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On the subject of conscripts, I've been playing around with a
syllabary for English. The big problem with trying to use a syllabary
for English is the vast number of different syllables that exist in
the language. To work around that problem I'll re-define syllable to
be only open syllables of the form CV (or CCV, or CCVV, etc.) Single
syllable words like "cat" will have to be written with two syllabary
symbols: "cat".

In addition, to get the maximum mileage out of a minimum number of
symbols, I've decided to add optional diacritics above, below, and to
the left of each syllabary symbol. These diacritics will modify the
syllable in a variety of ways.

Left diacritics will modify the vowel, perhaps lengthening it or
turning it into a glide or diphthong. For example, the symbol for "HU"
could get a left diacritic that changes it to "H(A)U", or "HEE" might
become "HAI" by the addition of a diacritic.

Bottom diacritics will augment the initial consonant sound of the
symbol. For example, an underscore might add "L" after the initial
consonant changing "PU" to P(L)U". Combined with the left diacritic
example above, "PU" could become "PLAU" (plow).

Top diacritics will add a coda after the vowel. There are only a few
allowable codas since the next syllable will always begin with a
consonant. For example, a circle over the syllabary symbol might add
"R" sound after the vowel, changing "SU" to "SUR". An umlaut might add
"S" as a coda.

Each syllabary symbol represents an open syllable with an UNVOICED
consonant. If the consonant is to be voiced the symbol is dotted,
meaning that an extra small dot is placed somewhere within the symbol
itself. Thus the symbol "PU", when dotted, becomes the symbol for
"BU", and "KU" dotted, with a circle under it, a left diacritic and an
umlaut becomes "G(R)AU\S" (grouse).

Not all dotted symbols are actually voiced. For example, "HU" dotted
becomes "YU", "LO" dotted becomes "RO", "NI" dotted becomes "MI".

A small diagonal backslash at the upper left corner of the symbol
indicates a stressed syllable. Stressed syllables often represent
slightly different sounds than the same symbol would represent if
unstressed. For example, in `Abu\l and a`B(A)Ut the initial "a"
symbols of the two words are pronounced quite differently due to
stress. As in that example, when writing the Romanized version of the
syllabary the stressed syllable will be in upper case.

With 60 base symbols, voicing dot, stress mark, 9 lower diacritics, 6
upper diacritics, and 5 left diacritics (there might be a few more of
each) there would be around 65,000 syllable variations. It seems to me
that 60 base symbols is a pretty reasonable number for a versatile
English language syllabary.

Next I need to grab pencil and paper and start sketching out some
actual glyph designs.

--gary