple unit either but rather a sequence of a t sound and a sh sound. (Not to mention that a well-designed alphabet [e.g. Tolkien’s Tengwar] can indicate the simultaneous phonetic variables that define each chronically “indivisible” unit so that you need only a small palette of arbitrary forms that can be combined to yield all “sixty” of them.) And of course the Chinese speaker is standing there wondering why one would bother trying to split a word into meaningless noises even if it were possible to divide up the speech stream like that objectively.

No idea how to pronounce new characters or figure out what they could mean.
I'm still learning Chinese (Taiwanese Mandarin), but I have to disagree. When you know 家 (jia1), you can approximate the pronunciation of 嫁 (jia4); if you know 俄 (e4), you can approximate the pronunciation of 餓 (e4), etc. The phono-semantic characters aren't always pronounced exactly the same, but can surely be of much help (and keep in mind most people learning Hanzi already can speak Chinese). As for the meaning, there's always context, and you don't have too much of a chance at guessing meaning of words you don't know the morphemes of, even in your European languages. Nor in some cases can you exactly guess their pronunciation.

PS.: Additional benefit is that they're fairly concise. IIRC an average English words is written with ~5 characters, and most of the time followed by a space. In Mandarin it's much closer to 2 characters, and spaces aren't really used much.
This. Also, Chinese characters were originally pictures and therefore to a significant degree more semantically transparent; considering how many millennia they’ve been in use, it’s quite remarkable how little they’ve changed. Of course if you have a phonetic system, you have to adjust it every few centuries to keep up with the inevitable change in spoken language; if you have a logography, it not only enables modern speakers to read ancient texts as if the language had hardly changed at all but also makes it easier for foreigners whose language uses the same system to make sense of a text without having learned the words of the language. If you ignore the helpful phonetic hints embedded in it, a logography is an independent replacement for the oral medium, as opposed to a transcription of it, and that makes it more appropriate for communication with beings who cannot use the oral medium (deaf humans, aliens, etc.); a logography makes the written language legitimate in itself.

One thing that speaks for phonetic systems though is that they’re better for representing inflected forms; the reason Japanese developed a complementary syllabary instead of simply preserving the logography it had borrowed from Chinese as such is that, unlike Chinese, it actually has endings for case and tense and whatnot, so it has to be possible to write the same word in several different ways. (Come to think of it, though, you could theoretically have a logography where the individual characters can be altered in much the same way as spoken words… I suppose the Rikchik language is like that, but that would be analogous to merely agglutinative suffixes and prefixes as opposed to infixes or a really integrated Semitic-type system… I’ve never heard of anyone making a pure logography accommodate inflection of that intensity… *rubs hands*)


I think you should totally develop the con-script as soon as possible. I generally use the IPA when I’m developing a phonology, but I’ve realized that that way I’m actually susceptible to the influence of biased notions about what are “basic” sounds. For example, I’ve used the retroflex implosive before because there’s a symbol for that even though there’s no known language that actually uses it, but the lateral ejective palatal affricate (which very well could exist as far as I know) has never made it because there isn’t even a proper basic symbol to which you could apply all the relevant diacritics. At least I personally want a nice visual association for every phoneme; it makes the taste of the words more vivid. Therefore I would suggest developing a phonetic system ad hoc for every language at least for your own private use even if the official writing system (if it even has one) is a logography or whatever.
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