tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Jan 31 06:51:17 2002

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Re: Alphabet

I started learning last summer and stopped after two weeks (time pressure).
But I found this discussion on the alphabet very interesting, so I thought
I would throw in a couple of opinions;

1, I agree with those people who have said that tlhIngan Hol should be
syllabic. It has that sort of 'feel' when you are looking at it. Sanskrit,
and Prakrit variants are written in a syllabic script, they consist mostly
of open syllables, C+V, or C+C+V, or C+V+m. With 12 vowels and 33
consonants (in devanagari) this leads to about 400 characters. However, the
characters are constructed according to fairly well defined rules (less so
in Kharoshti and Brahmi) so that someone only has to learn about 50
characters and the rules for altering and combining them. A similar
tlhIngan Hol could be built.

2, In practice a syllabic script would be awkward to use, and linguistic
fun must take a back seat to ease of use. So if Okrand ever did develop a
script it would probably be alphabetic. Maybe with a few ligatures for the
consonant clusters like rtlh, and 'w (just for flavour).
If anyone wants a 'real' justification for this, then think about the
advanatages alphabetic systmes have (with 20 - 40 characters) over syllabic
systems (with 100 - 500) when using advanced technology, such as keyboards.
Even if klingons had a syllabic script they would be forced to adopt a
parrallel alphabetic one in their equivelant of the 20th century.  

3, Someone mentioned working from the centre out and thought this
inpractical. I have seen at least one ancient Cretan script written in this
way, and having made some notes on paper I found it quite simple. Up to 37
characters could be written in, and easily read from a single spiral, and
up to 7 spirals placed on a page. It would lead to all sorts of interesting
patterns in Klingon poetry and have strange implications for Klingons
reading in a non-linear way. Thankyou to whoever mentioned it, if I ever
restart my tlhIngan Hol I will definitely use this method.

Just my opinions (I'm not a linguist so don't take them too seriously)


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