Cantonese Grid Script
Cantonese Grid Script is an alternative way of writing Cantonese
invented by Desmond Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The script is written from right to left in horizontal lines
running from top to bottom.
Each block represents a syllable. The nucleus of a syllable is
placed at the centre of the block. Onset is to the left of the nucleus
and coda is on the right. Tone marker is either written above or
below the nucleus according to pitch level of the tones.
There are no syllabic delimiters. Even syllables are written a bit
lower than the odd syllables to serve this purpose.
Vowel Letter Design
Based on a simplified version of the IPA vowel graph. Vowel letters
are derived by removing some of the grid lines on the resulting six-boxed
grid. For example, the unrounded front open vowel /a/ is located at the
bottom left corner on the IPA vowel graph and the six-boxed grid as well.
The two adjacent grid lines attached to the bottom left corner point are
removed from the six-boxed grid. The modified grid is the letter for vowel
/a/. All unrounded vowel letters are formed by removing two adjacent grid
lines. For rounded vowel letters, only one adjacent grid line is removed.
Diphthong Letter Design
Similar to the vowels, but this time remove the adjacent lines of the two
vowels in a diphthong. Whenever appropriate, dots can be used to indicate
the first component of diphthongs, in order to avoid confusion. For example,
without marking the first component with a dot, the letters for /iu/ and /ui/
would be identical.
Consonant Letter Design
Desmond started by breaking down phonemes into components such as bilabial,
plosive, alveolar, etc. Then he assigned a symbolic letter to each component,
reflecting some features of the component, for example, two horizontal lines
for bilabial and a U-shaped letter for nasal. The two most significant components
of each consonant are stacking to form the letter. The stacking order is not
regularised so as to increase the degree of freedom in aesthetics. Two or more
consonant letters can be combined to form new letters for consonant clusters.
Tone Marker Design
Hong Kong Cantonese has six tones. The third tone is considered to be a neutral
tone and is not marked. The first and second tones have higher pitch levels and
the fourth, fifth and sixth tones have lower pitch levels. Markers for the former
tones are placed above the nucleus letter in a syllabic block, while markers for
the latter tones are placed below it.
Markers for level tones are horizontal lines, while markers for rising and falling
tones are L-shaped lines.
Cantonese Grid Script
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