OTʜᴇB's logographic adventure (Scratchpad)

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OTʜᴇB's logographic adventure (Scratchpad)

Post by OTʜᴇB » Mon 29 May 2017, 21:02

I think I am using "scratchpad" correctly here, but essentially what I'll be posting here is occasional updates on my logographic writing system intended to either complement or replace the featural alphasyllabary I currently have for Dijo. In this first post, I'll outline what I'm planning to do, and in further posts, I'll just dump bits of explanation and the like. I'm hoping to get some feedback on various bits - particularly any advice on creating these systems if possible (looking at you clawgrip - master conscript-ist [don't feel obligated to do anything though [:)] ]).

Anyway, on to what this whole thread is about:

I want this logography to follow a somewhat similar theme as my alphasyllabary. For future reference, this is a small sample text using the alphasyllabary:
Image
The system is based around a 6x6 grid in which lines connect the points of this grid. There are no closed shapes, no diagonals, and no deviations from the grid - with the exception of the space and comma punctuation which you can see it the form of the small and large lines between symbols. I intend to use all the same punctuation, and generally want the two to fit together nicely in the event that I do decide to use both - somewhat like the syllabary and logography mixture in Japanese, just a little less complicated.

As a 6x6 grid will be too small for a logography as far as I can tell, I'll use a larger grid. I'm torn between a 9x9 grid that should be sufficiently big, or a much larger 11x11 grid that would create a more appealing symmetry with the alphasyllabary - what with it adding an extra line between the 6x6 grid, keeping many lines that will line up. I'm more tempted by the 11x11 grid as it would likely be easier to cram logographs into it, but the 9x9 grid will be less dense and would be of a similar density to what kanji and Hanzi I have seen - leading me to believe that it would be very feasible, especially considering my lexicon will likely never reach such a size where it would be competing with these real-world lexicons. I'm anticipating that I'll never exceed 2000 words unless I am able to teach it to at least a few people that would end up using it frequently enough to run into missing words.

I do have some restraints planned that will give it the theme I want. I want the system to function better as one to be displayed on computer screens than one to be written as I see it more appropriate. Dijo has no conpeople, but whilst making it, I have been linking it to a conpeople that doesn't exist, but follows specific themes - one of them being heavy reliance on technology. I'm not going to be as limiting on it as with the alphasyllabary, allowing square or rectangular closed shapes, but no other closed shapes. The alphasyllabary has a lenient stroke order - downward or rightward strokes only - and I intend to include this in the logography, but of course any font I make for it will not show any of it much like the font for the alphasyllabary. This is so it will display well on a screen as well as me really not being very good at making fonts (I can't make curves consistent for the life of me).

My general approach for creating logographs is going to be to produce a pictograph or ideograph for each word root I have. I'd then gradually mould these into my system's constraints - simplifying shapes and stretching/squashing sections. This would leave me with 253 root primitives and 17 productive affix primitives. From there, I can fit these together as they fit, then stretch and squash as needed. As I get into more complicated words that I'm deriving from existing words, I can simplify the logograph for the word if needed - I can see it being like a little game of tetris.

That is all to begin with. I've made this post just before starting some pictographs, and I'll post some pictures of me going from pictograph to primitive soon.

I hope to get plenty of comments or questions and things as I go, and I'm very open to opinions on some of the symbols I've made and how I got to them.
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Re: OTʜᴇB's logographic adventure (Scratchpad)

Post by OTʜᴇB » Mon 29 May 2017, 22:07

And just 1.5 hours later, I've already made progress. I took the first 18 of my roots and came up with a very simple pictograph. I then tried to reduce the shapes as much as possible, rotating things and turning circles into squares and angles into straight lines. In the first image is a picture of the page of my notebook on which I quickly came up with the simple primitives. The second image is where I have put these into a simple bitmap image that is probably too small to see clearly. They're in the same order as above.
Spoiler:
Image
Image

What I'll then do is use these to start filling out my current lexicon which currently has 51 words if omitting grammatical words.

I know that there are a lot of words in Japanese and Mandarin and the like that actually use multiple logographs for whatever reason, but I want to try and avoid that to keep things very neat. Dijo is very much on the isolating side and as I have already been using a romanisation and of course the alphasyllabary, I have very concrete definitions of words which I can put into making the logography.

In terms of fonts, I am planning to expand the one I'm using for my alphasyllabary as I've found that it makes it much easier to use in LaTeX. I'm currently using the 0xxx area for the alphasyllabary, the 1xxx area for punctuation, the 2xxx area for numerals, and the 3xxx area for mathematical operators and other various symbols. I intend to use the 4xxx area for the logography - giving me a word limit of 4096 which I can double by using the 5xxx area too. The font itself is pretty much un-typeable without software like AutoHotKey, but works wonderfully for typesetting.

In my next post, I'll try and actually make some complete logographs for the very simple and un-derived words I have so far as they will be formed from a single primitive.
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Re: OTʜᴇB's logographic adventure (Scratchpad)

Post by OTʜᴇB » Tue 30 May 2017, 18:07

I've been doing a lot of maths to figure out good proportions for the logographs to integrate them well into my alphasyllabary font and have come to the conclusion that it is not possible, and that I'll have to switch to the logography completely. The issue is that the alphasyllabary fills an area 1280 units wide in my font, and I can't use decimal values. There's no way I could fit a 9x9 grid into it without using some very nasty numbers which would be a huge waste of time to work with.

Instead, I'm going to make a new font for the logography. I'm using much nicer metrics where everything is multiples of 55. The total footprint of each symbol is only very marginally bigger than the alphasyllabary, so swapping them out won't require much work.

I've also started work on a new dictionary that'll be formatted much better than my previous one that's prepared for the new logographic system.

In the meantime, I'm wondering how I'll create logographs for my grammatical words. I'm considering figuring out what primitives I might need if the grammatical words were to have been derived in the same manner as the rest of the lexicon, but this might be more work than it's worth. I'll most likely create logographs for them in the same way I created the primitives, and mix and match where it is appropriate.

In the meantime, look at my first logograph - this one means "age":
Image
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Re: OTʜᴇB's logographic adventure (Scratchpad)

Post by OTʜᴇB » Tue 30 May 2017, 18:36

As I've been fiddling with the much simpler logographs, I've made a noteworthy discovery. I'm finding that the more consistent the spacing of the lines within logographs is, the better it looks. Take the examples below:
Spoiler:
Image
You can see that it looks a tad strange. It's still following my 9x9 grid perfectly, but because there are gaps of varying sizes, it looks disproportionate.

Now look at this one:
Spoiler:
Image
Much better! By spacing it more evenly, it looks much better, and will fit in more nicely with everything else. this has led to a new guideline that I want to follow to keep everything looking nice. I'll follow a 5x5 grid wherever possible, as this is using every other point on the 9x9 grid. It's only when I start getting more lines that I'll need to start using the full 9x9 grid.

I've also found that squares look many magnitudes better than rectangles, so I'm also going to use a square over a rectangle wherever feasible. Rectangles will likely be either tall and thin, or wide and flat, and squares will fill the rest of it.
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Re: OTʜᴇB's logographic adventure (Scratchpad)

Post by masako » Tue 30 May 2017, 19:22

I have subscribed to this thread. Please continue to post.
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Re: OTʜᴇB's logographic adventure (Scratchpad)

Post by OTʜᴇB » Wed 31 May 2017, 12:20

masako wrote:I have subscribed to this thread. Please continue to post.
I certainly will be. I'm glad my waffling has sparked someone's interest [:D]

I have just woken up though, and if I do do some more work on it today, I should be able to post another update later today - maybe in the 1pm area (GMT).
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Re: OTʜᴇB's logographic adventure (Scratchpad)

Post by OTʜᴇB » Sat 03 Jun 2017, 12:12

Sorry masako for the delay. I'm not one to stay motivated to do one thing for very long at a time, but I've been doing a bit more work and have now finished all the logographs for my articles (and things that technically aren't articles but Dijo treats them as if they are).
Image
From left to right, we have:
Indefinite (not marked and so has no logograph)
Definite
Close deixis (this)
Far deixis (that)
Separate indefinite (another)
Separate definite (the other)
General (_ in general)
Universal (all)

Overall, I'm pleased with how they look. The only one I'm at all concerned about is the separate definite which looks a little off. I may do some more fiddling with it, but if other people think it looks good then I'll leave it be.

My intention is to finish all of the grammatical words before delving into the rest of the lexicon. This not only gives me a chance to expand my tiny lexicon a little in the meantime, but also to finish off the formatting for my translation dictionary.
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