Making a logography, so intimidating

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caters
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Making a logography, so intimidating

Post by caters » 06 Aug 2019 20:40

It has been suggested to me that since I am starting with the proto-lang as far as making my conlang is concerned, that likewise, when I get to the writing system, I should start with the most complicated to learn of them all, the logography. It is so intimidating to me though. I mean, at minimum, you would still have hundreds of characters, all of which look unique. At maximum you would have tens of thousands of characters like in Chinese. Speaking of which, I think making a logography that is completely unique from any existing logography from ancient civilizations is hard. On the one hand, you have those logographies which are made from just strokes and don't look like anything in particular except for maybe a few characters for person, moon, tree, etc. such as Chinese.
Image

Then you have the slightly more detailed looking logographies that actually look like objects and/or concepts, like the logography of ancient Egypt.
Image

Egyptian is a bit more complicated because, a symbol can either mean a specific word or words, or it can be phonetic, in which case this is the rough correspondence between Egyptian and the Latin Alphabet.
Image

So you could say that Egyptian is the earliest existence of an alphabet because it can be phonetic. Anyway, then you have the very detailed looking logographies of languages like Ancient Mayan.
Image

And again with Mayan, a symbol can represent a specific word or it can represent a sound. In fact, in a sense, Mayan has 2 scripts, a true logographic script, and a completely phonetic script. Here is an example.
Image

As you can see, on the left is the logographic way to represent the word, and on the right is the completely phonetic way of writing down that same exact word. And unlike Egyptian, which gives you little to no clue as to whether the symbol is logographic or phonetic, you can decipher instantly whether a Mayan glyph is logographic or phonetic, because the phonetic script looks completely different from the logographic script.

Anyway, you see the problem I run into trying to make a logography of my own? No matter how detailed I get with the symbols, or how realistic the symbols look, there is always an existing logography, modern or ancient, from languages in human history that matches that detail and realism level. If I go the stroke route, my logography is going to look like a slightly different version of the Chinese script. If I go the more realistic and slightly more detailed route, my logography is going to look similar in concept to that of the Egyptians. If I go both very detailed and very realistic, my logography is going to look similar to the Mayan script. Not to mention that I would need at minimum a few hundred characters just to be able to write normal speech in my logography, each of which looks unique from any other character in the script.

It is so intimidating to make a logography. How can I get past this and actually start writing my logography? How would I get across words that aren't easy to represent with a single symbol such as the word in my conlang representing baby or the word representing pregnancy? Sure, modifying the person symbol just a little bit would get across the word for baby fine. But the word for pregnancy or pregnant? That doesn't seem so easy to get across, even with modifications to an existing character in the script.

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Ahzoh
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Re: Making a logography, so intimidating

Post by Ahzoh » 06 Aug 2019 23:33

No you don't need to start with a logographic writing system. Maybe your proto-lang wasn't even written and the descendants adopted the writing system of another culture.

And you overthink logographic systems too much, just draw literal stickmen doing things and go from there. For abstract concepts you can try to concrete concepts to represent them or combine concrete concepts to represent them.

E.g. "peace" = "two hands shaking", "name" = "a person with an aura or series of lines around them"

Pronouns like "I", "you", and "he/she it" could be represented with pointing symbols like "this", "that (near me)", and "that (over there)/yonder"



Also, take a look at this thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4825
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Keenir
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Re: Making a logography, so intimidating

Post by Keenir » 07 Aug 2019 00:07

just start with the writing system you want your main conlang/conculture to use...and every so often, sprinkle in references to earlier stages (that you can elaborate on - or leave unresolved - at a later time)...such as "the two [p]s stem from an earlier syllabary which, through erosion and a change to an alphabet/abjad, lost their vowels, but the consonants proved useful - one always being word-initial and the other word-middle - in distinguishing compound from noncompound words"

or something like that. I may have rambled; sorry.
At work on Apaan: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4799

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Linguifex
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Re: Making a logography, so intimidating

Post by Linguifex » 08 Aug 2019 03:23

If it's OK for me to toot my own horn here a bit, in this thread you can see how I started developing the Caber logographic script.
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Salmoneus
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Re: Making a logography, so intimidating

Post by Salmoneus » 08 Aug 2019 15:52

So, you want to make something naturalistic, like a real logography that might have arisen on earth... but at the same time, you also want every single character to be completely unalike anything that's arisen on earth?

Yes, I can see that might be a problem for you. But you won't solve it without re-evaluating at least one of your premises.

[although no, clearly not all simplified logographies will look like Chinese. Chinese is the result of a very specific visual aesthetic and there's absolutely no reason why other logographies would have to end up looking similar, just as alphabets don't all look similar. A logography written by Vikings or Greeks or Odiya would look as different from east asian logographies as futhark, greek and odiya alphabets are from katakana.]

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masako
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Re: Making a logography, so intimidating

Post by masako » 20 Aug 2019 13:33

Linguifex wrote:
08 Aug 2019 03:23
If it's OK for me to toot my own horn here a bit, in this thread you can see how I started developing the Caber logographic script.
I fully support this.

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