The Brevian alphabet is a proposed alternative alphabet for typing English. Drawing inspiration from the Shavian alphabet, it is a phonetic alphabet which utilises letter pairs (tall/low letters for unvoiced/voiced consonants, and dotted and undotted letters for long/short vowels) to depict related letters. It was created by Brian Mansberger, and first published in 2021.
The alphabet has 40 core letters (22 consonants, 13 pure vowels, 3 diphthongs, 2 semivowels), and three extra letters to be used in Welsh and Scottish dialect words. Brevian thus has eight vowel letters less than Shavian; the reason is that Shavian has rhotic vowels as ligatures, while in Brevian they’re just written as a vowel followed by R. In neither alphabet is it strictly permissible for a speaker of a non-rhotic accent to omit the silent Rs in spelling. Brevian does also have a “ring” diacritic, used both under the first letter of proper nouns, and to show stress, if stress isn’t on the first syllable of a word (which is what’s assumed by default).
Being a very recent invention and also basically the hobby project of one guy, Brevian characters are not supported by Unicode 🙂 Instead, there’s a font. This font assigns Brevian glyphs to the standard Latin characters (plus some extras, because 43-letter alphabet); as much as is possible the most logical character is chosen, like for example the letter “p” will show up as the Brevian letter for the phoneme /p/. The capitalised form of a letter will result in the Brevian letter with the ring diacritic. Below is a chart, although it won’t display properly if you’ve disabled my stylesheet or are using a screenreader:
|Brevian||IPA||What to Type||Example||Brevian||IPA||What to Type||Example|
The only thing that bugs me about its assignments is that almost all the letters can be typed easily on a default English keyboard in macOS… except for eth and thorn. And /ð/ in particular is the eighth-most common phoneme in the English language 🙃 Just seems a shame to be almost perfect OOTB but not fully there. All the other assignments are fine from a macOS perspective.
The extra letters are found as follows: ñ /ɬ/ is on ñ, è /r̥/ is on è, and ç /x~χ/ is on ç.
See Also / References
- Brevian : This is the “home” website for the alphabet, outlining the letters and how to type them.