Calligraphy

Writing systems, visual arts, and other cultural bits

Re: Calligraphy

Postby alavda-isere » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:37 pm

Dedalvs wrote:We need to square a couple of things before we get to an orthography, I think. Some questions to consider:

  • Are ts and dz separate phonemes, or stop+fricative sequences?
  • Same question for tx and (if it exists) dj.
  • Is there never an initial ng?
  • Aside from the affricates above, are there initial consonant clusters? Which are allowed? (I don't recall seeing any...)
  • Are non-homorganic nasal+consonant pairs allowed? In other words, ns contrasting with ms, or even nm sequences?
  • Is there really no [j] or [w]?


These are good questions to consider, and it's making me think we should consider holding off on actually creating an orthography until we're a bit more firm on things like this. I can't speak for everyone, but in my estimation, here's our phonology as it currently stands:

stops: p b t d k g
fricatives: f v ʃ ʒ s z
affricates (as individual phonemes): ts dz tʃ dʒ
nasals: m n ŋ
liquid: l

Syllable structure is (C)V(C), with no consonant clusters. Initial C seems to be all consonants except /ŋ/. Final C is limited to fricatives, nasals and /l/.
As for your last questions, I don't think they've been addressed. Realistically, I think it would be hard to actually distinguish [ns] from [ms] in fluent speech, or to clearly pronounce both sounds in an [nm] sequence, but I'm not sure how that should be treated orthographically, or how we're dealing with it phonemically. Personally I'd be in favor of some sort of partial or complete assimilation in cases like this (esp. with derivational or inflectional affixes, if any). It might be something to bring up in the phonology thread.
As for [j] and [w], as you can see, we haven't selected those as phonemes. Something about the way you phrased your question makes me think this is odd from a naturalistic sense; am I right? Or do you just really like glides? :)
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby Dedalvs » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:00 pm

alavda-isere wrote:Syllable structure is (C)V(C), with no consonant clusters. Initial C seems to be all consonants except /ŋ/. Final C is limited to fricatives, nasals and /l/.


No room for /ŋ/ at the onset party, eh? I think we should give him a chance!

alavda-isere wrote:As for your last questions, I don't think they've been addressed. Realistically, I think it would be hard to actually distinguish [ns] from [ms] in fluent speech, or to clearly pronounce both sounds in an [nm] sequence, but I'm not sure how that should be treated orthographically, or how we're dealing with it phonemically. Personally I'd be in favor of some sort of partial or complete assimilation in cases like this (esp. with derivational or inflectional affixes, if any). It might be something to bring up in the phonology thread.


I'd be in favor of total assimilation--that way we could have a preconsonantal nasal character. I have something similar in Epiq's orthography.

alavda-isere wrote:As for [j] and [w], as you can see, we haven't selected those as phonemes. Something about the way you phrased your question makes me think this is odd from a naturalistic sense; am I right? Or do you just really like glides? :)


I find the pair to be useful animals. There are a number of languages without one or both, though (Hawaiian lacks [j]; Russian lacks [w] [kind of]; and...Uummarmiut has neither? Is that right?). And that's not to say that they couldn't spontaneously arise from the characters assigned to /i/ and /u/.

I've been toying with some orthographic forms, and I thought I'd post them here to see what people thought. The one that had been proposed thus far had a syllabic structure, so I thought I'd stick to that. All the forms below show the syllable /gi/, and also show it broken down:

Image

The first two are font variations on the orthography already proposed (call them Kadani A and Kadani B). The first uses brush strokes, and the second is blockier. I think the orthography as it is will need some work (I made a couple of executive decisions already with the forms shown), but it can work.

The next one, Curvy Glyphs, is intended to have big consonantal characters with vowels added on top or in between. I had this kind of curvy idea in mind that I think could work (and now that I'm looking at it, I would change the lower left point on the g to be an actual point, and not a stroke at its terminus).

The Square Script is this idea I had (always wanted to implement it; never have) where each element will have a square in common. The vowels would go inside the square, and the consonantal part would go outside of it. I think it could look kind of Native American-y, if you see what I'm thinking about.

The last one is inspired by Sheli's orthography (haven't put a page up yet), but instead of the consonant being on top and the vowel on the bottom, the consonant is on the bottom and the vowel is on top. I was thinking that every glyph would have the midline in common (the one that has a downward swoosh to the left and an upward swoosh to the right), but that's not necessary.

Anyway, those are just some ideas I had right now and fonted up. My idea was if we liked any of them, I could continue in a similar style. The glyph design itself can still be collaborative (e.g. I didn't design any of the elements in Kadani A or B: I just instantiated them, as it were), and there's always room for tweaking.

The nice thing about the font program I have is that we can make it so that no matter how the script works, we can type it linearly as an alphabet and get it to come out the way it was intended to (hooray for ligatures!).
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby alavda-isere » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:50 pm

Dedalvs wrote:No room for /ŋ/ at the onset party, eh? I think we should give him a chance!


I personally love /ŋ/ as an onset, though I admit it is a bit challenging for most of us on this forum.

Dedalvs wrote:I'd be in favor of total assimilation--that way we could have a preconsonantal nasal character. I have something similar in Epiq's orthography.


The example you have in Epiq (which is a lovely orthography, by the way!) doesn't appear to be total assimilation; it's partial. Here's what I mean by partial vs. total:

Partial: amka -> angka (/aŋka/) or amba (though I think the former is more likely?)
Total: amka -> amma or akka

Dedalvs wrote:I find the pair to be useful animals. There are a number of languages without one or both, though (Hawaiian lacks [j]; Russian lacks [w] [kind of]; and...Uummarmiut has neither? Is that right?). And that's not to say that they couldn't spontaneously arise from the characters assigned to /i/ and /u/.


I think it's likely that we'll get glides through diphthongization, unless, of course, we decide to use epenthesis to split up adjacent vowels (as was discussed in another thread somewhere with double/long vowels). However, there's no reason that /i/ and /u/ need to be orthographically distinct from [j] and [w], should we go that way :)

Dedalvs wrote:I've been toying with some orthographic forms, and I thought I'd post them here to see what people thought. The one that had been proposed thus far had a syllabic structure, so I thought I'd stick to that. All the forms below show the syllable /gi/, and also show it broken down:

<snip>


I love the look of the last one, personally! It's very... curvy and graceful. I like the curvy glyphs, for the same reason! I also like the concept of the square script, but I don't like the fact that it's a square. LOL, I don't know if that makes sense...
I also like the abjad/abiguda character of all of them (I'm not quite clear on the precise difference, myself). I'm curious, though: how would we handle words like xueba, which has a syllable with no C (e) and baloj, which has a syllable with a coda (loj)?

Dedalvs wrote:The nice thing about the font program I have is that we can make it so that no matter how the script works, we can type it linearly as an alphabet and get it to come out the way it was intended to (hooray for ligatures!).


That is lovely indeed!
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby Dedalvs » Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:21 am

alavda-isere wrote:
Dedalvs wrote:I'd be in favor of total assimilation--that way we could have a preconsonantal nasal character. I have something similar in Epiq's orthography.


The example you have in Epiq (which is a lovely orthography, by the way!) doesn't appear to be total assimilation; it's partial. Here's what I mean by partial vs. total:

Partial: amka -> angka (/aŋka/) or amba (though I think the former is more likely?)
Total: amka -> amma or akka


Well, yes. To be technical, then, I mean progressive nasal assimilation with respect to place.

alavda-isere wrote:
Dedalvs wrote:I've been toying with some orthographic forms, and I thought I'd post them here to see what people thought. The one that had been proposed thus far had a syllabic structure, so I thought I'd stick to that. All the forms below show the syllable /gi/, and also show it broken down:

<snip>


I love the look of the last one, personally! It's very... curvy and graceful. I like the curvy glyphs, for the same reason! I also like the concept of the square script, but I don't like the fact that it's a square. LOL, I don't know if that makes sense...
I also like the abjad/abiguda character of all of them (I'm not quite clear on the precise difference, myself). I'm curious, though: how would we handle words like xueba, which has a syllable with no C (e) and baloj, which has a syllable with a coda (loj)?


I think the square one might get too boxy, but I wanted some variety.

There are a number of different things that can be done with codas and with hiatus. With hiatus, one can always create an empty character. So xueba would actually be spelled "xu" + "?e" + "ba", where ? stands for the empty character. This strategy also handles words that begin with vowels (e.g. itsa would be "?i" + "tsa").

Another strategy (utilized by languages like Japanese) is to create vowel characters. This would, essentially, encode a vowel with no onset as just another possible syllable. This would give us "xu" + "e" + "ba" for xueba and "i" + "tsa" for itsa.

Another way would be to encode each two vowel sequence (hopefully three vowels wouldn't be necessary) as a separate vowel glyph that's added on. That would get excessive, though. That would render the first one "xue" + "ba".

As for the consonants, there are a couple of possibilities. Depending on the script type, one can simply have the unmodified version of the glyph stand for a bare consonant. That would give us "ba" + "lo" + "j" for baloj.

Another possibility is to have a cancellation mark. This is what Hindi and Tamil have. In these, the basic glyph type stands for a CV sequences (say, Ca). If that were the case, we'd only have four vowel marks; the unmarked would stand for Ca. In order to cancel that inherent vowel, an extra stroke is added. That turns the Ca sequence into just C. That would render baloj as "ba" + "lo" + "ja/" where / is the cancellation mark.

Another strategy is to have special coda forms. In other words, if b was our example, the consonantal part of "ba", "be", "bi", "bo" and "bu" would be identical, but there would be a special form for "b" when it occurs as a coda. That would look something like this: "ba" + "lo" + "#" (where # is a special form for "j").

Yet another strategy is to use something called synharmonic deletion. Synharmonic deletion makes it so that VCV sequences where both V's are the same are read as VC. When there's an actual VCV sequence where the vowels are supposed to be the same, synharmony is cancelled with a cancellation mark (something like the cancellation mark above). For something like baloj, you'd write "ba" + "lo" + "jo", and the last "o" would be automatically dropped due to synharmony. For a word like bobaba, you'd write "bo" + "ba" + "ba/" where / is a cancellation mark which cancels synharmonic deletion.

Which strategy to use (for both situations above) really depends on the type of script and how it works.
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby kadani » Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:05 pm

My 0·002 Kitivalha on these issues. I hoped that the vowel signs were... combinable.. so xueba is x(ue)b(a) the brackets show enclosed characters. This means that *xeuba would look exactly the same, but the only combinations so far where that matters is ai/ia and ua/au. In these causes 2 different vowel signs might exist.

For itsa, I imagined it to be *(i)ts(a). Where * is an 'empty' letter. If there is no final vowel, I thought that the characters could just stay without vowel sign.

I like kadani (A) (and can imagine kadani (B) as alternative font of it, just like Latin has serif and sans serif fonts) and the Halfsies.
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby Matthew Turnbull » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:10 pm

Dedalvs wrote:Yet another strategy is to use something called synharmonic deletion. Synharmonic deletion makes it so that VCV sequences where both V's are the same are read as VC. When there's an actual VCV sequence where the vowels are supposed to be the same, synharmony is cancelled with a cancellation mark (something like the cancellation mark above). For something like baloj, you'd write "ba" + "lo" + "jo", and the last "o" would be automatically dropped due to synharmony. For a word like bobaba, you'd write "bo" + "ba" + "ba/" where / is a cancellation mark which cancels synharmonic deletion.


I like this methode, in combination with the curvy script ( the last one) because I tend to favour fluid letter forms.
As for the phonology, /ŋ/ could be a phonemic onset with ŋ->k/$_ so that it would only show up in prefixed forms where it wasn't an onset. I also agree with the progressive assimilation of place with the nasal clusters.
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby Dedalvs » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:06 am

kadani wrote:My 0·002 Kitivalha on these issues. I hoped that the vowel signs were... combinable.. so xueba is x(ue)b(a) the brackets show enclosed characters. This means that *xeuba would look exactly the same, but the only combinations so far where that matters is ai/ia and ua/au. In these causes 2 different vowel signs might exist.


This is certainly possible, and I think wouldn't be too bad to read, but looking at this as a font designer made me groan involuntarily.

Recall that the consonantal designs you have put the vowel signs in different places depending on the consonant. In order to design this properly, then, not only would we need a different glyph design for each C + V combination (not too bad), but we then would need a new one for each two-vowel combination, as well. The current designs I've got simply will not fit two vowels, so I'd probably need to come up with something a bit unorthodox for each such pairing (if it gets too cluttered it becomes hard to read).

And that's just design. With implementation, to give you an idea, this is what the ligature code would have to look like:

Code: Select all
feature liga {
  substitute b e by b.e
  substitute b u by b.u
  substitute b.e u by b.eu;
  substitute b.u e by b.eu;
} liga;


Multiply that by every two vowel combination and every consonant, and...yikes! Using the empty vowel character would make things a lot simpler.

But it is possible...

kadani wrote:For itsa, I imagined it to be *(i)ts(a). Where * is an 'empty' letter. If there is no final vowel, I thought that the characters could just stay without vowel sign.


That would work fine for the Kadani script (I'm now naming it after you. :)), and also Curvy Glyphs and the Square Script, but not so much for Halfsies. For that one, I'd either put some sort of an "empty" diacritic above the consonant, or invent a final consonant form. Actually, one thing I was thinking is that we could have a number of predetermined CC sequences (like Devanagari) where you'd take one C and invert it, putting it on top of the other C. Oh, wait, but then you wouldn't be able to indicate the vowel... Guess you could with the empty character, but that would be silly.

kadani wrote:I like kadani (A) (and can imagine kadani (B) as alternative font of it, just like Latin has serif and sans serif fonts) and the Halfsies.


To expand, I had some neat ideas for Halfsies (I guess we can drop the other two, since either Kadani or Halfsies seems to be the favorite). Here's what I was thinking:

  • The midline character separates the consonant below from the vowel above. The presence of that midline, though, can do a lot more than that. For example, for numbers, we can use letters as numbers, and instead of a vowel, use a number sign above. Alternatively, we can work it so that the digit is below, and the tens column above, so something lik 0/1 = 1; 10/1 = 10; 10/3 = 30, etc.
  • I also like the idea of the midline working like the connecting line in Arabic. So for a word, the left hook that goes down will be the beginning of a word, but it will connect to the next midline as the word continues. When the word ends, the hook up is used.
  • In addition to an empty character to carry vowels, there can also be a cancellation character which indicates that the consonant has no vowel.
  • Each consonant can have a special final form when it occurs as the final consonant without a following vowel.
  • If we wanted to get even more complicated, there can be non-connecting characters, like in Arabic. There are certain characters that don't connect to a following consonant, and instead always "look" like the start of a new word (though there are still spaces between words). We can do something similar with this script.
  • Punctuation can also be added directly to the midline (if we decide to have punctuation).

I know I had some other ideas, but they've escaped me... Anyway, if folks were interested enough, I thought I'd create some letter forms, and we could decide collectively which one suited which consonant, etc.
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby alavda-isere » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:00 pm

For what it's worth, I also like some sort of cancellation + null consonant scheme. I have a slight preference for the Devanagari-style vowel cancellation, simply because I think it'd be easier for my brain to register an overt subraction rather than an implied one (which is what the synharmic deletion seems like to me!). I think multiple vowels over a consonant (xue +ba) would require too many letter forms to memorize. I'm not about to do the math now, but as it is, we have 20 consonants and 5 vowels, which is 100 CV forms before including onset-less and closed syllables. Granted, that it'll be an abugida-type system makes this simpler than a straight syllabary (a la Japanese), but still. I'm for any system that's simple for both us as learners and our script designer/s :)
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby Dedalvs » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:40 am

Okay, I devised some letter forms. I'll post the image here, and then discuss what to do with it in a post following this one (the image is pretty large).

Oh, quick note: With the vowels, I first put the vowel part by itself, and then put it on top of a consonant to show what it would like in use.

Image
Last edited by Dedalvs on Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Calligraphy

Postby Dedalvs » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:56 am

Okay, so here's what I did. I created a bunch of consonantal and vowel forms--many more than we'll actually need--and made them into a font. I assigned them to characters so I could type them, but I've left them without phonemic associations here. The idea is that if people like this script, we can choose which glyphs go with which phonemes (and I gave them numbers and grouped them more or less by type for ease of reference).

I created several base glyph types, and have made variations on them. Turned glyphs or modified glyphs don't necessarily mean anything, and they don't need to; I've simply provided them to give them as many looks as possible.

If we do get to the point where we decide on glyphs, I should mention that there's no need for there to be systematicity (e.g. where a dot means nasalization, or voicing, or lack of voicing, or velar, etc.). There can be, but it's not necessary. Notice that in English, the dot above the "i" and "j" don't mean anything; they're just part of the character. And while in Turkish the difference between a dotted and undotted "i" is important, it isn't systematic (e.g. the difference between "e" and "a" isn't a dot over one and a lack of one over the other). So, for example, it's perfectly reasonable to decide that 64 will be a vowel, but none of the other vowel characters will have dots.

Also, a quick comment about 22. That one is, essentially, an empty consonant, but it doesn't need to be the empty consonant (or anything at all, for that matter). In Arabic (in hand writing, not in a font), the consonant "s" is indicated with simply an elongated line; there's no marking on it whatsoever. Similarly, "ʃ" is indicated with that same line with three dots over it (kind of the difference between 22 and 23). I thought it'd be nice to list that as an option.

There's plenty of options in this inventory for interesting marking strategies. As an example, here's the vowel inventory of a new language of mine, Aaalis, in its script:

Image

Notice that the dot, in these examples, doesn't actually mean anything; it's just used in making different vowels. Similarly, there is no length marker: There are simply varying strategies for realizing length given the vowel type.

And, as a last note, any of the characters can be modified, if you give me an idea how you want it to be modified (e.g. a given line is too thick or too thin; some line or curve should be moved to one side or another, etc.).
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