Writing Systems of the World Comparison Chart

Today we have a guest post by Matt Baker

I remember the day when, as a child, I first discovered a writing system other than English. I was flipping through an encylopedia (this was the 1980’s, pre-Google) and noticed that, at the beginning of the “A” section, there was a little chart that showed the English letter equivalent in both Hebrew and Greek. I was fascinated by this and immediately tried to make my own chart showing all 26 letters in the other two languages. Like many English speakers who have never learned another language, I assumed that all foreign writing systems would have 26 letters that perfectly corresponded to the English ones. Obviously, this was not the case and I quickly discovered this when I tried to make my chart. Frustrated and confused, I gave up.

Well, it has been over 30 years since that day, and now that I have a little more education and life experience under my belt, I decided to complete the task. But this time, I included 45 different writing systems (or alternatives). Of course, the correlations do not match perfectly and I’ve had to divide the systems into different types (abjads, alphabets, abugidas, etc.) but the result is pretty cool. My goal in making this chart was not to provide a technical, comprehensive guide to each individual writing system but rather to demonstrate the beauty and variety of the world’s writing systems (hence, please note that the indicated pronunciations are approximate and that in some cases, certain additional characters may be missing).

The chart is finished (except for some final checks from those who know each system) and I’m currently raising funds on Kickstarter to get it printed. If you’re interested, please take a look at the project page. There you’ll find a full list of the writing systems included.

A preview of the writing system chart

This entry was posted in English, Language, Writing.

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