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Irolan's avatar

Kawarikuan Writing System

When a friend and I started a fantasy roleplay set in a world inspired by the Japanese middle age, we decided to use the Japanese language as a base for the language spoken there. I had this script laying around and expanded it so Japanese could be written with it.
The land is called Kawariku (which is short for Kawa no Riku, Land of Rivers).
Basically, it's an alternative writing system for Hiragana. You can use it to write anything that can be written with Hiragana.

The syllable's vowel is determined by the meta level (the top bar, called ooeda or branch). A is meta level 1, i is level 2, u is level 3 and so on. Now, originally, it was different. It was a = 1, e = 2, o = 3, i = -1, u = -2. But that's too complicated. The consonant(s) are determined by the root (kon).

While it can be written horizontally and vertically, the latter is more common. Commas are two meta-1 branches combined, periods are 3 meta-1 branches. Dashes can be written like normal dashes (– if the writing is horizontal, | if it is vertical). Eventually, when writing vertically, it's common to use a special "end-of-column" character at the end of each column. It is not necessary, but it's usually done if one writes in "blocks" that are placed above or below other "blocks".

Esthetically, the glyphs are more consistent, while in Hiragana, most glyphs that share the same vowel or same consonant don't resemble each other at all.
Btw, hope you can read my handwriting. This is several sheets of paper scanned and then put together. I was too lazy to type everything again with the computer.
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© 2012 - 2022 Irolan
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tlhakujunkan's avatar
This looks a lot like this:

But I can see that your description of how the letters are put together and the background are different. And as a speaker of Japanese I can appreciate the effort in making a writing system to cover the hundred or so syllables there. It looks very nice in your examples.
Irolan's avatar
Yeah, the visual appearance was partially inspired by it.
ImaginaryMdA's avatar
I think it's a beautiful skript, and I don't agree with the emperor, at all,
The letters have a very easy, standardized way of tellin which is which, and I think they are distinct enough.
Irolan's avatar
Thanks. =^,.,^=
Red-Star-Flag's avatar
mbrsart's avatar
Very beautiful script. While I do agree with Zelos, in that featural scripts like Tengwar can be problematic, I think this one might have enough uniqueness to be practical.
Irolan's avatar
Well, in Tengwar, it looks like Tolkien only used the letters b and p and added lines or additional curls. Then, when he went out of possible combinations, he added a few other letters. Here, I tried to make each consonant look different, they're not based on one another. The look-alikeness comes from the vowel parts. However, concerning the vowels, instead of the branch, you could also imagine diacritic symbols.
It might have been more practical to use a table or something, showing the branches for a, e, i, o, u and the root for the consonants only once, instead of for each mora. I think that's what may give a "they all look alike"-impression.
mbrsart's avatar
Wikipedia does well explaining the vowel-diacritic system of Devanagari using a table. It looks like you could possibly do the same. I do love the example sentences.
Irolan's avatar
Possibly. And thanks for the fav =^,.,^=
Qwsa171's avatar
The letters are very graceful! I like the look of it
Irolan's avatar
Thanks =^,.,^=
EmperorZelos's avatar
I think this abugida like thing might suffer the same as tolkeins elvish writing
Irolan's avatar
Actually it's not an abugida, as in an abugida, the vowel can not stand alone. Here it can (ok it has a • below it, but it is an independent vowel nontheless, you could leave the • away). It's a mora-based writing system (dunno what you can that in English, mora script, morae script, moras script, something like that).
And... what do you mean anyway?
EmperorZelos's avatar
The elvish letters are so similar that the elves must be plagued by dyslexia.
Irolan's avatar
You can say the same about several letters and symbols we use. For example, b, p, q, d, 6, g, 9, e, o, n, u, v, (I write u's like n's but with a line above it, lots of people think my n's are u's and my u's are ü's and they are not dyslexic). In Hiragana, you have glyphs that are identical, except that some have a ° or " next to them. That's the same problem.
It's all a question of training (for example, there's a lot of people actually who can't write an ampersand at one go because they hardly ever do it, and lack of training is one possible but not the only possible reason for dyslexia).
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