logograph

Yuktepat Human Body Part Radicals

http://conlangers.deviantart.com/art/Yuktepat-Human-Body-Part-Radicals-597259958

The basic vector forms are done for the basic glyphs (radicals) representing human body parts. As radicals, they combine with other glyphs to form new glyphs, vastly enlarging the range of words that can be written in Yuktepat.

Traditionally radicals are organized into groups by semantics. Within the “body” category, parts are listed from the top of the body to the bottom, with internal organs following the external ones.

Several body parts also function as verbs with no marking. Two different glyphs for “foot” exist, which occur inside different compound glyphs - largely depending on which one fits better.

Creating an alphabet

I’ve come to suspect that part of the reason I frequently abandon conlang projects is that I never create scripts for any of them. Conlangers who write their languages in scripts of their own making receive a form of beautiful, interesting visual feedback every time they write in their language, and it feels more their “own”. If you just write your conlang in a Romanization, then you don’t necessarily get that. So, over the past week, during the downtime at my job, I scribbled down and developed an idea for a script.

I don’t have the time to just casually create a logographic script, and I know that abugidas are really popular and cool in the conlanging community, but frankly, whenever I try to make an abugida it just ends up looking ugly as fuck. So I decided to make an alphabet.

Ever since reading Mark Rosenfelder’s line “[Tolkien’s] elves must have been tormented by dyslexia” - in reference to the Tengwar - I’ve tried to make sure the scripts I design have glyphs that are sufficiently visually distinct. So I try to avoid rotations, reflections, and so on.

I designed this alphabet using the “frame” of a 1×2 grid as a basis. (This has the advantage that it can be displayed on a typical calculator.) I set down several rules for the formation of the glyphs:

  • Each glyph must make use of the full vertical and horizontal extent of the frame.
  • Each glyph must include both horizontal and vertical strokes.
  • If a vertical “half-stroke” is used, it must be connected to horizontal strokes at both ends.
  • No glyph may be a rotation or reflection of another glyph.

After eliminating all the glyphs that broke the rules, that gave me the following symbols, for which I made some pretty “minuscule” or ”cursive” forms:

Problem: It only has fifteen glyphs. If you’re writing a Polynesian language, that’s all well and good, but for pretty much any other language…that’s an issue. I could easily introduce more glyphs by breaking the rules I had laid down, but it would feel wrong to ruin the symmetry and balance of the whole set. I could use diacritics - maybe convert it into an abugida *eyeroll*. Or maybe I could go the route of the deeply-flawed Pahlavi script and just double up a ton of consonants on the same symbols. Idk. I’ll figure out something to do with it.

The Great Gatsby

The image above shows the opening lines of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in Yuktepat. To refresh your memory, this is how the book begins:

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,“ he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

In Yuktepat this becomes:

: Yan Thok-ôn Ka-cô-pi :
 —————————
Xap-ôn wat sûq wat ôl-xhûng lem nat
ôl-qhôy wat luy hûq huy yuk laq hû
wat ôl-chek nik nik nyul men. Nat
ôl-xem, kyat tu-sûq myat tuq yan-un
tu-chup suk now kul-un u-nyul men
yat hi nyel nwong ôl-mul sing côq
hû kyat.

I’ve made each of the lines exactly as long as the lines (vertical columns) in the image so you can match it up. Each of the glyphs is exactly one syllable in the transliteration (or a punctuation mark). Keep reading and I take it apart phrase by phrase.

Keep reading

2

My current avatar, the state seal of Tepat. The seal features interlocking, stylized versions of the glyphs for tey “hand” and phlat “hero.” For clarity in the second photo, “hand” is highlighted in green and “hero” in red.