ZoΓ« Blade's notebook


Shavian is an alternative alphabet that can be used to represent English speech. It was designed by the appropriately named Kingsley Read.

Unlike standard English spelling, which naturally evolved out of multiple other languages, Shavian's aim is to keep spelling simple and consistent. It's phonemic, similar to phonetic, only slightly less accent-dependent. Two people might pronounce the same letter slightly differently to each other, yet each should still pronounce it reasonably consistently. Given how fractured English pronounciation is, this goal isn't entirely achievable, but Shavian gets as close as any other alphabet. Probably much closer.

Each sound you make is represented by one letter, and can be written with a single penstroke. In addition, five especially common words are abbreviated to single letters. This makes Shavian efficient, both in terms of being compact on the page or screen, and also fast to read and especially write, once you're suitably familiar with it.

Although its 48 letters may seem intimidating at first, bear in mind English's 26 are actually 52 once you take uppercase and lowercase equivalents into account. Shavian has no distinct cases. Proper nouns are prefixed with a bulletpoint-style dot (Β·), while initialisms are prefixed with a small circle (βΈ°).

As Shavian was consciously designed, it also uses a bunch of neat ideas to make the letters more memorable, and almost intuitive. For example, the deep letters for B, D, and G (π‘š, 𐑛, and π‘œ, respectively) are the tall letters for P, T, and K (𐑐, 𐑑, and 𐑒) upside down, as the physical movement you make to say them is similar but lower down. Eight letters are simply compounds of others, such as Y (π‘˜) and Oo (𐑡) making You (𐑿).

Given the constructed alphabet's inevitable rarity, Shavian isn't especially useful as a means of communication with other people. However, given its sparing use of letters, and of penstrokes within each letter, it can be quite useful as a shorthand for taking notes.

𐑦𐑑 𐑭𐑀𐑕𐑴 𐑀𐑫𐑒𐑕 𐑯𐑲𐑕, 𐑛𐑴𐑯𐑑 𐑿 𐑔𐑦𐑙𐑒?


Communication: Body language | Implicature | Pragmatics | Saving face | Scripting | Shavian | Socialisation