Con-scripts

During the past few months only one or two constructed scripts per week have been coming into Omniglot headquarters, sometimes fewer than that. This week however, there has been a small flood of them with five new scripts so far, two of which are now online: Betacap, an alternative alphabet for English invented by Polly, and Handaues, an alphabet for a conlang invented for a calligraphy project. I’ve even been inspired to create a new script myself: Curvetic, another alternative alphabet for English.

I have numerous bits of paper scattered around my desk with ideas for con-scripts. Few of them seem to work very well when I try writing texts in them though. What I try to achieve in a script is one that looks elegant and/or could be a real writing system.

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14 Responses to Con-scripts

  1. Colm says:

    I am working on a con-script myself for my con-lang Géléstí. It is the first of my conlangs that I am actually getting some place with.

    You can see a sample of it written in the Latin script with translations and hear an audio version. I have also put up a sample of the script.

    http://corcaighist.blogspot.com/2007/05/mu-tangel-urs.html

  2. Colm says:

    I forgot to say that a good easy to use script maker is:

    Glyph Maker:

    http://qatama.googlepages.com/GlyphMaker.exe

    you just create the glyphs by joining up the letters and then pressing ‘draw’. You can then ‘save’ them and/ or ‘copy’ them to another photo editing programme.

    numbers like 1, 2,3 give you curves and a semi colon ‘:’ will break the line and start a new one.

  3. Polly says:

    @Simon: Thanks for the plug!

    @Colm: Very interesting. Thanks!

  4. Travis says:

    Being an invented language enthusiast myself, I was particularly happy to see a blog about conlangs on Omniglot… I enjoyed going over Colm’s page, and then to discover that Simon and Polly are also involved in their own creations. Of note while reading about Polly’s Betacap, was the interesting dynamic of creating a writing system for the intention of privacy, while simultaneously wanting to share it with others by having it posted on a website. I do the same. Bringing a creation that used to be secret and solitaire to a like-minded community makes me feel like the conlang is more alive. Getting feedback is reassuring. Of course, sometimes the consequences aren’t what you expect. Many years ago, I painted an art assignment right into my diary, which is written mostly in my hieroglyphic script called Tapissary. I was eager to get some attention for my language. The teacher was so bowled over when I opened the book to show him the homework framed in Tapissary, that he circulated the diary around the school for the other art classes to see. I was beet red with embarrassment, but only in the best way. People approached me with real interest in their questions. I was riding on what felt like triumph for several hours, until a dreadful thought occurred to me returning home, that some of the diary was in English. Sure enough, flipping through the pages frantically hoping not to find anything of consequence… there was, instead, plenty to cause me to loose many nights’ sleep… and some of it was lettered very prominently. But I would do it again. After all, my invented language has become internalized over the years, and it allows for unlimited linguistic experiments to express ideas, to draw entirely new shapes, and to share these interests with others. That seems worth a couple years’ embarrassment.

  5. Colm says:

    Thanks for the story Travis. And wow, your website is so class. For a sec I thought they were actually pictures of a real village. :-D Well done! Is there anywhere that you talk about creating your language and the script for it?

  6. rek says:

    I just thought I’d say thanks again to Simon for posting my conscript a few weeks back, and for running a site like this. I love scripts and conscripts, and I think a resource like this (for conscripts particularly), which doesn’t get bogged down in the minutia of the fantasy or alien setting and instead has a solid core of real linguistic and orthographic references/contexts, is perfect.

    I’ve been working on a scifi novel for a couple of years now and one of the earliest intentions was to include a conscript (I’m a sucker for fiction with appendices). I’ve been agonizing over the script as much as the manuscript itself, so I visit Omniglot about once a week to see if anyone else found some good solutions to the problems/goals I’ve come across.

    Thanks again Simon!

  7. Very cool! I have a con-script called Erekett-Aramansch that I’ve been using for my novel. So far I’ve managed to come up with the everyday print form that I imagine people would use for mundane purposes, but now I’ve got to figure out how one writes in cursive with a vertical script…

  8. Travis says:

    Colm, I appreciate your post. Thanks. To answer your question, yes, I plan to put up a page in late July about the process I use to invent hieroglyphs. It’s been brought to my attention before that I should talk about “creating” Tapissary… the “why” and “how” of the process. I keep forgetting to write about that aspect, but now I intend to incorporate it into the July entry. So your comment was really helpful in adjusting my focus. By the way, yesterday, I was unable to access your spoken language, but a friend will help me with the proper plug-in at the end of this month. Then I will be able to hear Mú tangél úrs. I’m looking forward to it.
    rek… I was interested to see your page after reading your post, but you hadn’t mentioned what the name of your conscript is, or where it is on Omniglot. Could you post the information? Thanks :)
    Minstrel Ayreon… great idea to use your language in a novel. Have you seen the page on Mongolian on Omniglot? Like Erekett-Aramansch it is also written from top to bottom, and is cursive… if that’s what you were looking for.

  9. TJ says:

    Simon: I would suggest getting a calligraphy pen with a piece of paper ….. and look at nature. Set a goal first, is it for fun? or for a conlang indeed? or just for a real language?

    for ever question of those there is an answer that will lead you to something. You can be like a primitive man and try to shape your letters on lines that resemble something, or you can make out your con-script out of an already existing one, or you can imagine combining several shapes from various scripts into a single shape with some edition to make it reasonable to write.

    Calligraphy pen is nice and I regret that I didn’t use it for my con-script font. With some inspiration you can form the letters you like … some how can be like an antique looking script…. but this is not a problem at all if you like it to be curvatic. All over the world, texts and scripts are based on original set of letters, and then a curvatic form is developed by people from this original set. But I don’t remember that I encountered a curvatic script that was born to be curvatic just like that!
    Correct me please! :)

  10. Travis–

    The novel actually came first; the language came second as I started to understand the culture, geography, and so on. I won’t be printing the alphabet inside the book except maybe on the spine or something, or if there’s reason for it on the cover art, but I felt like it was one of those things I should know about for description’s sake. To me, the Mongolian alphabet looks like Arabic written sideways…I’m not entirely sure if that’s the exact form I’d want Erekett-Aramansch to have, but that page does provide some interesting considerations for when I devise my own.

  11. TJ says:

    Minstrel: your type of writing is fantastic … but the main problem is … in font making i guess.
    I myself tried to make an arabic font myself but it was hard for me to develope.
    Concerning mongolian script, I think mongols adapted this script gradually from tocharian or from some other central-asian people which in return adapted their writing and based it on aramaic (or syriac, assyrian) and that’s why it looks like Arabic but sideways! Thanks to Alexander The Great i guess!

  12. rek says:

    Minstrel – If you’re going to the trouble of inventing a conscript, you need it put it in the book. At least in the back, as a reference. If I get my way, chapter titles will be written in my script (subtitled in English) and it’ll be listed somewhere at the back between the maps (which will also use the script) and the glossary… I do love appendices.

    Travis – It’s Chumauni. It’s not the one for the aforementioned novel, it’s from an unrelated project.

  13. Brittanie says:

    I too have lots of conscripts and I even have 2 that have been made into fonts by a conlanging buddy. I have alot of English ciphers too along with tons of conscripts. I’ve been into this for over 3 years now.

    It started when I was 11 and grew from there ever since. I love your website and this blog and your forum Simon! Keep it up! I would love to see your ideas for conscripts someday. Feel free to send them to me:

    butterfly10f[at]aol[dot]com

    Also I might even request to have a page on Omniglot for one of my scripts someday. It’s all a matter of preparation. :)

    Love

    Brittanie a.k.a “Serali”

  14. Jake says:

    I’m fairly new to conlangs and conscripts (since last spring), but have several ideas. I just finishing a phonetic script based mainly on Germanic characters (with a few borrowings from the Cyrillic alphabet). I’m just practicing with it and working out the bugs. I’ll plan to send to Simon when it’s finished. Eventually, I’ll turn it into a shorthand to use for school.

    Thanks Simon for this awsome site. There’s nobody in my area who has an intrest for linguistics (most people don’t have a clue of what I’m talking about).