Language puzzle

This image was sent in Valérie, who would like to know if anyone knows which alphabet and language it is and what it means.

Language puzzle

The letters appear to be Hebrew to me, though the way it’s written is not how Hebrew is usually written.

This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

0 Responses to Language puzzle

  1. mike says:

    many of the letters look like they could be hebrew, but some don’t. perhaps it is a multilingual text or something?

  2. Trochee says:

    Perhaps it’s Japanese kana written in a “Hebrew” font?

    You know, like the “Chinese” fonts that are chinese characters chosen because of their apparent similarity to Roman characters?

    I wonder if Hanzismatter could help?

  3. sam says:

    It’s certainly Hebrew-esque, but a lot of the letters are definitely not Hebrew. Possibly something like Ge’ez?

  4. micah says:

    maybe adaptions of old hanzi. perhaps an abandoned korean script that borrowed from chinese.
    Or maybe a turkic language from far western China.
    I think because of the layout and especially the red stamps that it must have some influence from Chinese.

  5. peter j. franke says:

    I wonder why there is a semy stamp mark with text: “Musée Poste” ?
    So I think it’s a peace of art, based on phantasy inspired by a mix of Hebrew, Uyghur, Korean and some more scripts. Or it is a conscript, not yet registered at this site…

  6. prase says:

    You can find there with some approximation katakana ウ, hebrew ק ,ה, or ד and rotated latin F, G…

    I am sure this is not a “natural” alphabet. It is some artwork or encrypted text.

  7. Michael says:

    Yeah, I second the art hypothesis. This is not in any language.

  8. xarxa says:

    some letters incorporated from tibetan and devanagari…

  9. The logo is for the le Musée de la Poste. Perhaps it is a postcard promoting an exhibit.

  10. d.m.falk says:

    Whatever it is, I want to know more about it! 🙂

    It’s obviously written in vertical columns, from right to left.

    If this is a conscript or artscript, it may be on the same scale as Voynich or the Codex Seraphinianus- undecipherable.

    (who owns a copy of the Codex Seraphinianus…)

  11. d.m.falk says:

    I should also say some of the features of this script reminds me of Phags-pa.


  12. Chris Hughes says:

    I have just been through a book I have, called ‘The Gospel in Many Tongues’ which contains samples of 875 writing systems, and the one it most closely resembles (to me) is listed as ‘Japanese, colloquial (Kogotai), Kana-majiri char.’

  13. Amy says:

    I think we can be fairly sure that it is not Japanese, transliterated or otherwise. For one thing, there seem to be spaces in between words, in which case there are two sentences (assuming the circle dot represents a period) that start with one character words and are followed by several character words. I can’t think of a Japanese sentence off the top of my head that might do that. What’s more, many of the characters seem to be connected in a way similar to that of Sanskrit sandhi – my guess is that the dots, dashes and lines on top of and beneath the letters represent either vowels or conjunct consonants. Also, can anyone find the same group of characters twice? I’ve looked and looked, but I don’t see any repetitions of clusters.

  14. Zachary says:

    It’s a constructed script meant to emulate various writing styles of Asia, possibly as a promotion for some Asian exhibit at the Musée de la Poste. The top-down right-to-left writing style comes from Chinese-derived scripts (Hanzi, Kanji, etc.). The characters themselves show various features pertaining to South-East Asian scripts such as Tibetan and Devanagari; and also incorporates some elements from Mongolian (both ‘Phagspa and Monɣul bičig). There are probably other influences such as Hebrew, Arabic, and Japanese, but all that to say, that it’s highly unlikely to be an actual (natural) writing system, especially considering how quite a few letters only appear once in the entire postcard. Another factor that off-throws the Asian writing hypothesis is the writing style; there’s no emphasis on stroke or font weight, making it look more modern European than anything else. And on a final random note, the author is right-handed.

  15. Matthew Howie says:

    I would say it is Tibetan. Quite a few of the letters closely resemble Tibetan letters, but I haven’t studied it enough to tell what it is talking about.

  16. jdotjdot89 says:

    I suspect this is more than just scribbling. I also doubt its natural evolution as an orthography, but there are some elements that point to this being more than a random assortment of characters. For example, the character in the leftmost column, five from the top—that character appears a number of times throughout the text, apparantly as a separate “word” most of the time, with visible spaces before and after. If that is the case, we can automatically rule this out as being a conscript for a number of languages, particularly Semitic languages, and it makes Asian languages unlikely (as there wouldn’t be any spaces at all. I know someone commented on this earlier).

    Any thoughts on this?

  17. TJ says:

    I believe it is a conscript. Somehow amalgamating the Hebrew handwriting with …. Tibetan shapes and other asian scripts. Notice how lot of characters got an upper right upright corner, which (as far as I recall) it is something that characterizes the special look of some asian scripts like Tibetan (and Soyombo or Somboyo, forgot the name, sorry).

  18. TJ says:

    Further look suggests that, it is a tibetan based script (clearly see some tibetan characters) and the voweling system is adapted from Hebrew (nikkud) where it is used above and below the letters. Some letters are directly taken from hebrew as I can see the “Qof” and maybe the writer took some letters from Hebrew of which there are no direct equivalent in Tibetan language.

  19. Nikki says:

    Maybe it’s French (since the museum is French) where each letter in has been replaced by a character from an Asian script… or possibly where each sound has been replaced by a character from an Asian script which has the same sound.

  20. renato figueiredo says:

    What I have been seeing is everybody gave it’s opinion, but unfortunately, none of us have any idea, of what is written or in which language. This is a real mistery language quiz.

  21. Jon @ ALTA says:

    This looks like a case for the Language Sleuth! No further leads?

  22. WCook says:

    This language looks like it was cooked up in somebody’s basement. It’s got clashing characteristics. The markers are somewhat consistent but there isn’t enough flow for anyone to be able to make much of a call based on any one alphabet. Unless that alphabet has a change in apperance based on grammar. This script is beautiful, but doesn’t look organic to me. I’m going to take a stab at this. Anybody else got any ideas?

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