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How does Dunging's Iban alphabet compare to romanization?

Posted: Thu 05 Oct 2017, 23:44
by MoonRightRomantic
I learned about the obscure Iban alphabet through omniglot. It is used to write Iban, a relative of Malay. I found a chart of the LaserIban font at http://archive.is/KXnaf, but I have no idea how it would transcribe compared to the Latin-based orthography. Does anyone here know?

Re: How does Dunging's Iban alphabet compare to romanization

Posted: Tue 10 Oct 2017, 00:35
by Frislander
I mean it looks OK, though as with all designed scripts it does suffer somewhat from the issues of inconsistent aesthetic.

As for how the system works, it looks like an interesting combination of abugida and syllabary, though the result looks like it could have been based on Sinitic phonotactical theory. Basically each consonant initial has an implict vowel which is overridden by a following rhyme character.

I can't really answer your question because I don't know what you're trying to say.

Re: How does Dunging's Iban alphabet compare to romanization

Posted: Tue 10 Oct 2017, 01:06
by Thrice Xandvii
Frislander wrote:...though as with all designed scripts it does suffer somewhat from the issues of inconsistent aesthetic.
Off-topic, I know, but how is it that all designed scripts have inconsistent aesthetics?

Re: How does Dunging's Iban alphabet compare to romanization

Posted: Tue 10 Oct 2017, 11:50
by Frislander
Thrice Xandvii wrote:
Frislander wrote:...though as with all designed scripts it does suffer somewhat from the issues of inconsistent aesthetic.
Off-topic, I know, but how is it that all designed scripts have inconsistent aesthetics?
I think the simple answer is really that most conlangers aren't graphic designers (I myself would be among the first to admit it, and that's part of the reason I don't really do conscripts) and aren't used to thinking about these issues when making their scripts, though we can definitely tell they haven't. There are a few exceptions (DJP's languages for Defiance is one I think, though I bet he had a fair bit of help from the design department on that show: most of the scripts for the conlangs on his website are awful imo. Also Tolkein in a kind of way, but we all know the practicality problems of Tengwar), but generally this appears to be the case, certainly for beginning conlangers.

There's also the issue of originality, whereby people want to create stuff that doesn't look like anything that's gone before, but they think the way to do that is to a a few more strokes to the letters to make them more complex because they feel the simple shapes have been tried out already.

Re: How does Dunging's Iban alphabet compare to romanization

Posted: Tue 10 Oct 2017, 14:49
by MoonRightRomantic
Frislander wrote:As for how the system works, it looks like an interesting combination of abugida and syllabary, though the result looks like it could have been based on Sinitic phonotactical theory. Basically each consonant initial has an implict vowel which is overridden by a following rhyme character.
I think it is a defective syllabary instead. Those have occurred multiple times in history, the oldest being Old Persian Cuneiform, Linear B and Cypriot. It happens when the inventor gives up trying to represent all the syllables and fills in the gaps using existing syllabograms as rebuses and phonetic hints.
Frislander wrote:I can't really answer your question because I don't know what you're trying to say.
How would you use it to write Iban or other Malay languages? I've compared it to romanized text and there is not a clear correspondence. Unless some syllabograms stand for multiple values it not possible to write certain syllables. For example, the author Dunging's name: the closest I can get is {da-uw-nga-ieng}, assuming I understand the phonemes correctly.

It's only taught at UiTM Sarawak, so I cannot find resources in English.

Re: How does Dunging's Iban alphabet compare to romanization

Posted: Tue 10 Oct 2017, 15:20
by sangi39
The only text I've found so far has "pantun iban lenyau surat" written as PA-AN-TA-UN E-BA-AN LA-NYA-AW SA-UW-RA-AT which suggests that a) the vowels represented is somewhat defective, b) each CV glyph has an inherent /a/, which c) is overridden by the vowel of any V or VC glyphs (I'm not 100%, then, why UW isn't just U). So "Dunging" is basically Da-UW-NGa-IENG > D-UW-NG-IENG > "Dungieng".

With that in mind, it does seem to fall somewhere between an abugida (in overriding inherent vowels with adjacent glyphs) and partly a defective syllabary.

Re: How does Dunging's Iban alphabet compare to romanization

Posted: Wed 11 Oct 2017, 16:41
by MoonRightRomantic
sangi39 wrote:The only text I've found so far has "pantun iban lenyau surat" written as PA-AN-TA-UN E-BA-AN LA-NYA-AW SA-UW-RA-AT which suggests that a) the vowels represented is somewhat defective, b) each CV glyph has an inherent /a/, which c) is overridden by the vowel of any V or VC glyphs (I'm not 100%, then, why UW isn't just U). So "Dunging" is basically Da-UW-NGa-IENG > D-UW-NG-IENG > "Dungieng".
So I was right, then. The orthography seems to follow a combination of body/rime pairing a la Sumerian, (a)-dropping a la Old Persian, and some letters standing for multiple values a la Cypriot.
sangi39 wrote:With that in mind, it does seem to fall somewhere between an abugida (in overriding inherent vowels with adjacent glyphs) and partly a defective syllabary.
Most syllabaries invented in the last century work this way to reduce the number of letters (e.g. Zhuyin is probably the most extreme example). I find it sufficient to label them syllabaries, since they are composed of syllabograms.

Re: How does Dunging's Iban alphabet compare to romanization

Posted: Fri 13 Oct 2017, 02:40
by Thrice Xandvii
Frislander wrote:
Thrice Xandvii wrote:
Frislander wrote:...though as with all designed scripts it does suffer somewhat from the issues of inconsistent aesthetic.
Off-topic, I know, but how is it that all designed scripts have inconsistent aesthetics?
I think the simple answer is really that most conlangers aren't graphic designers (I myself would be among the first to admit it, and that's part of the reason I don't really do conscripts) and aren't used to thinking about these issues when making their scripts, though we can definitely tell they haven't. There are a few exceptions (DJP's languages for Defiance is one I think, though I bet he had a fair bit of help from the design department on that show: most of the scripts for the conlangs on his website are awful imo. Also Tolkein in a kind of way, but we all know the practicality problems of Tengwar), but generally this appears to be the case, certainly for beginning conlangers.

There's also the issue of originality, whereby people want to create stuff that doesn't look like anything that's gone before, but they think the way to do that is to a a few more strokes to the letters to make them more complex because they feel the simple shapes have been tried out already.
That's logical enough... it was just your use of the word "all" that was my sticking point.