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Script Design

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  • Peter Clark
    Ok, enough of the language wars. Stop it, I mean it! :) Teoh reminded me of my promise to post a quasi-HOWTO Design Scripts. I m not including the definitions
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 16 3:58 PM
      Ok, enough of the language wars. Stop it, I mean it! :)
      Teoh reminded me of my promise to post a quasi-HOWTO Design
      Scripts. I'm not including the definitions for the different kinds of
      scripts here. Too long, and if you don't know what an abjad is, look it
      up. This is more of the artistic, rather than technical side. If there
      is anything you would like to see added, please tell me. So, without
      furth ado:

      HOWTO Design Scripts

      1. The very first thing you want to decide upon is what was the
      principle resource(s) involved in writing this script. That is, what
      was used to write, and on what king od material? Cuniform, with its
      distinctive wedges, was written with a reed pen on clay tablets. Clay
      does not take well to dragging a sharp point across its surface; hence,
      the reed pen was stamped into the clay. Writing tools can be a brush,
      reed, quill, pen, or whatever else you can imagine. Writing surfaces
      are likewise at your whim, but recognize the differences that the
      medium impose. It is easier to carve a straight line in wood than a
      curved line if all you have is a knife. You will do yourself an immense
      favor by designing your script with the tool and medium that you have
      decided upon--this will result in a more realistic design. But don't be
      afraid to make some comprimises. For the Enamyn script, I chose a quill
      pen, since this would have been the writing instrument of choice in the
      Byzantine empire. Of course, I don't actually use a quill, but rather a
      calligraphic pen, since it produces a similar result without the hassle
      and mess. Likewise, I substitute paper for parchment, since the latter
      is a little hard to come by and very pricey, while the former has
      parchment's most important features with none of the cost.

      2. Decide whether your script is a priori or a posteriori. That is,
      will you invent it completely yourself, or derive it from some other
      existing script? Just because you derive a script from a pre-existing
      script doesn't mean that you are bound by it; just look at the wide
      variations that have arisen in Indian scripts, even though most of them
      descend from a common ancestor.

      3. Look for inspiration in other scripts, even if you are going a
      priori; omniglot.com is a great place to start. I was inspired when I
      flipped the "head-less" version of the Tibetan script upside down; many
      unique and interesting shapes appeared that still retained consistancy
      with one another. Turning letters (45, 90, 180 degrees) is another good
      way of altering the look of your own script if you find it looking too
      much like Arabic, Cyrillic, Hindi, whatever.

      4. Scribble like mad. Toy with shapes. Try to develop families of
      shapes. Notice how the Latin script has such similar shapes as b, d, p,
      q, or C, G, O, or R, P, F? There is a fine line between familiarity and
      excessive convergence. Not enough familiarity, and your script will
      look like a bunch of random shapes thrown together. Too much
      familiarity and the letters will be more difficult to pick out. See,
      for instance, Cyrillic or Tengwar (The system is genius, but _really_!)
      There are some times when I come across a Russian word and I have to
      stop and pick out each letter, one by one, before I can pronounce the
      word. (I would like to know if native Russians have such problems, too.
      Or perhaps its the typography--yikes, but it looks bad sometimes.) When
      you have two shapes that are too close in shape, consider ways to
      distinguish them. For instance, the numbers "1" and "7" in some
      countries (mostly European) became too similar--hence, "7" is written
      with a slash through it. Or consider how zero is written with a slash
      through it to distinguish it from capital "O".

      5. Keep the final form in mind. That is, all scripts are viewed 99% of
      the time not as individual characters but as words, sentences,
      paragraphs. You may like how one character looks, but if it clashes
      when viewed as part of a greater whole, see if you can't alter it in
      some way so that it is a better fit. This is purely an aesthetic
      intuition; if you don't trust your judgement, write up a sample
      paragraph and ask a sympathetic friend to point out any characters that
      might "look out of place." Also, for readibility, I would recommend
      having characters with differing heights, depths, and widths. Why?
      BECAUSE IT IS EASIER TO READ SOMETHING THAT HAS DIFFERING SHAPES THAN
      ONE SINGLE HEIGHT, LIKE CAPITAL LETTERS. Caps change word shapes from
      Unique forms to rectangles, which slows down reading comprehension.
      Notice how the word "script" has ascenders (the "i" and the "t") and
      decenders (the "p"). These combinations make it easier to sight-read a
      word. When you read a body of text, you do not read the words letter
      for letter, but shape for shape.

      6. Lather, rinse, repeat. Letters get "worn down"; for example, just
      look at the evolution of the Phonecian script. Excessively complex
      shapes will get simplified; shapes that are too similar will be made
      dissimilar. If it takes you less than a month to invent a script, you
      have not even started. If it takes you a year, then you are well
      on your way. But if it takes you five years (like *cough* your humble
      narrator), get off your rocker and delcare it "good enough" already! :)


      You should expect several mishaps along the way. You probably
      already have. But don't give up! One of my early attempts at a script
      looked too much like Tengwar, even though I had not yet been exposed to
      it at that tender age. It resulted from my love of bows and curves,
      something which has not died, but rather found a more unique (and, with
      maker's pride, better) expression later down the road.
      Above all, never call a script finished until you have written out
      a significant amount of it in one place. Writing is not found in single
      characters, but in large chunks; the appearence of those "chunks" will
      make or break your script in the end.

      :Peter

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    • Christophe Grandsire
      En réponse à Peter Clark : Here are some comments I found necessary to add. Apart from that, very nice explanations! ... I guess it has more
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 17 2:58 AM
        En réponse à Peter Clark <pc451@...>:

        Here are some comments I found necessary to add. Apart from that, very nice
        explanations!

        > There are some times when I come across a Russian word and I have to
        > stop and pick out each letter, one by one, before I can pronounce the
        > word. (I would like to know if native Russians have such problems,
        > too.
        > Or perhaps its the typography--yikes, but it looks bad sometimes.)

        I guess it has more to do with the usual typogaphy (small Cyrillic letters look
        just too much like smaller version of the capitals). It's a bit like the Roman
        Fraktur, which is nearly unreadable only because of its typography.

        I've seen examples of handwritten Russian, and letters in it look much more
        different (but it's even more difficult to read for someone who doesn't know
        well the Cyrillic alphabet ;))) ). Now the Georgian alphabet... *even* the
        handwritten form looks like identical little squiggles to me!

        Also, for readibility, I would recommend
        > having characters with differing heights, depths, and widths. Why?
        > BECAUSE IT IS EASIER TO READ SOMETHING THAT HAS DIFFERING SHAPES THAN
        > ONE SINGLE HEIGHT, LIKE CAPITAL LETTERS. Caps change word shapes from
        > Unique forms to rectangles, which slows down reading comprehension.
        > Notice how the word "script" has ascenders (the "i" and the "t") and
        > decenders (the "p"). These combinations make it easier to sight-read a
        > word. When you read a body of text, you do not read the words letter
        > for letter, but shape for shape.
        >

        Note that this advice is typical from a Westerner. Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese
        and Korean people seem to have no problem with blocky characters which always
        take the same place and never have ascenders or descenders (and they are not
        known for being slower readers than us, on the contrary!). In this case, they
        take other hints to recognise different characters, not how much the character
        sticks out of the line but the general lines used to draw it.

        In the end, it all boils down to the "feeling" you want to give to the script.
        People who learn a script natively seem to have no more difficulty with an
        inherently blocky script than with a stript with a lot of ascenders and
        descenders.

        > 6. Lather, rinse, repeat. Letters get "worn down"; for example, just
        > look at the evolution of the Phonecian script. Excessively complex
        > shapes will get simplified; shapes that are too similar will be made
        > dissimilar. If it takes you less than a month to invent a script, you
        > have not even started. If it takes you a year, then you are well
        > on your way. But if it takes you five years (like *cough* your humble
        > narrator), get off your rocker and delcare it "good enough" already!
        > :)
        >

        Think also of the *feeling* you want to give to the script. Do you want a
        script that looks like a single line with lots of squiggles around? Then look
        at alphabets like the Devanagari or the Mongolian alphabet (or even Ogham!). Do
        you want all characters to be detached? Look at examples of scripts without
        connected forms. Do you want to give a blocky feeling to the script, making
        characters which all take the same space? Look at Korean, Japanese, Chinese.

        Also, making an alphabet, an abjad, a featural script, a syllabary or
        ideograms, or even something completely different will always have an influence
        on the design itself. Scripts tend to maximise their adaptation to their use as
        well as to the normal tools used to write them with. If you check Omniglot,
        you'll see that scripts of the same category always have some things in common,
        even when they are completely unrelated and even written in completely
        different ways.

        Christophe.

        http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr

        Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.
      • Peter Clark
        ... I think that one of my problems is the undo similarity of |i|, |j|, ... Combined with poor typography and it can be a nightmare. ... Russian handwriting is
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 17 7:30 AM
          --- Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...> wrote:
          > I guess it has more to do with the usual typogaphy (small Cyrillic
          > letters look
          > just too much like smaller version of the capitals). It's a bit like
          > the Roman
          > Fraktur, which is nearly unreadable only because of its typography.
          I think that one of my problems is the undo similarity of |i|, |j|,
          |l|, |n|, |p|, and |ts| (and |sh| and |shch| if the kerning is poor).
          Combined with poor typography and it can be a nightmare.

          > I've seen examples of handwritten Russian, and letters in it look
          > much more
          > different (but it's even more difficult to read for someone who
          > doesn't know
          > well the Cyrillic alphabet ;))) ).
          Russian handwriting is worse, because unless you add dashes under
          |sh| or over |t|, the letters can be much harder to parse.

          > Note that this advice is typical from a Westerner. Hebrew, Chinese,
          > Japanese
          > and Korean people seem to have no problem with blocky characters
          > which always
          > take the same place and never have ascenders or descenders (and they
          > are not
          > known for being slower readers than us, on the contrary!).
          Well, I think you misunderstood my point. Hebrew does have
          ascenders (lamed) and descenders (qof and the final forms), but it
          deserves special ire because of the similarity between he, chet, and
          tav, bet, gimmel, and nun, and vav and zayin. Am I being "Western"?
          Perhaps, but look at cursive Hebrew and notice how all of the letters
          that I pointed out have diverged.
          Japanese I would not consider "blocky"--it does, however, violate
          the coherency principle. Three scripts, all used in one sentence, all
          with different principles at work--it looks like a mess. :) I know the
          reasoning for using hirigana, katakana, and kanji, but that still
          doesn't mean that an outsider won't think, "What a jumble!"
          As for Korean, while each syllable is written within a block, the
          various parts are broken enough to be parsed by the eye. If I put a
          rectangle around words written in the Roman script, I don't think there
          would be a loss of readibility, because the eye would skip the
          rectangle and go to the more interesting stuff.
          Chinese--there's just no excuse. :)
          Mind you, this is all opinion--I don't think there's been a great
          deal of studies on the readability of different scripts. It would be
          interesting, however, to see what the different cultural norms for
          readability would be.
          I'm also not holding the Roman script to be the be-all and end-all
          of readability, either. I'm also not saying, "Don't make alphabets like
          Hebrew or Japanese" (although I would say, "Don't make something like
          Chinese unless you have a lot of time on your hands.") What I am saying
          is that if one of your goals is to have a script that doesn't suffer
          from cloned letters or is plagued by three different asthetics, don't
          copy Hebrew or Japanese. Or, better yet, copy them, then make them
          better. :)
          :Peter

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        • H. S. Teoh
          ... Sorry, daddy ;-) [snip] ... Ahh, thanks a LOT for this. I think one flaw in the current stagnating sanoki script is that I don t really have any clear
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 17 7:36 AM
            On Thu, Jan 16, 2003 at 03:58:28PM -0800, Peter Clark wrote:
            > Ok, enough of the language wars. Stop it, I mean it! :)

            Sorry, daddy ;-)

            [snip]
            > HOWTO Design Scripts
            >
            > 1. The very first thing you want to decide upon is what was the
            > principle resource(s) involved in writing this script. That is, what
            > was used to write, and on what king od material?

            Ahh, thanks a LOT for this. I think one flaw in the current stagnating
            sanoki' script is that I don't really have any clear idea what the script
            medium would be.

            [snip]
            > 5. Keep the final form in mind. That is, all scripts are viewed 99% of
            > the time not as individual characters but as words, sentences,
            > paragraphs. You may like how one character looks, but if it clashes
            > when viewed as part of a greater whole, see if you can't alter it in
            > some way so that it is a better fit.

            This is true. I have the problem of fixating on individual glyphs; but
            when I put them together, they just don't quite "fit".

            [snip]
            > might "look out of place." Also, for readibility, I would recommend
            > having characters with differing heights, depths, and widths. Why?
            > BECAUSE IT IS EASIER TO READ SOMETHING THAT HAS DIFFERING SHAPES THAN
            > ONE SINGLE HEIGHT, LIKE CAPITAL LETTERS. Caps change word shapes from
            > Unique forms to rectangles, which slows down reading comprehension.

            I'd agree with Christophe more here. All-caps are hard to read in
            *English* simply because of the nature of English writing. If you look at
            Chinese writing, for example, it's actually *easier* to read if all
            characters are roughly the same dimensions. It might be because of the
            lack of inter-word spaces; I'm not sure.

            > Notice how the word "script" has ascenders (the "i" and the "t") and
            > decenders (the "p"). These combinations make it easier to sight-read a
            > word. When you read a body of text, you do not read the words letter
            > for letter, but shape for shape.

            Not always true, as Christophe points out. Nevertheless, I think this is a
            good suggestion for sanoki'. I'd probably make the end-of-word "squiggle"
            protrude prominently below the baseline or something, so that one who is
            familiar with the script would easily pick out individual words from the
            blocky letters. (Yes, I intend them to be blocky.)

            > 6. Lather, rinse, repeat. Letters get "worn down"; for example, just
            > look at the evolution of the Phonecian script. Excessively complex
            > shapes will get simplified; shapes that are too similar will be made
            > dissimilar. If it takes you less than a month to invent a script, you
            > have not even started. If it takes you a year, then you are well
            > on your way. But if it takes you five years (like *cough* your humble
            > narrator), get off your rocker and delcare it "good enough" already! :)

            Heh. Sounds like sanoki' has a long way to go. :-) Although it's been at
            least a year and a half since I first started on it, I've barely touched
            it in the interim, so that's not counted. :-/

            [snip]
            > Above all, never call a script finished until you have written out
            > a significant amount of it in one place. Writing is not found in single
            > characters, but in large chunks; the appearence of those "chunks" will
            > make or break your script in the end.
            [snip]

            *Me thinks, write lots of Ebisedian literature in orthography, create
            sanoki' font, write Perl script to feed all known literature into
            GenLaTeX, and kill lots of trees.* :-P

            Hmm actually, this may not be a bad idea. With an automated process for
            typesetting large amounts of native text, I can tweak the (meta)font for
            the script and get very fast feedback. This should probably make it much
            easier to refine a script once I get it to the point it can typeset full
            Ebisedian text.


            T

            --
            Sometimes the best solution to morale problems is just to fire all of the
            unhappy people. -- despair.com
          • Christophe Grandsire
            ... Maybe what I saw was *careful* handwriting ;)) . ... Reading what I ve read below, I m sure I ve understood you perfectly :)) . Hebrew does have ... Yes.
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 17 12:54 PM
              En réponse à Peter Clark <pc451@...>:

              > Russian handwriting is worse, because unless you add dashes under
              > |sh| or over |t|, the letters can be much harder to parse.
              >

              Maybe what I saw was *careful* handwriting ;)) .

              > Well, I think you misunderstood my point.

              Reading what I've read below, I'm sure I've understood you perfectly :)) .

              Hebrew does have
              > ascenders (lamed) and descenders (qof and the final forms), but it
              > deserves special ire because of the similarity between he, chet, and
              > tav, bet, gimmel, and nun, and vav and zayin. Am I being "Western"?

              Yes. Or at least, influenced by the first script you learned. If you had
              learned Chinese ideograms first, you'd find all those ascenders and descenders
              pretty confusing (I've once talked about it to a Japanese guy who explained me
              that he had no problem with Roman capitals, which were extremely easy to parse
              for him, but that the Roman small letters were confusing the hell out of him).
              It all depends on what you're used to.

              > Perhaps, but look at cursive Hebrew and notice how all of the letters
              > that I pointed out have diverged.

              Because the Hebrew script has come back in use by people who usually knew the
              Roman script, and they adapted their habits to it. It's certainly not a
              universal behaviour.

              > Japanese I would not consider "blocky"--it does, however, violate
              > the coherency principle.

              Yet it's been stable for centuries and for my aesthetics is actually extremely
              beautiful!

              Three scripts, all used in one sentence, all
              > with different principles at work--it looks like a mess. :)

              Your opinion. Mine is opposite.

              I know the
              > reasoning for using hirigana, katakana, and kanji, but that still
              > doesn't mean that an outsider won't think, "What a jumble!"

              But not *every* outsider will think so. And that doesn't make the script *less*
              than the Roman script. You just cannot advise conscripters (is that a
              word? :)) ) not to make a script because of some principle which is not even
              followed by real ones!!!

              > As for Korean, while each syllable is written within a block, the
              > various parts are broken enough to be parsed by the eye.

              By *your* eye. The whole point of my comment was to say that those things were
              highly personal, that other people might think otherwise, and that designing a
              script which didn't follow your advice of the moment wasn't necessarily wrong
              or ill-done, since it was commonly done out there.

              If I put a
              > rectangle around words written in the Roman script, I don't think
              > there
              > would be a loss of readibility, because the eye would skip the
              > rectangle and go to the more interesting stuff.
              > Chinese--there's just no excuse. :)

              Well, I've seen studies of reading speed of the same text (in translation, but
              made so that the average size on paper was the same) written in Chinese and in
              some language using the Roman script (I think it was English). The Chinese read
              their version on average 30% faster than the Europeans read theirs, and when
              having to answer questions about the text proved to have had kept it in memory
              better than the Europeans. I think that's excuse enough :)) .

              > Mind you, this is all opinion--I don't think there's been a great
              > deal of studies on the readability of different scripts.

              Not much, but I've seen a few, with surprising results.

              It would be
              > interesting, however, to see what the different cultural norms for
              > readability would be.

              Teoh already gave you an example :))) . Basically, you find most readable
              scripts which look like the first script you learnt to read. It's like
              languages: it's always easier to learn a feature of a foreign language that
              works like yours rather than a feature your native languages doesn't duplicate.
              So if you first learnt the Roman script or a related one (like the Greek
              alphabet or the Arabic script), you will need ascenders and descenders as hints
              for a proper reading. If you've first learnt a blocky script, those hints are
              useless and actually harmful, since you will tend to overlook them and thus
              lose what is sometimes the only way to differentiate two letters.

              > I'm also not holding the Roman script to be the be-all and end-all
              > of readability, either. I'm also not saying, "Don't make alphabets
              > like
              > Hebrew or Japanese" (although I would say, "Don't make something like
              > Chinese unless you have a lot of time on your hands.")

              But it sounded damn near to that. It's the only reason why I fell compelled to
              add my comment on that. Most of your advice is actually very useful. But this
              specific part looked a bit too much influenced by what you're used to.

              What I am
              > saying
              > is that if one of your goals is to have a script that doesn't suffer
              > from cloned letters or is plagued by three different asthetics, don't
              > copy Hebrew or Japanese.

              But they *don't* suffer from that. It's just your personal opinion, and there's
              at least one person to disagree with you! I don't know enough about the Hebrew
              script to say anything, but I know enough Japanese to tell you that it
              *doesn't* suffer from having three scripts. Actually, all the characters of the
              three scripts fit perfectly together (to the point that I sometimes confuse
              them - rarely, but it proves that the script doesn't suffer from "three
              different aesthetics" -). They are just different enough that you know what to
              expect when you see that some character is used rather than another, but they
              all fit together, as well as capitals and small letters in the Roman script.

              Or, better yet, copy them, then make them
              > better. :)

              Which proves again my point ;)))) (note the smiley!It's a joke :))) ).

              Christophe.

              http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr

              Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.
            • H. S. Teoh
              On Fri, Jan 17, 2003 at 09:54:22PM +0100, Christophe Grandsire wrote: [snip] ... Yes, which is why I ve been taking issue with Ygyde on CONLANG. It s clearly
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 17 1:29 PM
                On Fri, Jan 17, 2003 at 09:54:22PM +0100, Christophe Grandsire wrote:
                [snip]
                > Yes. Or at least, influenced by the first script you learned. If you had
                > learned Chinese ideograms first, you'd find all those ascenders and
                > descenders pretty confusing (I've once talked about it to a Japanese guy
                > who explained me that he had no problem with Roman capitals, which were
                > extremely easy to parse for him, but that the Roman small letters were
                > confusing the hell out of him). It all depends on what you're used to.

                Yes, which is why I've been taking issue with Ygyde on CONLANG. It's
                clearly the "best" IAL from the creators' perspectives, but just because
                *they* think it's superior doesn't necessarily mean it is.

                [snip]
                > > Chinese--there's just no excuse. :)
                >
                > Well, I've seen studies of reading speed of the same text (in
                > translation, but made so that the average size on paper was the same)
                > written in Chinese and in some language using the Roman script (I think
                > it was English). The Chinese read their version on average 30% faster
                > than the Europeans read theirs, and when having to answer questions
                > about the text proved to have had kept it in memory better than the
                > Europeans. I think that's excuse enough :)) .

                Well, there's more than one factor at work here. Chinese writing is often
                significantly more compact than spoken Chinese because of the meaning each
                glyph encodes. You can stick in horribly homophonous combinations on paper
                and a reader would have no trouble understanding it; but if you were
                giving a speech, you'd have to use less ambiguous compounds for each word
                if you expect to be understood.

                (But of course, having to *write* those logographs is no mean feat. And
                having to write them so that they are intelligible to others, and not fall
                behind during dictation, is almost a miracle.)

                [snip]
                > So if you first learnt the Roman script or a related one (like the Greek
                > alphabet or the Arabic script), you will need ascenders and descenders
                > as hints for a proper reading. If you've first learnt a blocky script,
                > those hints are useless and actually harmful, since you will tend to
                > overlook them and thus lose what is sometimes the only way to
                > differentiate two letters.
                [snip]

                Actually that's quite true. I find ascenders and descenders an annoyance,
                even after I have become more fluent in English than my own L1. This is
                one of the reasons the basic glyphs in sanoki' all have the same height;
                the variation in dimensions comes from the diacritics and ligatures /
                attachments. I actually quite like the system; I'm just having trouble
                coming up with actual letterforms that lend themselves easily to this type
                of composition.


                T

                --
                Today's society is one of specialization: as you grow, you learn more and
                more about less and less. Eventually, you know everything about nothing.
              • Christophe Grandsire
                ... And why I haven t had to reply to that poor lost soul who made this language. You explained much better than myself everything I could have said :)) . It s
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 17 1:57 PM
                  En réponse à "H. S. Teoh" <hsteoh@...>:

                  >
                  > Yes, which is why I've been taking issue with Ygyde on CONLANG.

                  And why I haven't had to reply to that poor lost soul who made this language.
                  You explained much better than myself everything I could have said :)) .

                  It's
                  > clearly the "best" IAL from the creators' perspectives, but just
                  > because
                  > *they* think it's superior doesn't necessarily mean it is.
                  >

                  I'm waiting for the next reply of this guy to just tell him that if he isn't
                  ready to cope with justified critics, he better shut up. His misunderstanding
                  of what conlanging and the different kinds of conlangs are (artlangs meant to
                  be spoken by everyone? gimme a break...) is getting on my nerves. And it's not
                  as if I hadn't warned him before ;)))) .

                  >
                  > Well, there's more than one factor at work here. Chinese writing is
                  > often
                  > significantly more compact than spoken Chinese because of the meaning
                  > each
                  > glyph encodes. You can stick in horribly homophonous combinations on
                  > paper
                  > and a reader would have no trouble understanding it; but if you were
                  > giving a speech, you'd have to use less ambiguous compounds for each
                  > word
                  > if you expect to be understood.
                  >

                  Of course. But the global result stays the same. And when you want to see how
                  efficient a script is, it's only the global result that counts. It of course
                  depends on the language too, but that's part of the script's "adaptation" :) .

                  > (But of course, having to *write* those logographs is no mean feat.
                  > And
                  > having to write them so that they are intelligible to others, and not
                  > fall
                  > behind during dictation, is almost a miracle.)
                  >

                  Actually, I find it a miracle to not fall behind under dictation with the Roman
                  alphabet! So I guess it must be a personal thing :))) .

                  >
                  > Actually that's quite true.

                  Thanks! I was a bit guessing here, extrapolating from what that guy had said
                  about capitals and small letters and using the principle that what somebody
                  finds easy is what s/he is used to doing. I'm happy that for once I've
                  extrapolated correctly :)) .

                  I find ascenders and descenders an
                  > annoyance,
                  > even after I have become more fluent in English than my own L1. This
                  > is
                  > one of the reasons the basic glyphs in sanoki' all have the same
                  > height;
                  > the variation in dimensions comes from the diacritics and ligatures /
                  > attachments. I actually quite like the system; I'm just having trouble
                  > coming up with actual letterforms that lend themselves easily to this
                  > type
                  > of composition.
                  >

                  Why not take a look at scripts that use the same kind of features? Descendants
                  of the Brahmi script (look for it at Omniglot) come to mind. They are of so
                  many different styles that you may get ideas and yet not have the sanoki'
                  looking too much like some already existing script (for information, the Brahmi
                  script is the common ancestor of most - all? - abugidas in the world, i.e.
                  Devanagari, the Tibetan and Khmer scripts, Malayalam, Tagalog, etc... With only
                  those few names, I give you already scripts that look extremely differently
                  from each other :)) . Of course, I don't mean that sanoki' has to be a syllabic
                  alphabet, but there may be some design ideas you could steal there :)) ).

                  Christophe.

                  http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr

                  Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.
                • Peter Clark
                  ... Why do I suddenly feel like saying, Don t make me stop this car! ... Plus, it s a great excuse to get in touch with your creative side. Since your
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 17 5:34 PM
                    --- "H. S. Teoh" <hsteoh@...> wrote:
                    > On Thu, Jan 16, 2003 at 03:58:28PM -0800, Peter Clark wrote:
                    > > Ok, enough of the language wars. Stop it, I mean it! :)
                    >
                    > Sorry, daddy ;-)
                    Why do I suddenly feel like saying, "Don't make me stop this car!"

                    > Ahh, thanks a LOT for this. I think one flaw in the current
                    > stagnating
                    > sanoki' script is that I don't really have any clear idea what the
                    > script
                    > medium would be.
                    Plus, it's a great excuse to get in touch with your creative side.
                    Since your Ebisedians are Not Of This Earth, you could go with some
                    pretty exotic materials...like an acid derived from the venom of some
                    nasty creature that is used as an ink to etch stone tablets, which
                    means that your scribes have to develop a script that ensures that
                    their hands never get too near the writing surface, lest their skin
                    slough off. Simulating this earth-side, however, would be more of an
                    exercise in imagination, or at least I would hope so. ;>

                    > This is true. I have the problem of fixating on individual glyphs;
                    > but
                    > when I put them together, they just don't quite "fit".
                    Or you could just declare it Japanese. ;> (Ok, no more jibes at the
                    Japanese.)

                    > I'd agree with Christophe more here. All-caps are hard to read in
                    > *English* simply because of the nature of English writing. If you
                    > look at
                    > Chinese writing, for example, it's actually *easier* to read if all
                    > characters are roughly the same dimensions. It might be because of
                    > the
                    > lack of inter-word spaces; I'm not sure.
                    Ok, ok, mea culpa. As I stated earlier, these are recommendations
                    based off of my asthetic; take with a ton or two of sea salt. Future
                    versions will be properly amended.

                    > Heh. Sounds like sanoki' has a long way to go. :-) Although it's been
                    > at
                    > least a year and a half since I first started on it, I've barely
                    > touched
                    > it in the interim, so that's not counted. :-/
                    Actually, it's good that you've left it alone for so long. Time
                    away is usually one of the best things for a script, because you can
                    come back to it afresh with an entirely new persective. You are usually
                    a lot more objective and more willing to change and tweak things.
                    :Peter

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                  • Tristan
                    Christophe Grandsire wrote:I know the reasoning for using hirigana, katakana, and kanji, but that still doesn t mean that an outsider won t
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 17 7:48 PM
                      Christophe Grandsire wrote:

                      > I know the
                      >
                      >
                      >>reasoning for using hirigana, katakana, and kanji, but that still
                      >>doesn't mean that an outsider won't think, "What a jumble!"
                      >>
                      >>
                      >
                      >But not *every* outsider will think so. And that doesn't make the script *less*
                      >than the Roman script. You just cannot advise conscripters (is that a
                      >word? :)) ) not to make a script because of some principle which is not even
                      >followed by real ones!!!
                      >
                      Don't worry; I was designing the orthography of Etabnanni instead of
                      learning during Japanese last year. Or the year before now... (The
                      ideographic script is purely theoretical at this stage. It was supposed
                      to be based on the script of another nearby people, but the person who
                      was supposed to be designing it never did...)

                      Tristan.

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                      - What's on at your local cinema?
                    • H. S. Teoh
                      On Fri, Jan 17, 2003 at 05:34:11PM -0800, Peter Clark wrote: [snip] ... Heh. Unfortunately, there isn t an exact equivalent of stone in Ferochromon. ;-)
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 18 6:21 AM
                        On Fri, Jan 17, 2003 at 05:34:11PM -0800, Peter Clark wrote:
                        [snip]
                        > Plus, it's a great excuse to get in touch with your creative side.
                        > Since your Ebisedians are Not Of This Earth, you could go with some
                        > pretty exotic materials...like an acid derived from the venom of some
                        > nasty creature that is used as an ink to etch stone tablets, which
                        > means that your scribes have to develop a script that ensures that
                        > their hands never get too near the writing surface, lest their skin
                        > slough off. Simulating this earth-side, however, would be more of an
                        > exercise in imagination, or at least I would hope so. ;>

                        Heh. Unfortunately, there isn't an exact equivalent of stone in
                        Ferochromon. ;-) Nevertheless, one of my original conceptions was writing
                        with some sort of pen on a hard surface. Never really thought about
                        exactly how such "pens" would work, though.

                        Of course, maybe I should leave sanoki' alone for now and work on
                        koromoki', which is a writing system using color patterns. Since colored
                        materials (esp. bright colors) are highly abundant in Ferochromon, this
                        may even be a primary means of writing.

                        [snip]
                        > Actually, it's good that you've left it alone for so long. Time
                        > away is usually one of the best things for a script, because you can
                        > come back to it afresh with an entirely new persective. You are usually
                        > a lot more objective and more willing to change and tweak things.

                        Very true. Thanks for the tips, anyhow. :-)


                        T

                        --
                        The early bird gets the worm. Moral: ewww...
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