How to design your own script

If you're new to these arts, this is the place to ask "stupid" questions and get directions!
User avatar
Thrice Xandvii
darkness
darkness
Posts: 3829
Joined: Sun 25 Nov 2012, 10:13
Location: Carnassus

Re: How to design your own script

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Sat 17 Oct 2015, 01:36

Making diacritics align in a font seems to me to be the hardest part... So maybe he is referring to the oft convoluted systems of "vowel pointing" that sometimes accompany an abjad? Just a guess.
Image
User avatar
MIGUELbM
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat 03 Nov 2012, 15:55

Re: How to design your own script

Post by MIGUELbM » Sat 17 Oct 2015, 03:00

Ahzoh wrote:I have not figured out how to do right-to-left fonts, but apparently you just overlay your font over arabic or hebrew letters. I did it, didn't work.
The problem with right-left or top-bottom fonts is not really the font itself, but the software on which you write with the font, if the software doesn't support alternative text directions then there's nothing to be done. If the software does support it, but the support is fixed, then overlaying your font over hebrew should work. If the software allows for custom text flow then you can just use normal unicode codepoints and just set the text to your desired direction.
Image

Español | English | 日本語
User avatar
Ahzoh
korean
korean
Posts: 6148
Joined: Sun 20 Oct 2013, 01:57
Location: Toma-ʾEzra lit Vṛḵaža

Re: How to design your own script

Post by Ahzoh » Sat 17 Oct 2015, 04:02

MIGUELbM wrote:
Ahzoh wrote:I have not figured out how to do right-to-left fonts, but apparently you just overlay your font over arabic or hebrew letters. I did it, didn't work.
The problem with right-left or top-bottom fonts is not really the font itself, but the software on which you write with the font, if the software doesn't support alternative text directions then there's nothing to be done. If the software does support it, but the support is fixed, then overlaying your font over hebrew should work. If the software allows for custom text flow then you can just use normal unicode codepoints and just set the text to your desired direction.
I do not know the limitation of FontCreator and can't find anyone who uses it.
Image Ӯсцӣ (Onschen) [ CWS ]
Image Šat Vṛḵažaẇ (Vrkhazhian) [ WIKI | CWS ]
User avatar
MIGUELbM
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat 03 Nov 2012, 15:55

Re: How to design your own script

Post by MIGUELbM » Sat 17 Oct 2015, 14:36

Ahzoh wrote:
MIGUELbM wrote:
Ahzoh wrote:I have not figured out how to do right-to-left fonts, but apparently you just overlay your font over arabic or hebrew letters. I did it, didn't work.
The problem with right-left or top-bottom fonts is not really the font itself, but the software on which you write with the font, if the software doesn't support alternative text directions then there's nothing to be done. If the software does support it, but the support is fixed, then overlaying your font over hebrew should work. If the software allows for custom text flow then you can just use normal unicode codepoints and just set the text to your desired direction.
I do not know the limitation of FontCreator and can't find anyone who uses it.
As I said, the problem is not FontCreator, but where you decide to write with your font, I believe that MS Word supports right to left if you install the appropriate language pack.
Image

Español | English | 日本語
User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 3038
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 00:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: How to design your own script

Post by sangi39 » Sat 17 Oct 2015, 18:04

MIGUELbM wrote:
Ahzoh wrote:
MIGUELbM wrote:
Ahzoh wrote:I have not figured out how to do right-to-left fonts, but apparently you just overlay your font over arabic or hebrew letters. I did it, didn't work.
The problem with right-left or top-bottom fonts is not really the font itself, but the software on which you write with the font, if the software doesn't support alternative text directions then there's nothing to be done. If the software does support it, but the support is fixed, then overlaying your font over hebrew should work. If the software allows for custom text flow then you can just use normal unicode codepoints and just set the text to your desired direction.
I do not know the limitation of FontCreator and can't find anyone who uses it.
As I said, the problem is not FontCreator, but where you decide to write with your font, I believe that MS Word supports right to left if you install the appropriate language pack.
I'll attest to this being true, at least in older versions (I haven't used MS Word in years). I'd assume it would still be true with more current versions too unless for some reason they decided to remove that particular feature for some godless reason.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
User avatar
Ahzoh
korean
korean
Posts: 6148
Joined: Sun 20 Oct 2013, 01:57
Location: Toma-ʾEzra lit Vṛḵaža

Re: How to design your own script

Post by Ahzoh » Sat 17 Oct 2015, 18:27

MIGUELbM wrote:As I said, the problem is not FontCreator, but where you decide to write with your font, I believe that MS Word supports right to left if you install the appropriate language pack.
The problem is FontCreator. I made a font where my conscript was assigned Hebrew letter codepoints and when I typed my font into MS Word it only showed Hebrew letters.
Image Ӯсцӣ (Onschen) [ CWS ]
Image Šat Vṛḵažaẇ (Vrkhazhian) [ WIKI | CWS ]
clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2395
Joined: Sun 24 Jun 2012, 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: How to design your own script

Post by clawgrip » Sun 18 Oct 2015, 00:11

To be clear here, the problem is neither FontCreator nor MS Word. What is happening is that MS Word detects that your Hebrew font is defective, and refuses to display it. This is because you have almost certainly not included all the OpenType features required of a Hebrew font.

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/otf ... atures.htm
User avatar
Ahzoh
korean
korean
Posts: 6148
Joined: Sun 20 Oct 2013, 01:57
Location: Toma-ʾEzra lit Vṛḵaža

Re: How to design your own script

Post by Ahzoh » Sun 18 Oct 2015, 00:34

clawgrip wrote:To be clear here, the problem is neither FontCreator nor MS Word. What is happening is that MS Word detects that your Hebrew font is defective, and refuses to display it. This is because you have almost certainly not included all the OpenType features required of a Hebrew font.

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/otf ... atures.htm
Probably, my font is a True-Type font.
Image Ӯсцӣ (Onschen) [ CWS ]
Image Šat Vṛḵažaẇ (Vrkhazhian) [ WIKI | CWS ]
User avatar
LinguoFranco
sinic
sinic
Posts: 383
Joined: Wed 20 Jul 2016, 16:49

Re: How to design your own script

Post by LinguoFranco » Fri 17 Feb 2017, 04:49

I have a conscript that I'm not satisfied with. Nothing wrong with it itself, it just looks to cursive for my liking. It's an syllabary with characters that look like a blend of English cursive and hiragana.

I'm trying to figure out what kind of writing script I should go for. The syllable structure, for now at least, is CV(C), but it might become (C)CV(C). There are four coda consonants.

As for the basic structure of the language, it is agglutinative, but will eventually become fusional.
User avatar
Linguifex
roman
roman
Posts: 947
Joined: Fri 03 Aug 2012, 07:07
Location: Ohio

Re: How to design your own script

Post by Linguifex » Fri 17 Feb 2017, 05:02

Your post is probably better suited for the Con-Script Development Centre.
(Avatar via Happy Wheels Wiki)
Index Diachronica PDF v.10.0
Conworld megathread

AVDIO · VIDEO · DISCO
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: How to design your own script

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Tue 23 May 2017, 17:15

So clawgrip, how is your Hanzi simplification project going?
User avatar
qwed117
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4399
Joined: Thu 20 Nov 2014, 02:27

Re: How to design your own script

Post by qwed117 » Tue 23 May 2017, 21:29

MoonRightRomantic wrote:So clawgrip, how is your Hanzi simplification project going?
Wut?
Spoiler:
My minicity is Zyphrazia and Novland
What is made of man will crumble away.
clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2395
Joined: Sun 24 Jun 2012, 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: How to design your own script

Post by clawgrip » Wed 24 May 2017, 14:42

qwed117 wrote:Wut?
I believe it is a reference to viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2333&p=239915&hilit ... B5#p237638.

This is kind of a weird place to post this question, instead of on that thread, but anyway, I don't know enough about the Chinese language to do something like that, and I think it wouldn't work so well based on Japanese.
User avatar
The0dd1
rupestrian
rupestrian
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed 11 Jul 2018, 03:57

Re: How to design your own script

Post by The0dd1 » Wed 11 Jul 2018, 04:29

clawgrip wrote:
Fri 27 Mar 2015, 11:02
There is still at least one more part I plan to do for this. I'm going to try evolving some of the letters of the Roman alphabet into a new alphabet, and indicate the types of techniques I'm using to accomplish it.
I know it's been years. But, if you ever feel like continuing it, you should.

It is a wonderful thread!
clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2395
Joined: Sun 24 Jun 2012, 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: How to design your own script

Post by clawgrip » Sun 15 Jul 2018, 04:11

Every now and then I think about continuing it. I probably will, eventually, but I always end up working on some other project first. Thanks for showing interest! It's nice to know people would appreciate more of it.
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: How to design your own script

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Thu 19 Jul 2018, 15:49

I noticed that the guide did not explain that writing materials determine the appearance of a script. For example: cuneiform scripts impressed by reed styluses onto clay tablets, runiform scripts were carved onto stone or wood, and sinoform scripts were painted with a ink brush. Each of these methods had limitations that resulted in their characteristic aesthetic, like a brush painting lines of in/decreasing thickness or wood splitting if carved along the grain or leaves tearing if you try to draw angles. Thus, writing your constructed script with a modern pencil or pen on paper has a very different result than writing with a different implement and surface.

On a related note, the guide neglects to mention the importance of orthography.

Modern linguistics classifies writing systems into at least four or five types (consonantal, alphabetic, alphasyllabic, syllabic and logographic). (The ever-schizophrenic Wikipedia uses it own made-up words for these but what I just gave are the most common and more importantly unambiguous jargon in linguistic studies produced in the Anglosphere.) As the names imply, a consonantal script writes only consonants, an alphabetic script writes all phonemes, an alphasyllabic script writes combined consonants and vowels, a syllabic script writes syllables or parts of syllables, and a logographic script indicates a combination of phonemes and morphemes. (Despite the name, an alphasyllabic script is not a combination of alphabetic script and syllabic script but a sister system to the alphabetic script, as both alphasyllabic script and alphabetic script are descended from consonantal script.) Of course, these classifications are ideals and in practice most scripts tend to deviate from this ideal unless regularly reformed by the relevant authority. (The ever-schizophrenic Wikipedia cannot distinguish between different types of scripts that don't fit into its arbitrary ideals.)

Chinese, Cretan, Egyptian, Mayan, and Sumerian are among the oldest independently developed scripts and all of them are logographic (Chinese), mixed logographic–syllabic (Cretan, Mayan, Sumerian) or mixed logographic–consonantal (Egyptian). Studies consistently suggest that human brains naturally interpret speech as syllables rather than individual phonemes (one study found that a syllabic script consisting of separate graphemes for body and rhyme was easiest for the test subjects to learn). Egyptian was mixed logographic-consonantal because it inflected poly-consonant roots by changing the vowels, and from this script almost all modern consonantal script, alphabetic script and alphasyllabic script descend.

Some types of scripts are better suited for certain grammar and phonotactics than others. A consonantal script is best suited to a language that inflects by transfixing, so that even if the inflection is not noted you can figure it out from the surrounding context. Syllabic scripts have difficulty representing languages with complex phonotactics or polysynthetic grammar; most languages still using syllabic script are isolating/analytic or agglutinative and have very simple syllable structure. Linear B, a descendant of Cretan, was used to write Ancient Greek and encountered difficulties representing the complex syllable structure of that language. The Cherokee syllabic script encounters difficulties representing Cherokee's polysynthetic grammar, as the syllabograms obscure the roots of words. Conventional alphabetic and alphasyllabic script are less than ideal for languages with lots of consonant allophones like Japanese (as seen by competition between Kunrei-shiki rōmaji and Hebon-shiki rōmaji), initial consonant mutations like Celtic languages (which makes looking up unknown words in dictionaries nigh-impossible), or have far fewer syllables than their phonology/phonotactics allows as seen in Chinese (compare conventional Pinyin to a purely phonemic model).

An "onset-rime" syllabic script divides syllables by onset and rhyme, which I did not mention above since it was seemingly invented in the last century (although Chinese linguistic textbooks going back many centuries explain syllables this way). This is the model for Bopomofo (used to write Taiwanese) and the Khom script invented by Ong Kommadam. (The ever-schizophrenic Wikipedia labels this model a "semi-syllabary" even though many of what it label "true" syllabic script like Japanese and Cree have separate graphemes for coda consonants and Sumerian has separate graphemes for rhymes.) Thus, syllabic script may be said to exist on a continuum between those that represent onsets and rhymes (e.g. Bopomofo), to bodies and rhymes (e.g. Sumerian), to bodies and rarely codas (e.g. Greek, Japanese, Mayan).

By comparison, alphasyllabic scripts have likewise developed multiple ways of representing speech. Alphasyllabic graphemes represent syllables or parts of syllables, but the individual phonemes are distinguishable in the same way as an alphabetic script whereas syllabic graphemes do not demonstrate any visual similarity between those with similar phonemic values. In the Brahmic scripts, consonants are written and then appended with diacritics representing vowels (a similar model is used by purely consonantal scripts as an aid for children and non-native speakers); most such scripts assume that an unmarked consonant has an inherent or implicit vowel (typically /a/) unless marked with a mute diacritic, but Thai (and Tolkien's Tengwar) indicates all vowels explicitly with diacritics and has no mute diacritic. In the Ethiopic scripts, the consonants are distorted in a less predictable fashion and thus more memorization is required. In the Meroitic script, the script was written like an otherwise alphabetic script except that all consonants were assumed to be followed by an implicit /a/ if not followed by another vowel letter; although in later stages of the language vowel letters had to be preceded by their associated glide if alone or starting a word. In the Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script, which was invented in the last two centuries by missionaries, consonants are rotated to indicate a change in the vowel. (Old Persian cuneiform is sometimes classified as an alphasyllabic script, but it is actually a defective syllabic script.)

Most alphasyllabic scripts write independent consonants with dependent vowels and append the vowel to the preceding consonant (even if the syllable is a rhyme without onset), but there may easily be exceptions to this. Pahawh Hmong writes independent vowels with dependent consonants, while some modes of Tengwar append vowels to the following consonant (even without a coda).

The Paleohispanic scripts are a unique mixed alphabetic–syllabic script, as all plosives are represented by syllabograms since the language's phonotactics prohibit plosives from starting consonant clusters. The earliest iterations of the scripts were purely alphabetic but used multiple graphemes for single consonants depending on what vowel followed them, then discarded the redundant vowels once those graphemes were used to represent syllables. (Obviously, the ever-schizophrenic and outdated Wikipedia pages leave much to be desired.)

Alphabetic script and alphasyllabic script carry the same functional load (being sister systems and all) and are the most common type of script used by conlangers, presumably due to a mix of cultural bias (most conlangers speak languages written this way) and the smaller number of graphemes required compared to a syllabic script. Hangul is the logical extreme of this model, as all phonemes are written explicitly and neatly in syllable blocks that are more easily interpreted by the human brain.

For the largest archive of constructed scripts, I recommend omniglot dot com. I am currently maintaining a google sheet listing all the constructed or adapted scripts along with basic information like their type, direction and what language they are used to write to better sort and search them. The format is still a work in progress so I am not sharing it right now.
User avatar
lsd
roman
roman
Posts: 883
Joined: Fri 11 Mar 2011, 21:11
Contact:

Re: How to design your own script

Post by lsd » Thu 19 Jul 2018, 20:20

the coolness of a script is a matter of calligraphy...
because any broken script can with a maximal usage becoming something... change the support and it can look as something known... on hard support it look runic or greek, on clay it look sumerian, with soft brush sinic...
whatever your choice, maximal usage will change it for more simplicity... the same from alphabet to logographicy... history made the more cool and prior writing system, logography, adopted for others languages made syllabary, alphasyllabary or alphabet...
but without some esthetic taste or calligraphic skill, it will be never cool enough...
clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2395
Joined: Sun 24 Jun 2012, 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: How to design your own script

Post by clawgrip » Fri 20 Jul 2018, 01:25

MoonRightRomantic wrote:
Thu 19 Jul 2018, 15:49
I noticed that the guide did not explain that writing materials determine the appearance of a script.
Salmoneus already wrote a post about writing materials, so I just incorporated that as a part of the guide. Sorry if it was not clear. Maybe I should make a table of contents in the first post.
On a related note, the guide neglects to mention the importance of orthography.

For the most part, people generally seem to be able to choose their own writing systems and come up with their own orthographies without too much difficulty. My guide focuses primarily on visual aesthetics and appearance, because that seems to be the part that gives people the most trouble. Consequently, I did not really touch very much on orthography, grammar, etc.

However, there are a few things that I could say about aesthetics specifically related to writing system types. I may mention some points about that that later on.
Post Reply