Shavian Alphabet    Shavian


The Shavian or Shaw alphabet is named after George Bernard Shaw and was devised by Kingsley Read. Shaw saw use of the Latin alphabet for writing English as a great waste of time, energy and paper, so in his will he stipulated that a competition should be held to create a new writing system for English and made provision for a prize of £500. The competition took place in 1958 and Kingsley Read's system was chosen as the winner out of the 467 entries.

Shaw's will also stipulated that his play Androcles and the Lion should be printed in the winning alphabet. Few other texts were printed and the alphabet, which became known as Shavian, was never seriously considered as an alternative for writing English.

Notable features

The Shavian alphabet

Shavian alphabet

Download an alphabet chart for Shavian (Excel)

Sample text in Shavian

𐑷𐑤 𐑣𐑿𐑥𐑩𐑯 𐑚𐑰𐑦𐑙𐑟 𐑸 𐑚𐑹𐑯 𐑓𐑮𐑰 𐑯 𐑰𐑒𐑢𐑩𐑤 𐑦𐑯 𐑛𐑦𐑜𐑯𐑦𐑑𐑰 𐑯 𐑮𐑲𐑑𐑕. 𐑞𐑱 𐑸 𐑧𐑯𐑛𐑬𐑛 𐑢𐑦𐑞 𐑮𐑰𐑟𐑩𐑯 𐑯 𐑒𐑪𐑯𐑖𐑩𐑯𐑕 𐑯 𐑖𐑫𐑛 𐑨𐑒𐑑 𐑑𐑩𐑢𐑹𐑛𐑟 𐑢𐑳𐑯 𐑩𐑯𐑳𐑞𐑼 𐑦𐑯 𐑩 𐑕𐑐𐑦𐑮𐑦𐑑 𐑝 𐑚𐑮𐑳𐑞𐑼𐑣𐑫𐑛.

This is a cursive version of the sample text by Evan Gallagher

Sample text in cursive Shavian



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)

Information about Shavian | Tower of Babel


Information about the Shavian alphabet

Shavian fonts

Alternative spelling/writing systems

Benjamin Franklin's Phonetic Alphabet, Deseret, Dialectal Paleotype, Interbet, Pitman Initial Teaching Alphabet, Quikscript/Read Alphabet, Shavian, Simpel-Fonetik, Unifon

Page last modified: 04.01.22


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