Playing with the Shavian Alphabet

Recently I discovered the Shavian alphabet, and have passed a few days playing with it. One result is an Emacs Mule input method, which I developed for this alphabet.

My first intention was to apply the familiar SAMPA ASCIIzation; yet in order to simplify the input I have made a few modifications.

In order to avoid frequent upcasing in I, aI, eI, I use the ee digraph for [i:] (i.e. ๐‘ฐ), thus freeing i for [ษช] (i.e. ๐‘ฆ). Hence I can use the simpler ei, ai etc combinations. The same holds for oo and u instead of the SAMPA's u and U (and hence the simpler au, ou).

Similarly, y is used for [j] (i.e. ๐‘˜, yea), so that the โ€œdeepโ€ letter j can be used for [dส’] (judge, ๐‘ก); and the โ€œtallโ€ upper-case J becomes the unvoiced [tสƒ] (church, ๐‘—).

Most ligatures are the normal SAMPA combinations:

are [ษ‘r] Ar โ†’ ๐‘ธ ; Or โ†’ ๐‘น [ษ”r], [ษ”ษ™r] or
array [ษ™r] @r โ†’ ๐‘ผ ; i@r - ๐‘ฝ [ษชษ™r], ear
Ian [i.ษ™] i@ โ†’ ๐‘พ, etc.

If for some strange reason you have to avoid merging a combination into a single Shavian letter, you can enter and erase a space between the combining characters; that will break the sequence, and the inputs shall be disjoint. E.g.


shall input two consecutive letters ๐‘ญ๐‘ฎ, not a single are ligature (๐‘ธ).

The input method module is available here: shavian-ucs.el. Put it somewhere in your Elisp load-path hierarchy; and evaluate (add in your .emacs) the method specification:

 "shavian-ucs" "utf-8" 'quail-use-package
 "๐‘–8" "A SAMPA-like method to input Shavian letters"
You can choose an input method by C-x C-M C-\; thereafter you shall be able to toggle the input methods by C-\.

There are several Unicode fonts for the Shavian alphabet. Unfortunately none of them has kerning for the Shavian part, and most use the stingy interword spacing traditional in the English-language typography (0.3 em, which is too narrow; the Russian norm is 0.5 em). In this situation monospaced fonts could be more readable than the proportional ones.

I also like to play with the esperantic version of the project, la ลœava alfabeto.

Below is the result of an input exercise I used to check my input method.

๐‘žย  ยท๐‘–๐‘ฑ๐‘๐‘พ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘จ๐‘ค๐‘“๐‘ฉ๐‘š๐‘ง๐‘‘

๐‘‘๐‘ท๐‘คย  ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘›๐‘ฐ๐‘ย  ๐‘ค๐‘ง๐‘‘๐‘ผ๐‘•:

๐‘๐‘ฐ๐‘ย  ๐‘š๐‘ฆ๐‘š
๐‘‘๐‘ช๐‘‘ย  ๐‘›๐‘ง๐‘›
๐‘’๐‘ฆ๐‘’ย  ๐‘œ๐‘จ๐‘œ
๐‘“๐‘ฐย  ๐‘๐‘ฌ
๐‘”๐‘ฒย  ๐‘ž๐‘ฑ
๐‘•๐‘ดย  ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ต
๐‘–๐‘ซ๐‘ผย  ๐‘ฅ๐‘ง๐‘ ๐‘ผ
๐‘—๐‘ป๐‘—ย  ๐‘ก๐‘ณ๐‘ก
๐‘˜๐‘ฑย  ๐‘ข๐‘ด
๐‘ฃ๐‘ณ๐‘™ย  ๐‘ฃ๐‘ญ-๐‘ฃ๐‘ญ

๐‘–๐‘น๐‘‘ย  ๐‘ค๐‘ง๐‘‘๐‘ผ๐‘•:

๐‘ค๐‘ช๐‘คย  ๐‘ฎ๐‘น
๐‘ฅ๐‘ฒ๐‘ฅย  ๐‘ฏ๐‘ณ๐‘ฏ
๐‘ฆ๐‘“ย  ๐‘ฐ๐‘‘
๐‘ง๐‘œย  ๐‘ฑ๐‘ก ๐‘จ๐‘–ย  ๐‘ฒ๐‘•
๐‘ฉ๐‘›๐‘ตย  ๐‘ณ๐‘ ๐‘ช๐‘ฏ
๐‘ด๐‘’ย  ๐‘ข๐‘ซ๐‘คย  ๐‘ต๐‘Ÿย  ๐‘ฌ๐‘‘ย  ๐‘ถ๐‘คย  ๐‘ญย  ๐‘ท

๐‘ค๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ฉ๐‘—๐‘ผ๐‘Ÿ (= ๐‘ค๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ฉ๐‘‘๐‘ฟ๐‘ผ๐‘Ÿ = ๐‘ค๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ฉ๐‘‘๐‘˜๐‘ซ๐‘ผ๐‘Ÿ):

๐‘ธย  ๐‘นย  ๐‘บย  ๐‘ปย  ๐‘ผ๐‘ฑย  ๐‘ฝย  ๐‘พย  ๐‘ฟ


(This traditional pangram, of course, is no pangram for the Shavian alphabet, but anyway:)

๐‘ž๐‘ฉย  ๐‘’๐‘ข๐‘ฆ๐‘’ย  ๐‘š๐‘ฎ๐‘ฌ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘“๐‘ช๐‘’๐‘•ย  ๐‘ก๐‘ณ๐‘ฅ๐‘๐‘•ย  ๐‘ด๐‘๐‘ผย  ๐‘ž๐‘ฉย  ๐‘›๐‘ช๐‘œ.

(I do not like this pangram, but I do not know anything better:)

๐‘ผ๐‘ฑ๐‘Ÿย  ๐‘ย  ๐‘—๐‘ฌ๐‘›๐‘ป-๐‘ฃ๐‘ฑ๐‘‘๐‘ฆ๐‘™ย  ยท๐‘š๐‘ช๐‘ฃ๐‘ฆ๐‘ฅ๐‘พ๐‘ฏ๐‘Ÿย  ๐‘“๐‘ฝย  ๐‘ข๐‘น๐‘’,ย  ๐‘˜๐‘ง๐‘‘ย  ๐‘‘๐‘ถ๐‘คย  ๐‘ฆ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘บ,ย  ๐‘ข๐‘ญ๐‘‘๐‘ป,ย  ๐‘“๐‘ฒ๐‘ฎ,ย  ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘ป๐‘”,ย  ๐‘ท๐‘คย  ๐‘“๐‘นย  ๐‘ฉย  ๐‘’๐‘ณ๐‘ย  ๐‘ย  ๐‘’๐‘ช๐‘“๐‘ฐย  ๐‘ž๐‘จ๐‘‘ย  ๐‘ฉย  ๐‘•๐‘ธ๐‘ก๐‘ฉ๐‘ฏ๐‘‘ย  ๐‘š๐‘ฎ๐‘ต๐‘›,ย  ๐‘–๐‘ซ๐‘ผ๐‘ค๐‘ฆย  ๐‘ฉย  ๐‘๐‘ค๐‘ง๐‘ ๐‘ผย  ๐‘“๐‘ฟย  ๐‘“๐‘น๐‘œ๐‘ด.

(Arrays of chowder-hating Bohemians fear work, yet toil in air, water, fire, and earth, all for a cup of coffee that a sergeant brewed, surely a pleasure few forgo.)

๐‘ธ๐‘‘๐‘ฆ๐‘’๐‘ฉ๐‘คย  1ย  ๐‘ย  ๐‘žย  ยท๐‘ฟ๐‘ฏ๐‘ฆ๐‘๐‘ป๐‘•๐‘ฉ๐‘คย  ๐‘›๐‘ง๐‘’๐‘ค๐‘ฉ๐‘ฎ๐‘ฑ๐‘–๐‘ฉ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘ย  ๐‘ฃ๐‘ฟ๐‘ฅ๐‘ฉ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘ฎ๐‘ฒ๐‘‘๐‘•

๐‘ท๐‘คย  ๐‘ฃ๐‘ฟ๐‘ฅ๐‘ฉ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘š๐‘ฐ๐‘™๐‘Ÿย  ๐‘ธย  ๐‘š๐‘น๐‘ฏย  ๐‘“๐‘ฎ๐‘ฐย  ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘ฐ๐‘’๐‘ข๐‘ฉ๐‘คย  ๐‘ฆ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘›๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ฏ๐‘ฆ๐‘‘๐‘ฆย  ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘ฎ๐‘ฒ๐‘‘๐‘•.ย  ๐‘ž๐‘ฑย  ๐‘ธย  ๐‘ง๐‘ฏ๐‘›๐‘ฌ๐‘›ย  ๐‘ข๐‘ฆ๐‘žย  ๐‘ฎ๐‘ฐ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฉ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘’๐‘ท๐‘ฏ๐‘–๐‘ฉ๐‘ฏ๐‘•ย  ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘–๐‘ซ๐‘›ย  ๐‘จ๐‘’๐‘‘ย  ๐‘‘๐‘ฉ๐‘ข๐‘ท๐‘›๐‘Ÿย  ๐‘ช๐‘ณ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘ฉ๐‘ฏ๐‘ฉ๐‘ž๐‘ผย  ๐‘ฆ๐‘ฏย  ๐‘ฉย  ๐‘•๐‘๐‘ฆ๐‘ฎ๐‘ฆ๐‘‘ย  ๐‘ย  ๐‘š๐‘ฎ๐‘ณ๐‘ž๐‘ผ๐‘ฃ๐‘ซ๐‘›.

(All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.)

Sergei Pokrovsky ยท๐‘•๐‘ผ๐‘œ๐‘ฑย  ยท๐‘๐‘ญ๐‘’๐‘ฎ๐‘ท๐‘“๐‘•๐‘’๐‘ฐ
Novosibirsk, 2012-01-05 ยท๐‘ฏ๐‘ด๐‘๐‘ด๐‘•๐‘ฆ๐‘š๐‘ฝ๐‘•๐‘’, 2011-11-29