Re: Ewellic

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Wed Nov 12 2003 - 11:40:52 EST

  • Next message: Jim Allan: "Re: Ewellic"

    Philippe Verdy <verdy underscore p at wanadoo dot fr> wrote:

    > I doubt that ewellic will become more popular than IPA, which has much
    > more distinctive glyphs and is then much easier to read (and also to
    > write by hand without confusion as the Ewellic glyphs has most of its
    > glyphs that can easily be mixed if not drawn with extreme caution, so
    > that half oblique or horizontal strokes do not cross by accident the
    > main vertical bar, and these qualifying strokes also must use a very
    > precise angle).

    It was never intended to compete with IPA. It was an idle-brain
    activity from when I was 17. Some people write poetry or learn the
    ocarina; I invented an alphabet.

    But since you draw the comparison with IPA: IPA is an extension of
    Latin, which has had over two thousand years to be refined by scribes,
    typesetters, and shoppers making grocery lists. Naturally it is better
    refined and more mature as a script than this.

    Even so, Latin C and G can be drawn carelessly enough to cause
    confusion, and so can D and O, and U and V, and g and q. Usually you
    can figure out from context what was meant. Same here; if I ever write
    a T () carelessly enough that it looks like a K (), I have to figure
    it out from context.

    Only the O-type vowels () require unusual precision in drawing the
    cross-stroke. The others allow substantial variation.

    I have to admit that you are in good company if you think the glyphs are
    too similar to be readily distinguished. Peter Daniels, co-author of
    "The World's Writing Systems," said so as well. But I wonder, what
    about Rejang?

    > The result is that Exellic will be usable only with some fonts
    > (there's too little acceptable variability) and only if rendered
    > machanically or electronically.

    I can think of tons of opportunities for font variability:
    constant-width (Arial) vs. mixed-width (Times) strokes, short vs. long
    cross-strokes, sharper angles vs. flatter angles, slightly rounded, even
    serifs. Certainly more so than in IPA, where font variation is a Bad

    > What is strange is that the author says he could use it with
    > handwritten script. This requires handwriting skills (possibly
    > artistic drawing skills) that very few people have or need to
    > communicate.

    I meant "drawn by hand," not "cursive." This script existed for 20
    years as hand-drawn glyphs before anyone made a computer font.

    If you can draw Latin A, E, H, K, L, N, T, V, and Z, you have the motor
    skills necessary to draw Ewellic letters.

    > Ewellic may be considered as a (incomplete) cipher of IPA, except for
    > digits where it is a cipher of European digits.

    It's not supposed to be phonetic like IPA. It's phonemic; many of the
    sounds are approximated, by design.

    As for digits, aren't all sets of digits from 0 to 9 ciphers of one
    another? Of course, there's that hex thing....

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

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