Fáralo alphabet

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Fáralo alphabet
lu-giəma æm Fáralo
lu-giəma æm Fáralo
Type alphabet
Languages Fáralo
Time period c. -500 - +500 YP
Parent systems Oryziform
 Ndak logosyllabary
  Fáralo alphabet
Number of glyphs 38
Direction left-to-right
Created by Dē Graut Bʉr

The Fáralo alphabet is an alphabet which was originally invented for writing the Fáralo language, but was soon adapted for various other languages as well.


Fáralo alphabet.jpg

The letterforms of the Fáralo alphabet are shown in the image to the right together with their usual transliterations. The orthography was largely phonemic, with a few exceptions:

  • The sequences /iə uə/ were usually written as single letters, though some scribes preferred to write them as digraphs instead.
  • Unstressed word-initial /ɛ/ was written as /ə/.
  • Stops and affricates were represented by two different letters each. Their distribution was as follows:
    • For voiceless stops, p1 t1 č1 k1 were used word-medially whereas p2 t2 č2 k2 were used word-initially.
    • For voiced stops, b2 d2 g2 were used to indicate /b d g/ deriving from the consonant mutation, and b1 d1 g1 were used elsewhere.
    • Since /tʃ/ didn't participate in the consonant mutation, the usage of j2 varied between scribes. Most used it for word-initial /dʒ/, while some others didn't use it at all.
  • /j/ was not distinguished from /i/.
  • Stress was not indicated.

Origins of the glyphs

The Fáralo alphabet descends from the Ndak logosyllabary, which in turn descends from the Oryziform script. The syllabary component of the Ndak script consisted primarily of CV glyphs and was slightly defective, as it did not distinguish voicing, nor did it distinguish /s/ from /ts/. It did however have separate glyphs for prenasalised stops and a number of non-CV glyphs, including a full set for nasal vowels.

As intervocalic stops were voiced during the development of Fáralo from Ndak Ta, the glyphs originally representing plain stops usually represented voiced stops in early Fáralo, whereas the prenasalised stops, not having undergone this sound change, could still be either voiceless or voiced. Therefore the glyphs representing prenasalised stops were chosen to represent voiceless stops and those representing plain stops were chosen for the voiced ones. Word-initially, however, the original voicing distinction was preserved, and a separate series of glyphs was taken from the original plain series to be used for word-initial voiceless stops alone. Mirrored variants of these came to be used to represent the consonant mutation.

As /s/ and /ts/ were not distinguished in the Ndak Ta script, while both sounds split into two phonemes in Fáralo, the original S-series was used for as many as four different consonant phonemes in early Fáralo: /s š z h/. Word-initial /š/, which only appeared in Faraghin loanwords, was written using the si glyph, which therefore became the sign for /š/ in the alphabet. The signs for /s/ and /h/ were randomly chosen from the other S-glyphs, and for /z/ a mirrored variant of /s/ was chosen.

The sign for /f/, another phoneme which word-initially only appears in Faraghin loanwords, descends from a logogram which originally meant "people" and was adopted for the word "Fáralo".

The full list of Fáralo letters and their origins is as follows:

Fáralo value Ndak Ta syllable Ndak Ta word Oryziform glyph
a a asa "woman" 9
n ne nenga "leaf" 67
ou oN omo "mother" 73
m ma mabm "mouth" 77
i i itwam "arm" 17
e e esul "take" 288
r ru rud "man" 16
p1 mpa mpaiswa "fish" 49
iN imbi "moon" 72
s so tsong "knee" 63
j1 ke kenla "teacher" 108
o o okwa "ear" 20
z Mirrored variant of s.
k1 ngko nggol "foot" 52
uN untai "to joke" 18
u u ulwo "rope" 92
w we wedn "herb" 60
g1 ko komwa "tongue" 2
ei eN empi "grass" 19
d1 to ton "hand" 1
č1 ngki ngkilba "plough" 198
p2 pa pap "shield" 97
b2 Mirrored variant of p2.
t2 ta daing "mountain" 75
d2 Mirrored variant of t2.
k2 ka gan "knife" 65
g2 Mirrored variant of k2.
h su susi "mouse" 76
f From a logogram representing the word "Fáralo".
b1 po pon "island" 62
l la lai "bird" 14
ŋ nga ngane "neck" 81
t1 nta ndai "tree" 112
č2 ki kil "barley" 31
j2 Mirrored variant of č2.
æ aN ande "stand" 282
š si tsilâu "tooth" 111
ə Variant of a.