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Lethusian Syllabary by juhhmi Lethusian Syllabary by juhhmi
For my conworld.

Classical Lethusian is written from right to left on rows scripta continua, that is, without space between words. If necessary, the word border mark is used. The writing system is a syllabary: one grapheme corresponds to a set of sounds (onset and rime) forming a syllable. All syllables of the particular language require a consonantal onset (no word-initial vowels).

The chart shows old monumentals/runes (regional, 3000 BP), classical majuscules (standard, 2000 BP; not showing obsolete additions) and cursive handwriting (vernacular, 1000 BP) of Central Lethusian. Sounds correspond to the post-classical language after the Fall of Grehtkeepers after 6:138 (1410 BP). Modified versions of the script are still in use among Lethusian daughter languages and their neighbours, which will be demonstrated later. 


Number system is base desimal, but their symbols are the same as syllable graphemes (compare e.g. Classical Greek). Larger values precede (rightmost) the lesser ones i.e. symbol for (1000) comes before that of (10). Negative numbers are formed by inverting the order. If there is only one negative number symbol, "No vowel" diacritic is used to indicate its negativity.

One thing to note is that even powers of ten appear twice; the symbol #1 ending the series of same power is used a stand-alone (or final) number whereas the symbol #2 beginning a new set is used when accompanied with other numbers. Example: "I have (10#1) apples, but you have (10#2)(4) [=14] of them."

Diacritics as arithmetic symbols:
- Question diacritic as "equals" sign, placed under the first symbol of the result.
- Word separator between numbers to be summed or subtracted: (10)(1).(2)(10)?,(1) [11-12=-1]
- Abbreviation mark between factors to be multiplied: (2)z(3)?(6) 
- Fractional number utilized in multiplication to get division but "no consonant mark can be used in the first grapheme of the divisor (follows dividend).
- For exponentiation, the abbreviation mark is used twice: (2)zz(3)?(8)
- Multiplication and expononentiation used also for numbers larger than 1M, and the compound may be placed in quotes: '(10k)zz(2)'

Fractional number symbols come last. Symbol for 'a is utilized as a decimal point if there is not a fraction small enough; larger number is borrowed from larger powers of ten respectively. Example: (4)(1/1000)z(1/10) ? (4/10)a(10000) [0.4001]. 
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:iconzenoseiya:
Zenoseiya Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2017
Syllabary? I think the technical term is alpha-syllabary via distortion. All the syllabograms are produced by distorting a base template in somewhat (ir)regular fashion, no?
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:iconjuhhmi:
juhhmi Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, you're right. I have no idea or memory why I named it bare "syllabary". Maybe because of the hand-written versions and slight irregularity? 
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:iconcomplexvariable:
ComplexVariable Featured By Owner May 16, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
*Emerges from the depths of fractal shadows to comment at your lovely scrivenings.*

In a similar vein as the "tengwaritis" comment, I notice that many of your cursive glyphs (especially the blobbier ones) do not seem well suited to be written in a flowing hand. For instance, all of the symbols in the top row: what kinds of cursive ligatures would you use to join them? And how would they be kept from being confused with other symbols or details?

The runic looking ones on the left of the boxes are especially interesting; they're like a fusion of futhork and the standard galactic alphabet.

Also, I notice that there is no symbol for 0. Kinda odd, having negative numbers, but not 0. xD

Technically, this isn't in base 10 (at least not as a positional system). Proper base 10 uses 10 distinct symbols, and would not need to rely on separate symbols for values larger than 10. Considering that your system allows for multiple representations of the same number, it makes me wonder which methods of rendering would be preferred for any given number.

Gorilla in the room: 1500+ years. You're gonna have language change (and historical developments) that cause the language to change drastically, split up, and die off in parts. Since that doesn't seem to be the case, how do you explain the lack of profound changes in this language over such a long period last of time? (Really, I'm quite curious! :D)

All that aside, this chart is amazing. How did you make it (what medium/materials did you use, I mean)?
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:iconjuhhmi:
juhhmi Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
*Beholds your ascending in awe.*

Yeah, cursive was a wrong word choice. Simply hand-written would've been better. I believe developing a true cursive with individual characters for all the syllable variations would be quite useless. The cursive consonant base could be the same, but diacritics would indicate the vowel. 

lol It became... a different kind of a runic. 

... Oh, who needs that!? (Yeah, I guess I'll have to add it. A straight horizontal line would be nice. Or could I just use 1-1? )

Good point! I tried to explain the choices preferred, but probably didn't succeed well (as happened with the terribly complex and creative arithmetic descriptions). But: The first of the two representations only occurs completely alone. I wanted to maintain the beautiful (and unrealistic) pattern in the table. According to my sources, merchants used a much simpler, truly base 10 system in their shorthand.

I'm glad you didn't let me get away with this. I know great sound and grammar changes are in the background, but unfortunately plausibility is not one of my strongest fields. In the chart I wanted to consider only grapheme changes because the language doesn't exist yet. I have only a few ideas on the different phonology of 3000 BP. I also think that creating runic examples for the closed syllables was a mistake since their development was more recent.
      The slight sound changes to a (conservative version of) post-classical state language happened in about six hundred years which is perhaps almost reasonable if the language was strictly regularized. Vernacularly, the dialects were already quite different at that time both in phonology and vocabulary and to a some degree in grammar as well. Nowadays, the languages are of course far apart and the scripts will be derived later. If I'll use this as a base, I bet I'll get some interesting grapheme-combining ligatures due to all the sound changes.
(Have to mention that having a rather conservative mother tongue has its downsides in things like this. My favourite example is the Finnish word 'kuningas' which means 'a king' as these both are derived from Proto-Germanic *kuningaz...)

Thanks! :) I used Gimp 2, especially utilizing paths for the glyphs.
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:iconcomplexvariable:
ComplexVariable Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
[I wanted to consider only grapheme changes because the language doesn't exist yet.] - - - although I'm essentially incompetent at the fine details of language construction (I understand the rules of grammar about as well as a goldfish might understand the mathematical foundations of general relativity), I think I have enough skills will building to say that you'd probably be better off if you first created a language for single moment in time (ex: for whatever period of your world you consider to be its "present day") and then extrapolating backwards. Alternatively, you could start with the protolanguage and then extrapolate forward. But, if I were you, I would try to avoid setting up features of your world that dictate a huge amount of historical stagnancy ( such as what would be expected from a society, culture, and environment where a single language could remain essentially unchanged for several millennia)

In my limited experience, one of the common flaws of constructed languages for fantasy worlds is that they follow Tolkein's model of being the sun about which most of the subsequent world building orbits; language and myth that created first and then everything else (i.e. the entirety of the world) is treated simply as a consequence/outgrowth of that initial data. But it's not one-sided; it never has been. Every little thing, whether created by living beings, or simply by the environment, influences the way in which societies and worlds develop. *Activate lecture mode*

For instance In our world, it's generally agreed upon by archeologists that the Sumerians invented writing as a means of expediting business transactions. If I recall correctly, they would store coins and silver and other trade commodities in pouches made of clay; small stones would be used to imprint markings on the rim of the pouch while it was still moist, corresponding to the number of things contained inside the pouch. Cuneiform writing systems developed as an outgrowth of that, nourished by the abundance of clay in ancient Iraq which provided the peoples of Mesopotamia with an ample supply for their writing medium. Given the unimaginable importance that writing would come to serve their society, the Samarian's and their successors with actually come to view the invention of writing as a gift from the gods (a completely understandable attribution, seeing as they didn't have the kinds of recordkeeping abilities to keep track of how they invented all the essentials of life over the passing millennia).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, from my own experience, it's easier to work with little islands of known details, and then to fill in the blanks in between. The extent to which you can build the world is limited by how much you know about it. We have to invent both The significant ideas of history, as well as all of the circumstances and developments that change them and made them evolve. It's like writing a story in a language you don't know; you have to cheat yourself the language – the rules of how to make things happen – in order to get whatever ideas you DO have down on paper in a manner that makes sense. If you try to do it all at once from up on high, I think the product tends to come across as being too stilted and inorganic; but, if you do it a little bit at a time—a forest here, a war there, and the occasional important invention now and then— you have enough freedom to create new things and explore their consequences, without having to give up on the verisimilitude of the creation in order to make it fit to this or that "big idea".

( I should know; my still-in-progress first novel still suffers from The fact that I made those exact same mistakes during its earliest birth pangs. 😣)
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:iconjuhhmi:
juhhmi Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I've told/complained to a number of people about my way of creating scripts and modern languages first and then trying to cope with the result or derive a proto-lang. The best and most natural way would indeed be beginning with a proto-language and then deriving daughter languages through laws and rules concerning sound and grammar changes. The problem is the interaction between languages (and cultures) which arises from the cultural background. This means that one should create all the proto-languages of an area first and then let them evolve step by step, along with the culture. On the other hand, I've already set the basic historical events so the interaction should be quite easy to figure out from there. 

Ooh, that's cool! 

I appreciate your efforts on trying to guide me to a better way. :) My mind just happens to be rather random - you haven't heard me trying to explain or tell someone something face-to-face without preparation. And many of my lecture doodles tend to evolve into scripts... I even had to create a whole universe of writing systems where I can just dump all the "useless" ones. My world already starts to be quite saturated of scripts but completely lacking developed languages.
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:iconsamantha-wright:
Samantha-Wright Featured By Owner May 16, 2015  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Careful when designing featural systems like this—it's very easy to invoke what is called Tengwaritis, where all of the symbols are too close together to be readily distinguished at a glance by any but the most experienced reader. If you're really committed to using a writing system with this much regularity, be prepared to refine, iterate, and learn yourself into the ground. Some of your other past scripts tread this line as well, although they're nevertheless gorgeous.
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:iconjuhhmi:
juhhmi Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm... Yes, I read of it once but didn't realize this indeed is quite suffering from it. Amharic inspired me to make a script with these grapheme modifications but somehow even the different bases became quite similar. 

All in all, thanks for the tips and praise! :)
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:iconkythkyn:
Kythkyn Featured By Owner May 14, 2015  Student Writer
I really like the look. Have any examples texts?
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:iconjuhhmi:
juhhmi Featured By Owner May 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! :)

There aren't any proper texts, since the language is still completely nonexistent. (Sorry for my bad habit of creating scripts before languages.)

I only tested the script before digitalizing my chart. Funny thing is that I completely forgot where I'd originally intended the language to be spoken in my world so that postcard environment doesn't quite fit the current tropical area.

I'll update the language page with more information and examples. 
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:iconjuhhmi:
juhhmi Featured By Owner May 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
asdfsasdfsasdfsasdfsasdfsIasdfsasdfsasdfsiasdfsasdfsIasdfsasdfsasdfsasdfsasdfs i will update this when my keyboard starts to work as it used to.
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