The Shavian Alphabet, the other English Letters.


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Feb 28, 2020
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So, I ran into this piece of information that I find fascinating. There was a guy that invented a new alphabet for the English language by the name of Ronald Kingsley Read in 1960 who was an art graduate at the time. The project to make a new english alphabet was started by George Shaw who died in 1950. His will had a bunch of money to fund the project.

This new alphabet is called the Shavian Alphabet. It has 48 characters instead of the 26 characters (52 if you count upper and lower case) in the Roman Alphabet. It still reads left to right.

The Shavian takes up less space to communicate, reducing the the amount of ink and paper when printing from your printer, and also reducing publishing costs when publishing a book. You can write each character by hand without having to pick up your pen to cross a t or dot an i.

The most interesting part of it for me is that it has a character for each sound of the English language so there isn't a need to have a cluster of letters for a sound. And the Shavian Alphabet eliminates silent letters. There is a separate character for the vowel sound in Book and the vowel sound in Dot. There are characters for the ch and th sounds.

The characters have names for the sound they represent. The first letter of the Shavian Alphabet is called Peep. It is considered a Tall character. It makes the p sound you hear when you say peep. Bib is another character and makes the b sound when you say bib. It is considered a Deep character. The Bib character is an inverted Peep character. This is because Peep doesn't use your vocal cords to say the p sound but Bib does for the b sound.
There is a group of characters for liquid constants, nasal constants, and vowels called Short and another group of characters called Compound for sounds like ch or th. These are inverted from each other.

The Shavian Alphabet doesn't tell you how to say a word, but it relies on sounds you already know from speaking English.
Taking an example from the video about this alphabet that I saw... British people may say Helicopter differently than an American would but the word will still be spelled the same even though one person ends helicopter in a uh sound and the other person ends helicopter in a urr sound. The Shavian character that would end helicopter is called Array and it makes the arr sound when you say array. (Which can be uhray or urray also depending on English accent)

The Shavian Alphabet doesn't have uppercase letters. Instead you have a floating dot in front of a proper noun (person place or thing). This dot is called a namer dot.

Since the Shavian Alphabet eliminates silent letters, you will not see the same character beside itself unless that sound is actually pronounced verbally. Annoyed only has the sound of the n once while Unnamed the n is pronounced twice, so when writing in Shavian, it is ok to have the n sound written twice for Unnamed.

the, and, to, for: have been reduced to a single character that has that dominate sound. (reference photo to know what characters)

Hopefully my text isn't too muddy, but a video about the Shavian Alphabet is linked if you would rather watch it before answering my questions at the bottom (since most people may not know what the Shavian Alphabet is or how it works...)

What are your thoughts of the Shavian Alphabet?
Would you have interest in learning it seriously or for fun or not at all?
Though unlikely, how would you feel about it replacing the Roman Alphabet one day?
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"7 up" i see you

i think too many of the symbols look too similar to each other but it's definitely interesting