Looking into Pragmabhava

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Joined: Sun 22 Jun 2014 4:17 am

Looking into Pragmabhava

Postby D_arte » Sun 21 May 2017 9:37 pm

So, originally I was to post everything I had to say about this writing system I've been working on, but then it had became really long post, so I'll be more straight-forward this time and add more info as it seems relevant, specially if you ask about it.

The con-script is named Pragmabhava from the Greek "Pragma" and the Hindi "Prabhava". I created it for the purposes of a science-fiction story I'm writing, but I fancy if it could be used IRL to some extent. The chosen phonemes are biased towards English and European Portuguese which has many unique quirks. The hallmarks of this script is distinctiveness of both phonemes used and glyphs. I simplified the said languages to remove redundancy and ambiguity. The point is that similar sounding syllables of different languages will use the same glyph and so even if this script is unsuitable for any one language, it will be able to approximate most of them.

In the story I'm writing, Pragmabhava was invented by southeastern Asian people in a post-cyberpunk near-future, so it is optimized for computer and industrial settings. It can be easily read even if glyphs are jumbled in rotation or mirroring. And so it's great under Boustrophedon, also easy on stencils (ie. industrial or military warning signs) and digital segment displays. It is to feature cases and cursive styles. It will be some sort of Alphabet, but with featural behaviour which I'm not yet sure how to implement. It uses 19 consonants, 3 main vowels, 14 vowel modifiers and 3 "tones". So far I've only came up with uppercase mechanical style consonants.

To develop these, I first came up a table with all the phonemes targeted:


"Rh", "Ch", "Lh", "Nh" and "Th" are all special sounds in one way or another. "Rh" and "Th" from English, the others from Portuguese.

Next I made up new glyphs to replace these. Sometimes I let them look somewhat Cyrillic or Latin, but I attempted to be original. So the Table became this:


You might notice that columns have themes. The "curved" (as I call them), the squares, the triangles and the "Jays". Only one of the Post-Alveolar Fricative being an exception. I also made related sounds to share characteristics, thus the last Alveolar Fricative looking more like a "Jay" glyph than a triangle.

Something that concerns me so far is the aesthetic cohesiveness of these glyphs. That will be more important with cursive, so I'm taking a while to work on that part.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sun 22 Jun 2014 4:17 am

Re: Looking into Pragmabhava

Postby D_arte » Mon 12 Jun 2017 5:49 pm

I've got news.
I think I have the consonants and vowels solid.

All the characters are supposed to fit in a grid of sorts.
I've decided that consonants are more block-like, spanning the whole square are of the grid. Vowels are to be more triangular shaped, made from diagonal lines, and apart from some exceptions, they only fill half the grid.
In my country there's this sort of game about drawing a house without lifting up the pen...
The three bottom symbols show how the base grids are assembled to make syllable blocks (as in Hangul). Because we'd rather not overlap characters, it's the reason vowels only fill half the grid.
Unlike Hangul, there's only these three arrangements, for Vow.-Cons.-Vow. and Cons.-Vow.-Cons. and Vow.-Vow (diphtong) syllables. It is allowed to have singled out characters or partial blocks, if required, thus something like "Cons.-Vowel" but not double consonants because that's retarded.

This is the updated table of consonants:
And here's the vowels:

These characters are set in rather "boring" positions, but Pragmabhava allows for the need or desire to rotate or mirror characters at will. They may be made to look quite different, but I assume a reader would be trained to pay attention to topology of the strokes rather than their superficial appearance. See last picture for example...

At last, there's tone marks, which when drawn alone as a lonely block are interpreted as cliques. Otherwise they tell the separation of words (rather than spacing as roman system) and accents (as in Portuguese) or tones (as in Chinese).
There's three symbols for each mark for convenience and other variable reasons dependent on who is writing.

For a sample to show various features of this system in action, here's the word "Amanhã" (Tomorrow)' and "A Gay May Day" written in Pragmabhava.
In original words are broken up to show how they are arranged in the syllabic blocks. As you can see, regular vowels can be made to not overlap the consonants in their block by rotating around. The last block for "Nhã" only needs two characters, thus we use the "V-C-V" arrangement, but ignore the first vowel space. We could also use "C-V-C" and ignore drawing the last consonant. This is up to the person writing.

On the little frase, I choose similar words, so you can focus on the "ay" diphtong. These are pronounced "ae", thus that's the character choosen to write that. As you can see, the same character is rotated along. This would in practice be used to minimise confusion in these characters that do overlap, but can be used stylistically too.
The first "A" article is a single vowel so there's no need to get fancy, you can choose to write it straight-forwardly. It can be desired to ignore some rules of Pragmabhava, like the direction of writing or the syllabic block arrangements and thus, there's tolerance for that. In the story I'm writting this is a factor that distinguish classes of people in society. Every person has different quirks or understanding of the language, be all the writings are readable and interchangeable, in similar fashion to how Japanese people mix their 3 writing systems in the same sentences.

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