View Full Version : The Maraxxian Alphabet

01-19-2010, 11:28 AM
This is an image of The Maraxxian Alphabet. Speaks for itself.

Steel General
01-19-2010, 01:12 PM
Interesting...how about punctuation marks, etc.

01-20-2010, 02:44 AM
One thing to think about for a new alphabet... If this isn't somehow derived from the latin alphabet c,q, and x are likely to be absent and other glyphs, some equally idiosyncratic, are likely to be added. Just as, in English, c can represent k or s sounds, q can only exist followed by u to represent the kw sound and x can represent ks or gz sound, perhaps in your alphabet you might have a dh symbol to represent the initial consonant in thing(for which you already have a th symbol, but hey, that's how natural languages swing!) or the th sound in then or this. Instead of q lets have a symbol, "ph," representing the bilabial fricative, except when following n when the pair represents the velar nasal(ng in thing). Instead of x, you could have an explicit glottal stop, except word-initial when it represents, say, the same thing as h. These are just a few vague thoughts thrown out to illustrate what I'm trying to say here. Those kind of details help to make an alphabet more of a distinct alphabet than a substitution cypher. Kind of like spelling fish ghoti.

Heh, with that in mind, I'm tempted to pronounce the name of SGs stagnated campaign setting as, "Freya Yearn."

03-03-2010, 12:58 AM
I agree with Su liam-- Just because we have 26 letters used in a certian way in English, doesnt mean you have to carry them over into an invented language. Besides the phonemes already mentioned (-- the th in there, then, that, -- the th in thin, thought, and thank, ph, glottal stop) i'd say look at the phonemes English uses two letters for (ch, sh, ts, zh) and give them their own letters if they show up in the Maraxxian alphabet. That's really the place to start-- what kind of language is Maraxxian? Is it running and polysyllabic? Is it gutteral and consonant heavy? Do the vowells have a constant value? i.e. will the A always be pronounced like the A in Far and never like the A in Cat? or do they change? Is this change based on context/latent knowledge like in English, or is there a system of accents/diacritics to indicate the shift (like the french e vs. vs. )? If the language is more gutteral, are there punctuation marks which operate like the apostrophe to indicate where sounds blend together (like s and p in speed) and where there is a glottal break (like in the chinese city Xi'an)? Depending on how the Maraxxian language sounds and works it will require different things from its writing system.

Also, while what you have here looks really cool (i especially like i and t, and h looks almost like "shi ta"-- down or lower in Japanese) i cant imagine that its very practical to write. This may be what the alphabet looks like carved on monuments or typed on a computer/typewriter, but how do people write day to day? I would suggest taking a favorite song or poem and copying it out in your alphabet. Let some speed build up and see how the letters change when you use them quickly-- this will simulate the "evolutionary" forces of handwriting which act upon ideal written symbols.

Great start though, look forward to seeing more.

03-04-2010, 11:40 AM
Everything I was going to say about it has already been covered. Evaluation of an alphabet in absence of how the language is spoken (or if the written language even resembles how it is spoken) is probably a fruitless exercise. This looks like a alternate alphabet for the English language, but if it's not then in order to evaluate it we need to know how it is used.

I wonder is anyone has even come up with a unified alphabet able to represent all of the sounds that human language uses.

03-04-2010, 12:24 PM
IPA could be considered a valiant effort...

Al. I. Cuza
03-04-2010, 01:57 PM
The easiest way to create a believable "alphabet" is to think of several sounds and give every one of them a symbol or a combination of symbols. You could start by looking at the International Phonetic Alphabet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet). Heads up.

PS: Su_liam had the same idea. Just read it now. :D

03-04-2010, 07:43 PM
Alphabets arent even the only way to go. Languages like Hindi, Khmer, Lao, Thai, Tibetan, Ethiopic (Ge'ez and to a lesser extent Amharic), Cree, and Sanskrit use Abugidas where a set of consonants is embellished with vowell sounds, which do not stand as letters in there own right. Arabic and Hebrew exist on the edge of this category, since they are alphabets with vowells playing a backup role--they cannot stand as letters by themselves, but are often dropped all together since the three letter root system of semitic languages allows any fluent reader to guess/assume which vowells fill in the word based on the consonants and context.

Then there are also syllabaries-- sets of symbols where consonants and vowells do not exist as separate letters, but only as combined syllables. I.e. there is no letter k and letter a, only the syllable ka, to g and o, only go. Cherokee uses such a system. Reading and Writing Japanese is a balancing act between three different writing systems (not to mention roman letters and arabic numerals)-- two are syllabaries, (the order of japanese syllabaries, but not the symbols are based on an abugida called Shiddam Script which was imported with Buddhist Sutras via China.) one for japanese words and their conjugations, and one for foreign words and onomatopoeia (bang! wham! the sound of walking up stairs, or of rice being soft and squishy), along with the kanji-- chinese logograms which have between 1 and 5 different pronunciations depending on the context. For example 日 means day or sun, but has several different pronunciations. In 日立--Hitachi, the name of the Japanese company, it is pronounced 'hi', which is pretty standard, but in 日曜日 (Sunday, Nichiyoubi) it is pronounced two different ways in the same word. Nichi, meaning sun (related to the Ni of Nihon (日本) i.e. Japan, Sun Source, or land of the rising sun) and bi, the voiced form of hi. In 今日, which means today, 日 is combined with the charachter for now (normally pronounced ima) to make kyou-- a pronunciation which has little to do with either charachter independantly.

Chinese, as far as i know, limits their charachters to one pronunciation each, but since each one of the thousands of characters is usually monosyllabic they have tones (which arent represented in the charachters themselves, at least not in their modern incarnations) to differentiate them. 4 tones in mandarin, and 6 in cantonese.

I don't know exactly how you would define Hangul, the korean writing system but it is (by design) one of the most efficient and easy to learn systems in the world. Individual symbols act like letters which are then arranged into syllable blocks. So, for example, the phonemes k, i, and m each have a representative symbol-- ㄱ, ㅣ, and ㅁ, respectively, which are then combined into the syllable kim 김, the most common korean family name, or the first half of kimchi 김치 where the i phoneme makes another appearance.

What im trying to say is the possibilities are endless, and that while the ipa may be a good jumping off point for realizing just how many 'r' noises there are, or what parts of our vocal tract we never even touch with english, its far to large and unwieldy to function as a day to day system of transcription. The only people who use the full range of sounds available to a human being are babies when they babble, and that range is slowly narrowed into the phonemes neccesary for the childs first language. New phonemes can of course be (re)learned, but each language has a bounded set which it uses. English therefore doesnt need a letter for the arabic qaf, or the Clicks of Khoisan languages. It all comes down to the phonetic needs of Maraxxian, or any other real or invented language.

Servant Of Thor
05-08-2010, 09:51 PM
Don't know if it has been mentioned, but a great place to learn about writing systems is on Omniglot.com, they also have a ton of examples so you can be err, inspired.