Nov. 6th, 2016

yomikoma: "Yomikoma" in sitelen sitelen (sitelen tokipona jomikoma)
sitelen sitelen text for 'o pona wawa tawa ante ali. jan pona o awen musi!'sitelen sitelen is a pictorial writing system for the language Toki Pona. It's fantastic ("pona wawa").

Logographic writing systems are difficult to create, simply because of the size of the problem. If each word has an associated image, you need to draw a lot of images. There are various solutions to this, often involving a mix of phonetic and meaningful symbols (Mark Rosenfelder's Yingzi is an excellent introduction to how the most well-known of these works for English-speakers) and often causing a tremendous explosion in images needed. My own Rikchik language moves forward slowly partially because of this issue.

However, the language Toki Pona famously only has 120 words.

The language's creator, Sonja Lang, actually made her own logographic system (known as "sitelen pona", good writing). It's easy to write. Jonathan Gabel made another system (called "sitelen sitelen", picture writing) which is not as easy but is quite attractive.

In sitelen sitelen, each of the words is given a picture - to my eyes, these resemble cartoons or Mayan glyphs - and they are laid out mostly in sequence. Overlap is encouraged, and prepositions are given internal spaces that can be expanded to allow the entire rest of the prepositional phrase to fit inside. Pedestal-like punctuation symbols are provided that the rest of the phrase can sit upon. Colors are not officially provided, I just came up with some on my own.

Toki Pona also allows mention of names and foreign words through transliteration into the (C)V(N) standard used by the "native" words. The sitelen sitelen writing system provides a systematic syllabary (which may count as an alphasyllabary) that encodes any compliant word into a series of symbols. My avatar for this post is "jomikoma" (j is pronounced as y in Toki Pona). The vowels of the syllabary, especially o and a, resemble eyes - adding some more life to the system.

Again, it was fun writing my own postscript code to render the symbols I needed and I'll be on the lookout for more chances to use it.

(I'm leaving my illustrative phrase untranslated in case readers want to puzzle it out.)

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yomikoma: Yomikoma reading (Default)
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