For the last few days I have been dabbling in the Shavian alphabet. If you haven’t heard of Shavian before, it’s a phonetic alphabet designed in the 1960s specifically to represent English. I wrote a wiki page with more information about it for the curious.
What this experience reminds me of is the alphabet I invented for myself as a teenager. Have I ever mentioned I did that? Unfortunately I no longer remember all the letters, but it was a system where a single “character block” represented a whole syllable. I didn’t have explicit knowledge of English phonotactics then so my sistem wasn’t perfect, but the vowel would occupy the middle third of the block, the onset would be at the top (with liquids and semivowels represented by a diacritic), and the syllable coda at the bottom. I had a letter for “zero consonant” (because obviously not every syllable starts and ends with a consonant). I also invented a new letter for [ʃ], and I think another for [θ] and [ð] together, but otherwise didn’t cater to English phonemes too well, so my blocks got messy when I had to write diphthongs haha. Or the word “strength”. Nonetheless, I used my private little alphabet consistently for years whenever I wanted to daydream in class, writing my stories without any risk my classmates could look over my shoulder and laugh, or that the teacher might take it off me and read it to the class, etc.. I never reached a point where I could read back my own alphabet as fluently as I can Roman, but I got pretty fast considering the only place I ever saw these letters was my own notes.
Obviously the Shavian alphabet is not my own creation, and there are (a small number of) other people who know how to read it. However, Vivian sure doesn’t know how to read it, so as I’ve been practising by writing random crap in my notebook, I still get that feeling of writing in a secret code.
I’ll admit that there are some tricky things about it. A lot of the characters are the same as another character mirrored or rotated 180°, so there’s a lot of times I know the letter I want could be one of two things, lol. I’m not sure it’d make a good alphabet for dyslexics. For me the compound letters are also difficult, and because the majority of them are for rhotacised vowels and my accent is non-rhotic, I don’t even always remember to use them instead of the non-rhotic equivalents haha. But I’m trying, and overall I think the so-called “Androcles standard” finds a good compromise between North American and “southern” (Standard Southern British, southern hemisphere) standards… except that trying to unmerge the weak vowels (because in Shavian they’re supposed to be distinguished) is like Mission: Fucking Impossible to this Australian, lol.
So, there we have it! There’s no doubt that the part of me drawn to the Shavian alphabet is the same as the part of me drawn to auxlangs like Ido and Occidental. I guess you could say I have a super idealistic streak that cares little for how much practical use things have, and just wants to learn them because they’re really cool, and an improvement on established norms. (Indeed, it was actually through the auxlangs Discord that I rediscovered Shavian the other day.) Still, there’s no harm in that, and if anything quite the opposite, only upside, right? 😊
𐑓 𐑞 𐑤𐑭𐑕𐑑 𐑓𐑿 𐑛𐑱𐑟 𐑲 𐑣𐑨𐑝 𐑚𐑰𐑯 𐑛𐑨𐑚𐑤𐑦𐑙 𐑦𐑯 𐑞 𐑖𐑱𐑝𐑾𐑯 𐑨𐑤𐑓𐑩𐑚𐑧𐑑. 𐑦𐑓 𐑿 𐑣𐑨𐑝𐑩𐑯𐑑 𐑣𐑻𐑛 𐑝 𐑖𐑱𐑝𐑾𐑯 𐑚𐑩𐑓𐑹, 𐑦𐑑𐑕 𐑩 𐑓𐑩𐑯𐑧𐑑𐑦𐑒 𐑨𐑤𐑓𐑩𐑚𐑧𐑑 𐑛𐑩𐑟𐑲𐑯𐑛 𐑦𐑯 𐑞 1960𐑕 𐑕𐑐𐑩𐑕𐑦𐑓𐑦𐑒𐑤𐑦 𐑑 𐑮𐑧𐑐𐑮𐑩𐑟𐑧𐑯𐑑 𐑦𐑙𐑜𐑤𐑦𐑖. 𐑲 𐑮𐑴𐑑 𐑩 𐑢𐑦𐑒𐑦 𐑐𐑱𐑡 𐑢𐑦𐑞 𐑥𐑹 𐑦𐑯𐑓𐑼𐑥𐑱𐑖𐑩𐑯 𐑩𐑚𐑬𐑑 𐑦𐑑 𐑓 𐑞 𐑒𐑿𐑮𐑰𐑩𐑕.
𐑢𐑪𐑑 𐑞𐑦𐑕 𐑧𐑒𐑕𐑐𐑦𐑮𐑾𐑯𐑕 𐑮𐑦𐑥𐑲𐑯𐑛𐑟 𐑥𐑰 𐑝 𐑦𐑟 𐑞 𐑨𐑤𐑓𐑩𐑚𐑧𐑑 𐑲 𐑦𐑯𐑝𐑧𐑯𐑑𐑩𐑛 𐑓 𐑥𐑲𐑕𐑧𐑤𐑓 𐑨𐑟 𐑩 𐑑𐑰𐑯𐑱𐑡𐑼. 𐑣𐑨𐑝 𐑲 𐑧𐑝𐑼 𐑥𐑧𐑯𐑖𐑩𐑯𐑛 𐑲 𐑛𐑦𐑛 𐑞𐑨𐑑? 𐑳𐑯𐑓𐑹𐑑𐑿𐑯𐑩𐑑𐑮𐑦 𐑲 𐑯𐑴 𐑤𐑪𐑙𐑜𐑼 𐑮𐑦𐑥𐑧𐑥𐑚𐑼 𐑭𐑤 𐑞 𐑤𐑧𐑑𐑼𐑟, 𐑚𐑳𐑑 𐑦𐑑 𐑢𐑪𐑟 𐑩 𐑕𐑦𐑕𐑑𐑩𐑥 𐑢𐑺 𐑩 𐑕𐑦𐑙𐑜𐑤 “𐑒𐑨𐑮𐑩𐑒𐑑𐑼 𐑚𐑤𐑪𐑒” 𐑮𐑧𐑐𐑮𐑩𐑟𐑧𐑯𐑑𐑩𐑛 𐑩 𐑣𐑴𐑤 𐑕𐑦𐑤𐑩𐑚𐑩𐑤. 𐑲 𐑛𐑦𐑛𐑩𐑯𐑑 𐑣𐑨𐑝 𐑧𐑒𐑕𐑐𐑤𐑦𐑕𐑦𐑑 𐑯𐑪𐑤𐑦𐑡 𐑝 𐑦𐑙𐑜𐑤𐑦𐑖 𐑓𐑪𐑯𐑩𐑑𐑨𐑒𐑑𐑦𐑒𐑕 𐑞𐑧𐑯 𐑕𐑴 𐑥𐑲 𐑕𐑦𐑕𐑑𐑩𐑥 𐑢𐑪𐑟𐑩𐑯𐑑 𐑐𐑻𐑓𐑩𐑒𐑑, 𐑚𐑳𐑑 𐑞 𐑝𐑬𐑤 𐑢𐑫𐑛 𐑪𐑒𐑿𐑐𐑲 𐑞 𐑥𐑦𐑛𐑩𐑤 𐑔𐑻𐑛 𐑝 𐑞 𐑚𐑤𐑪𐑒, 𐑞 𐑪𐑯𐑕𐑧𐑑 𐑢𐑫𐑛 𐑚𐑰 𐑨𐑑 𐑞 𐑑𐑪𐑐 (𐑢𐑦𐑞 𐑤𐑦𐑒𐑢𐑦𐑛𐑟 𐑯 𐑕𐑧𐑥𐑦𐑝𐑬𐑤𐑟 𐑮𐑧𐑐𐑮𐑩𐑟𐑧𐑯𐑑𐑩𐑛 𐑚𐑲 𐑩 𐑛𐑲𐑩𐑒𐑮𐑦𐑑𐑦𐑒), 𐑯 𐑞 𐑕𐑦𐑤𐑩𐑚𐑩𐑤 𐑒𐑴𐑛𐑩 𐑨𐑑 𐑞 𐑚𐑪𐑑𐑩𐑥. 𐑲 𐑣𐑨𐑛 𐑩 𐑤𐑧𐑑𐑼 𐑓 “𐑟𐑦𐑮𐑴 𐑒𐑪𐑯𐑕𐑩𐑯𐑩𐑯𐑑” (𐑚𐑩𐑒𐑪𐑟 𐑪𐑚𐑝𐑾𐑕𐑤𐑦 𐑯𐑪𐑑 𐑧𐑝𐑮𐑦 𐑕𐑦𐑤𐑩𐑚𐑩𐑤 𐑕𐑑𐑸𐑑𐑕 𐑯 𐑧𐑯𐑛𐑟 𐑢𐑦𐑞 𐑩 𐑒𐑪𐑯𐑕𐑩𐑯𐑩𐑯𐑑). 𐑲 𐑭𐑤𐑕𐑴 𐑦𐑯𐑝𐑧𐑯𐑑𐑩𐑛 𐑩 𐑯𐑿 𐑤𐑧𐑑𐑼 𐑓 “𐑖”, 𐑯 𐑲 𐑞𐑦𐑙𐑒 𐑩𐑯𐑳𐑞𐑼 𐑓 “𐑔” 𐑯 “𐑞” 𐑑𐑩𐑜𐑧𐑞𐑼, 𐑚𐑳𐑑 𐑳𐑞𐑼𐑢𐑲𐑟 𐑛𐑦𐑛𐑩𐑯𐑑 𐑒𐑱𐑑𐑼 𐑑 𐑦𐑙𐑜𐑤𐑦𐑖 𐑓𐑴𐑯𐑰𐑥𐑟 𐑑𐑵 𐑢𐑧𐑤, 𐑕𐑴 𐑥𐑲 𐑚𐑤𐑪𐑒𐑕 𐑜𐑪𐑑 𐑥𐑧𐑕𐑦 𐑢𐑧𐑯 𐑲 𐑣𐑨𐑛 𐑑 𐑮𐑲𐑑 𐑛𐑦𐑐𐑔𐑪𐑙𐑕 𐑣𐑭𐑣𐑭. 𐑹 𐑞 𐑢𐑻𐑛 “𐑕𐑑𐑮𐑧𐑙𐑔”. 𐑯𐑳𐑯𐑞𐑩𐑤𐑧𐑕, 𐑲 𐑿𐑟𐑛 𐑥𐑲 𐑐𐑮𐑲𐑝𐑩𐑑 𐑤𐑦𐑑𐑩𐑤 𐑨𐑤𐑓𐑩𐑚𐑧𐑑 𐑒𐑩𐑯𐑕𐑦𐑕𐑑𐑩𐑯𐑑𐑤𐑦 𐑓 𐑘𐑽𐑟 𐑢𐑧𐑯𐑧𐑝𐑼 𐑲 𐑢𐑪𐑯𐑑𐑩𐑛 𐑑 𐑛𐑱𐑛𐑮𐑰𐑥 𐑦𐑯 𐑒𐑤𐑭𐑕, 𐑮𐑲𐑑𐑦𐑙 𐑥𐑲 𐑕𐑑𐑷𐑮𐑦𐑟 𐑢𐑦𐑞𐑬𐑑 𐑧𐑯𐑦 𐑮𐑦𐑕𐑒 𐑥𐑲 𐑒𐑤𐑭𐑕𐑥𐑱𐑑𐑕 𐑒𐑫𐑛 𐑤𐑫𐑒 𐑴𐑝𐑼 𐑥𐑲 𐑖𐑴𐑤𐑛𐑼 𐑯 𐑤𐑭𐑓, 𐑹 𐑞𐑨𐑑 𐑞 𐑑𐑰𐑗𐑼 𐑥𐑲𐑑 𐑑𐑱𐑒 𐑦𐑑 𐑪𐑓 𐑥𐑰 𐑯 𐑮𐑰𐑛 𐑦𐑑 𐑑 𐑞 𐑒𐑤𐑭𐑕, 𐑧𐑑𐑕.. 𐑲 𐑯𐑧𐑝𐑼 𐑮𐑰𐑗𐑑 𐑩 𐑐𐑶𐑯𐑑 𐑢𐑺 𐑲 𐑒𐑫𐑛 𐑮𐑰𐑛 𐑚𐑨𐑒 𐑥𐑲 𐑴𐑯 𐑨𐑤𐑓𐑩𐑚𐑧𐑑 𐑨𐑟 𐑓𐑤𐑵𐑩𐑯𐑑𐑤𐑦 𐑨𐑟 𐑲 𐑒𐑨𐑯 𐑮𐑴𐑥𐑩𐑯, 𐑚𐑳𐑑 𐑲 𐑜𐑪𐑑 𐑐𐑮𐑦𐑑𐑦 𐑓𐑭𐑕𐑛 𐑒𐑩𐑯𐑕𐑦𐑛𐑮𐑦𐑙 𐑞 𐑴𐑯𐑤𐑦 𐑐𐑤𐑱𐑕 𐑲 𐑧𐑝𐑼 𐑕𐑷 𐑞𐑰𐑟 𐑤𐑧𐑑𐑼𐑟 𐑢𐑪𐑟 𐑥𐑲 𐑴𐑯 𐑯𐑴𐑑𐑕.
𐑪𐑚𐑝𐑾𐑕𐑤𐑦 𐑞 𐑖𐑱𐑝𐑾𐑯 𐑨𐑤𐑓𐑩𐑚𐑧𐑑 𐑦𐑟 𐑯𐑪𐑑 𐑥𐑲 𐑴𐑯 𐑒𐑮𐑰𐑱𐑖𐑩𐑯, 𐑯 𐑞𐑺 𐑸 (𐑩 𐑕𐑥𐑷𐑤 𐑯𐑳𐑥𐑚𐑼 𐑝) 𐑳𐑞𐑼 𐑐𐑰𐑐𐑤 𐑣𐑵 𐑯𐑴 𐑣𐑬 𐑑 𐑮𐑰𐑛 𐑦𐑑. 𐑣𐑬𐑧𐑝𐑼, 𐑝𐑦𐑝𐑾𐑯 𐑖𐑷 𐑛𐑳𐑟𐑩𐑯𐑑 𐑯𐑴 𐑣𐑬 𐑑 𐑮𐑰𐑛 𐑦𐑑, 𐑕𐑴 𐑨𐑟 𐑲𐑝 𐑚𐑰𐑯 𐑐𐑮𐑨𐑒𐑑𐑦𐑕𐑦𐑙 𐑚𐑲 𐑮𐑲𐑛𐑦𐑙 𐑮𐑨𐑯𐑛𐑩𐑥 𐑒𐑮𐑨𐑐 𐑦𐑯 𐑥𐑲 𐑯𐑴𐑑𐑚𐑫𐑒, 𐑲 𐑕𐑑𐑦𐑤 𐑜𐑧𐑑 𐑞𐑨𐑑 𐑓𐑰𐑤𐑦𐑙 𐑝 𐑮𐑲𐑑𐑦𐑙 𐑦𐑯 𐑩 𐑕𐑰𐑒𐑮𐑩𐑑 𐑒𐑴𐑛.
𐑲𐑤 𐑨𐑛𐑥𐑦𐑑 𐑞𐑨𐑑 𐑞𐑺 𐑸 𐑕𐑳𐑥 𐑑𐑮𐑦𐑒𐑦 𐑔𐑦𐑙𐑟 𐑩𐑚𐑬𐑑 𐑦𐑑. 𐑩 𐑤𐑪𐑑 𐑝 𐑞 𐑒𐑨𐑮𐑩𐑒𐑑𐑼𐑟 𐑸 𐑞 𐑕𐑱𐑥 𐑨𐑟 𐑩𐑯𐑳𐑞𐑼 𐑒𐑨𐑮𐑩𐑒𐑑𐑼 𐑥𐑦𐑮𐑼𐑛 𐑹 𐑮𐑴𐑑𐑱𐑑𐑩𐑛 180°, 𐑕𐑴 𐑞𐑺𐑟 𐑩 𐑤𐑪𐑑 𐑝 𐑑𐑲𐑥𐑟 𐑲 𐑯𐑴 𐑞 𐑤𐑧𐑑𐑼 𐑲 𐑢𐑪𐑯𐑑 𐑒𐑫𐑛 𐑚𐑰 𐑢𐑳𐑯 𐑝 𐑑𐑵 𐑔𐑦𐑙𐑟, 𐑤𐑪𐑤. 𐑲𐑥 𐑯𐑪𐑑 𐑖𐑹 𐑦𐑑𐑛 𐑥𐑱𐑒 𐑩 𐑜𐑫𐑛 𐑨𐑤𐑓𐑩𐑚𐑧𐑛 𐑓 𐑛𐑦𐑕𐑤𐑧𐑒𐑕𐑦𐑒𐑕. 𐑓 𐑥𐑰 𐑞 𐑒𐑪𐑥𐑐𐑬𐑯𐑛 𐑤𐑧𐑑𐑼𐑟 𐑸 𐑭𐑤𐑕𐑴 𐑛𐑦𐑓𐑦𐑒𐑩𐑤𐑑, 𐑯 𐑚𐑩𐑒𐑪𐑟 𐑞 𐑥𐑩𐑡𐑪𐑮𐑦𐑑𐑦 𐑝 𐑞𐑧𐑥 𐑸 𐑓 𐑮𐑴𐑑𐑩𐑕𐑲𐑟𐑛 𐑝𐑬𐑤𐑟 𐑯 𐑥𐑲 𐑨𐑒𐑕𐑧𐑯𐑑 𐑦𐑟 𐑯𐑪𐑯-𐑮𐑴𐑑𐑦𐑒, 𐑲 𐑛𐑴𐑯𐑑 𐑰𐑝𐑩𐑯 𐑷𐑤𐑢𐑱𐑟 𐑮𐑦𐑥𐑧𐑥𐑚𐑼 𐑑 𐑿𐑟 𐑞𐑧𐑥 𐑦𐑯𐑕𐑑𐑧𐑛 𐑝 𐑞 𐑯𐑪𐑯-𐑮𐑴𐑑𐑦𐑒 𐑧𐑒𐑢𐑦𐑝𐑩𐑤𐑧𐑯𐑑 𐑣𐑭𐑣𐑭. 𐑚𐑳𐑑 𐑲𐑥 𐑑𐑮𐑲𐑦𐑙, 𐑯 𐑴𐑝𐑼𐑷𐑤 𐑲 𐑔𐑦𐑙𐑒 𐑞 𐑕𐑴-𐑒𐑷𐑤𐑛 “𐑨𐑯𐑛𐑮𐑴𐑒𐑤𐑰𐑟 𐑕𐑑𐑨𐑯𐑛𐑼𐑛” 𐑓𐑲𐑯𐑛𐑟 𐑩 𐑜𐑫𐑛 𐑒𐑪𐑥𐑐𐑮𐑩𐑥𐑲𐑟 𐑚𐑩𐑑𐑢𐑰𐑯 𐑯𐑹𐑔 𐑩𐑥𐑧𐑮𐑦𐑒𐑩𐑯 𐑯 “𐑕𐑳𐑞𐑼𐑯” (𐑕𐑑𐑨𐑯𐑛𐑼𐑛 𐑕𐑳𐑞𐑼𐑯 𐑚𐑮𐑦𐑑𐑦𐑖, 𐑕𐑳𐑞𐑼𐑯 𐑣𐑧𐑥𐑦𐑕𐑓𐑽) 𐑕𐑑𐑨𐑯𐑛𐑼𐑛𐑟… 𐑦𐑒𐑕𐑧𐑐𐑑 𐑞𐑨𐑑 𐑑𐑮𐑲𐑦𐑙 𐑑 𐑳𐑯𐑥𐑻𐑡 𐑞 𐑢𐑰𐑒 𐑝𐑬𐑤𐑟 (𐑚𐑨𐑒𐑪𐑟 𐑦𐑯 𐑖𐑱𐑝𐑾𐑯 𐑞𐑺 𐑕𐑩𐑐𐑴𐑕𐑑 𐑑 𐑚𐑰 𐑛𐑦𐑕𐑑𐑦𐑙𐑜𐑢𐑦𐑖𐑑) 𐑦𐑟 𐑤𐑲𐑒 𐑥𐑦𐑖𐑩𐑯: 𐑓𐑳𐑒𐑦𐑙 𐑦𐑥𐑐𐑪𐑕𐑦𐑚𐑩𐑤 𐑑 𐑞𐑦𐑕 𐑪𐑕𐑑𐑮𐑱𐑤𐑾𐑯, 𐑤𐑪𐑤.
𐑕𐑴, 𐑞𐑺 𐑢𐑰 𐑣𐑨𐑝 𐑦𐑑! 𐑞𐑺𐑟 𐑯𐑴 𐑛𐑬𐑑 𐑞𐑨𐑛 𐑞 𐑐𐑸𐑑 𐑝 𐑥𐑰 𐑛𐑮𐑷𐑯 𐑑 𐑞 𐑖𐑱𐑝𐑾𐑯 𐑨𐑤𐑓𐑩𐑚𐑧𐑑 𐑦𐑕 𐑞 𐑕𐑱𐑥 𐑨𐑟 𐑞 𐑐𐑸𐑑 𐑝 𐑥𐑰 𐑛𐑮𐑷𐑯 𐑑 𐑬𐑒𐑕𐑤𐑨𐑙𐑟 𐑤𐑲𐑒 𐑰𐑛𐑴 𐑯 𐑪𐑒𐑕𐑦𐑛𐑧𐑯𐑑𐑭𐑤. 𐑲 𐑜𐑧𐑕 𐑿 𐑒𐑫𐑛 𐑕𐑱 𐑲 𐑣𐑨𐑝 𐑩 𐑕𐑵𐑐𐑼 𐑲𐑛𐑾𐑤𐑦𐑕𐑑𐑦𐑒 𐑕𐑑𐑮𐑰𐑒 𐑞𐑨𐑑 𐑒𐑺𐑟 𐑤𐑦𐑑𐑩𐑤 𐑓 𐑣𐑬 𐑥𐑳𐑗 𐑐𐑮𐑨𐑒𐑑𐑦𐑒𐑩𐑤 𐑿𐑕 𐑔𐑦𐑙𐑟 𐑣𐑨𐑝, 𐑯 𐑡𐑳𐑕𐑑 𐑢𐑪𐑯𐑑𐑕 𐑑 𐑤𐑻𐑯 𐑞𐑧𐑥 𐑚𐑩𐑒𐑪𐑟 𐑞𐑺 𐑮𐑰𐑤𐑦 𐑒𐑵𐑤, 𐑯 𐑩𐑯 𐑦𐑥𐑐𐑮𐑵𐑝𐑥𐑩𐑯𐑑 𐑪𐑯 𐑧𐑕𐑑𐑨𐑚𐑤𐑦𐑖𐑑 𐑯𐑹𐑥𐑟. (𐑦𐑯𐑛𐑰𐑛, 𐑦𐑑 𐑢𐑪𐑟 𐑨𐑒𐑖𐑩𐑤𐑦 𐑔𐑮𐑵 𐑞 𐑬𐑒𐑕𐑤𐑨𐑙𐑟 𐑛𐑦𐑕𐑒𐑹𐑛 𐑞𐑨𐑑 𐑲 𐑮𐑰𐑛𐑦𐑕𐑒𐑪𐑝𐑼𐑛 𐑖𐑱𐑝𐑾𐑯 𐑞 𐑪𐑞𐑼 𐑛𐑱.) 𐑕𐑑𐑦𐑤, 𐑞𐑺𐑟 𐑯𐑴 𐑣𐑸𐑥 𐑦𐑯 𐑞𐑨𐑑, 𐑯 𐑦𐑓 𐑧𐑯𐑦𐑔𐑦𐑙 𐑒𐑢𐑲𐑑 𐑞 𐑪𐑐𐑩𐑕𐑦𐑑, 𐑴𐑯𐑤𐑦 𐑳𐑐𐑕𐑲𐑛, 𐑮𐑲𐑑? 😊