In my daily life, I deal with four different writing systems.
Firstly, of course, I use the latin writing with its modifications and oddities for writing my mother tongue and those others which use it and for transcribing the other languages i deal with. The character set as we use it nowadays, enhanced with a plethora of diacritic signs, proves to be the most versatile for correctly and adaptively rendering basically any language. Of course, due to being used by so many different languages natively, the utterance of its characters is a huge discussion in itself (which makes me understand and sympathise with the dream that gave life to the phonetic alphabet).
Secondly, I use the Devanagari script for reading and writing Sanskrit and, in its slightly modified form, for Hindi. Apart from marvelling at its age and history, I particularly like this script’s quite unified appearance. As one of my Hindi teachers once explained:
your script is slender and fine-lined,
In that moment, I realised how beautifully this description also fitted the difference of appearance between us Europeans and her, being from Nepal.
(Later, I dedicated her a poem. That, though, speaks rather of her reciting poetry.)
one of Devangari’s main characteristics is the connective top-line
Thirdly, I use the Tibetan dbu can script for reading and writing both classical and modern Tibetan. About this script, I particularly like the calligraphic style of each individual character. Also, it is always cool to show your friends a writing system that seems to resemble Klingon writing, to the untrained eye.
the dbu can script was derived from the Indian Gupta writing
And finally, the fourth writing system I use are the Chinese characters. Since beginning to study Mandarin last Oktober, each week between 15 and 30 new characters are being (or should be) cramped into my head. With hanzi, I obviously love their pictographic character and, beyond all, their calligraphic possibilities.
sometimes I start thinking pictographically even about other scripts…
Apart from learning some of the world’s fascinating languages and slowly accessing the literary traditions they hold, I myself create an own language. Sablung, which also is the origin of this blog’s title, is a project that has been beautifully growing since quite some time now. My dictionary as well as the grammatical compendium are filling with content, and slowly but surely some organic elements are appearing in the language. While the talk about its nature would fill another post, the thing that concerns me here is my seemingly endless strive for an appropriate script.
When creating an own language, it goes without saying that one would also want to create an own script for it. Since my childhood, I have been creating and using new scripts.
For Sablung, though, none of these are even remotely suitable or good enough. Firstly, Sablung’s alphabet is wide and different from the latin alphabet for which I created scripts in my younger years. Secondly, having learned my share of other writing systems, I don’t just want to recreate latin script with differently shaped characters. A script being a writing system, I want the new script to be an own system. And thirdly, I want it to please me, aesthetically. That means being both effective (in using space, the ability to be written in small size [my handwriting is very small] and readability) and artistic.
Over the time I’ve spent with Sablung, I have created several scripts, all of which were quickly discarded. Aesthetically, there are several existing scripts I’d want my script to be influenced by (among them Persian/Arabic writing and Tolkien’s Tengwar).
After so many failed attempts, I’m left to wonder if I’ll ever be able to create something which will please me so much I’d want to stick to it possibly for the rest of my life. Would that require the own genius to be more genial than itself?
So for now, I’ll go on trying and trying. Maybe one fine day, the perfect (perfect for me, that is) pattern will reveal itself in the face of a rose or the ripples of a moonlit pond.