Friday, November 6, 2009

I Made Up My Own Alphabet

I was looking at the pattern of some leaves painted on the back of someone's shirt in a class the other day and decided to mimic the strokes the leaves needed to be drawn with. The resulting stuff looked like it might fit in with various Asian calligraphy systems. It got me thinking on written language some. I figured it would be neat to come up with my own writing system, but knowing only english and the Latin alphabet fluently enough to try my hand making something new, I decided that rather than make an entirely new character, grammar, and word system (Ala-Esperanto) I'd just figure out a better way to do English writing.

What could possibly make English an even better language to write in than it already is I hear everyone say (aside from poorly sticking to rules, exceptions to pronunciation and conjugation that drive that make a phone book on their own, etc....), well obviously the Latin alphabet! There are many letters that can be too easily confused and with good punctuation you have little need for capital and lower-case letters rather than simply a letter. I decided there were some things that could be done to improve things:

* Cut down or eleminate letters and numbers that are indistinguishable when written with less than stellar or quick penmanship (no more 1,I, and l or U and V looking too similar when you're quickly jotting things down).
* Keep the per-character stroke count down. No need for a 20-stroke chinese character when a couple simple slashes will do.
* Avoid conflicting with english and numerical punctuation and notation (the + sign is easy to do, but will conflict with universal math language
* Avoid wasting simple to write characters on infrequently used letters (X is easy, but how often do you use it?)
* Try to keep parity with the Latin alphabet whenever possible (not a huge deal, but why reassign L to another letter without a good reason?)

Anywho, I messed around with making characters that applied to these rules and then assigned them places in either the 0-9 number set or the A-Z letter set, and this is what I came up with. The numbers make it easy to at a glance figure out where you are from 1-9 and the letters could be scrawled as poorly as possible and you'd still be able to tell what was meant. Anyway, it looks pretty geometric and neat so I may or may not try to memorize how to read and write in it. Maybe just a nice font for writing in it would be in order?