Thursday, November 5, 2015

Elefdar Alphabet, Continued

Thought I'd post a few pics of the playing around with letter-forms that I've been doing.

This is about the tenth version of the alphabet that I've created over the years, and definitely the one I like best.

Next to each glyph is the letter or pair of letters that it can represent. For a given letter-pair, the unvoiced version of the letter would use a single hook or loop, and the voiced version would then use the double-hook or loop. The P and B glyphs are represented explicitly in their single-hook and double-hook forms. Same goes for F and V. For the rest, the smaller hook is the "voice" indicator. The unvoiced letters would not have that second smaller hook.

Next, I took these rough sketches and drew them out in a kind of simulated calligraphy.

This one is actually four different glyphs combined: P, B, F, and V. This also makes it obvious that these letters (and the ones that follow below) all use the same semi-vertical stem, from which the additional hooks determine the actual letter.

Here we have W and R. Of course the W only has the lower hoop without the small stem above it. This doesn't exactly follow the unvoiced/voiced rule, but it works for these two letters to show that R is a kind of harder and more strongly-enunciated version of the W.

This is just the letter M. And this completes the set of all consonants that use the same vertical stem with an upper hook to the right and a slight lower curve to the left.

So if you're a geek like me, you may be wondering what the pattern is here, or rather what is the point of the pattern in these letters. It's really quite simple: these letters with the same vertical stem are all formed by and pronounced primarily with the lips.

If you go back to the first image, you can see that I arranged the letters into vertical groups or columns. The consonants formed by the lips are all on the left. The middle column is all the letters formed by the tongue behind the teeth: T, D, Th, Dh (voiced Th), S, Z, Sh, Zh, L, and N.

The consonants in the right-most column are formed by the tongue up against the palate: C, G, H, Ch (as in Bach or loch), and Y.

There are also horizontal groupings, as you can see in my initial sketch above. These relate to the kinds of sounds represented: plosives in the top row, fricatives in the middle, semi-vowels in the third row, and nasals on the bottom. This is explained in my document on the Elefdar language, chapter one, located here:

I actually now have all of my consonants and vowels drawn in the calligraphic style, just haven't uploaded the pics to my laptop yet. Anyway the goal is to take those images and make a clean font out of them. More on that soon (hopefully)!