Phon alphabet Phon alphabet

Phon is a universal auxiliary writing system invented by Samuel Putman. Universal because, like the International Phonetic Alphabet, Phon can be used in principle to write any statement in any language. Auxiliary because, like Esperanto, Phon is not designed to replace existing natural scripts, but rather to offer a way for all peoples of the world to write, precisely, the statements they wish to make.

Therefore, Phon is featural, representing sounds by the shapes of the individual glyphs. Featural writing systems have been designed before, and Phon owes a debt to these. In particular, it can be considered a descendant of the Tengwar, although it uses the basic scheme in a different manner. Consonants are composed of a stem (the sirpe) which shows the locations where the sound is articulated, and a leaf (lasse) showing place of articulation. Vowels also have a rational form, and can be placed above or below the lasse of a consonant, or over a bare sirpe to represent dipthongs and isolated vowels.

Furthermore, Phon is designed so that every stroke, and hence every character, exhibits asymmetry over the vertical axis. That is to say, no characters take the form of the letter 'w', which is symmetrical a cross its own axis, and no characters take the forms of the lowercase letters 'b' and 'd', which are mirrors of each other across this axis. As a result, Phon can be written and understood in either direction, and with either hand, without changing the shapes of the strokes.

Notable features

Phon alphabet

Pulmonic consonants

Pulmonic consonants in the Phon alphabet

Non-Pulmonic consonants and other symbols

Non-Pulmonic consonants and other symbols in the Phon alphabet


Vowels in the Phon alphabet


Diacritics in the Phon alphabet

Sample text

Sample text in Phon


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Phon Book - more details of the Phon alphabet (PDF, 2MB)

If you have any questions about Phon alphabet, you can contact Samuel at:

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