Archive for the Category: Writing


Did you know that the practice of putting spaces between words was started by Irish monks writing in Latin? This is what I discovered from an episode of the Allusionist – apparently when Christianity arrived in Ireland in the 6th century and people started writing in Latin, they put spaces between the words to make […]

Also posted in English, Irish, Language, Latin 4 Comments


Whenever I see a well-written text with a good layout, it really appeals to me and I find myself staring at it and admiring it. I also admire particularly well-made fonts, and beautiful handwriting and calligraphy. On the other hand, texts can be marred for me by a poor choice of font and/or layout, and […]

Also posted in English, Language 1 Comment

Schrijfrichting / Scriptpath

Last week a visitor to Omniglot asked me whether there is a single word in English that means writing direction, i.e. the direction in which writing systems are written. The Latin alphabet, for example, is written from left to right in horizontal lines, as are many other writing systems, while writing systems like Arabic and […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, German, Language, Words and phrases 8 Comments

Pibeqɛdæ – new con-script

Here’s a script, called Pibeqɛdæ, that I constructed this afternoon based on the letter p, mainly. It has most of the phonemes used in English, and could be further extended. I put it together just to demonstate to a visitor to Omniglot how you might make a con-script. It turned out quite well, I think. […]


Emergent con-scripts

A while ago I had an idea for trying to construct a script with symbols based on representations of natural phenomena – animals, birds, plants, features of the landscape, etc – which would be linked to the sounds via acrophony. Then to simplify the images a number of times until I have a set of […]


Iban alphabet

I thought that almost all the world’s writing systems were on Omniglot, but today I discovered another one: the Iban alphabet, which was invented in 1947 by Dunging Anak Gunggu. It’s a partly syllabic, partly alphabetic script that never really caught on, mainly because there was no tradition of writing among the Iban-speaking community. During […]

Also posted in Language 3 Comments

Language quiz

Your challenge this week is to identify the con-scripts on these signs, all of which appear on Omniglot, and to decipher each one. Do you also know what the original texts were on these signs? Or can you suggest amusing alternatives? Three of the signs are in English, the other one is in Chinese.

Also posted in Language, Quiz questions 14 Comments

Scripts and alphabets

I tend to use the words script and alphabet fairly interchangeably – I might talk about the Arabic script or the Arabic alphabet, for example. However I just noticed today that Wikipedia has one page on the Cyrillic script, which focuses mainly on the history of the script/alphabet, and separate pages for Cyrillic alphabets as […]

Also posted in Language 9 Comments


Can anybody identify the script in these pictures and decipher it? There images were sent in by a visitor to Omniglot. I think I might be Syriac.

Also posted in Language 11 Comments

Endangered Alphabets Project

Today we have a guest post by Tim Brookes, founder of the Endangered Alphabets Project. As some of you know (in part because Simon has been kind enough to publicize my work on Omniglot), I’ve been spending the past three years gathering texts in writing systems that seem in danger of extinction, and then carving […]

Also posted in Language 3 Comments
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