Nóläm alphabet

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Nóläm    Nóläm

Fabian Alvarez Lopez began to be develop the Nóläm or Drihleön alphabet in about 1989, when he was still in High School. It was inspired by the Devanagari alphabet, but unlike it, it's a true alphabet, not an abiguda. The language it's mainly used for is also called Nóläm (it's unknown whether the language named the alphabet, or the alphabet named the language), and it serves as the lingua franca in a world called Eört, where Fabian set most of the fantasy stories which he has written.

Internal history of the Nóläm alphabet

The Nóläm alphabet is thought to have been invented by king Drïhl of Eërtál Nahíl, in the mists of memory. It has suffered some changes and reforms over the centuries, and the modern alphabet is quite different to the one used to write Imperial and Ecclesiastical Nóläm, the older forms of modern Nóläm. Nóläm means 'the language of all people', so the Nóläm alphabet is also called the Nólkäb, 'the script of all people'. The Nóläm language is spoken from most peoples, across the world of Eört. It's also used to write other genetically related languages, such as Aanaräm, Arthálam, or Barékam, and some unrelated ones, such as Dänáräm.

Nóläm alphabet

Nóläm alphabet


  • Stress is marked by a series of dashes on the vowels. Stress is phonologically distinctive. The palatalized vowels ä, ë, ö, ü are stressed by default. Words are not accented if they are unambiguous (see 'lia', in the text below). The vowel /ɐ/ is always unstressed, and has a dialectal allophone, [ə]. Eg. Nolam vowel example 1 a /a/ á [á]
  • The grapheme for [é] looks different to the grapheme for /e/ because it was once an additional half-open vowel, /ɛ/. This vowel carried compulsory stress, so it began to be confused with the stressed form of the vowel /e/. Nolam vowel example 2 É [é]
  • In some archaic words, the letter 'y' closes the final syllable, written 'ý'. It has the sound [í]. Nolam vowel example 3 -ý [í]
  • There were originally two glottal phonemes, [h] and [ɦ], written with two different letters. Now, [ɦ] only appears as an allophone of [h] at the beginning of words, when [h] precedes the non-palatalized open and half-open vowels [a], [ɐ] [e] and [o], and when [h] appears in the middle of words between vowels. The letter that had the sound [ɦ] has retained its value at the beginning of words, but has acquired other uses: it marks syllable boundaries between consonants, breaks diphthongs, and elides vowels at the end of words if the following word begins with the same vowel. The letter for the sound /h/ has also become a symbol for vowel length, so when the sound [h] appears after a vowel, and there's risk of ambiguity, the two letters appear together, in the combination [V'h] Nolam vowel example 4 ' /h/ [ɦ] h /h/
  • The symbol for the comma was originally a letter for the glottal stop, which was once a phoneme in Nóläm. When the phoneme was the lost, the letter was kept. Punctuation is a work in progress; Nóläm has punctuation for the period (the same symbol is used for the full stop), the colon and the semi-colon. There are no question marks or exclamation marks. Other symbols are still undeveloped. Nolam vowel example 5 Comma ','
  • Nóläm consonants are phonemic, and they have always the same value, except the three voiced consonants which appear at the end of the alphabet [v], [z] and [ʒ]; at the end of a word, these consonants are devoiced, so 'gäv' (boy) and 'gäf' (cloud) are both pronounced [gjaf].

Sample text in Nóläm

Sample text in Nóläm


Maná lian, lia manänbar


"Art is beauty, and beauty is art" (John Keats)

If you are interested in knowing more, or would like to develop, as a hobby, a Nóläm font, you can contact Fabian at Nahthze[at]wanadoo[dot]com

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