User:Cedh/Ndak logosyllabary

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To Be Continued...
Cedh is still working on this article. The contents are incomplete and likely to undergo changes.
Ndak logosyllabary
luk imai um luk lewai
"the symbols for the words"
Type logosyllabary
Languages Ndak Ta
Time period c. -2200 - -1000 YP
Parent systems Oryziform
 Ndak logosyllabary
Number of glyphs c. 75-150 syllabograms,
several hundred logograms
Direction top-to-bottom
Created by Cedh

The Ndak logosyllabary is the writing system used to write the Ndak Ta language, and the ancestor of most other writing systems in northeastern Peilaš. It was most frequently written on clay tablets using a stylus, whose marks had the characteristic Oryziform shape similar to rice grains (most known administrative documents of the Ndak Empire were written in this way). A second mode of the script was engraved into stone, mostly for representative purposes, for instance on the famous Tsinakan stele. In later centuries, a cursive variant was developed as well, which was written on papyrus scrolls using a reed pen (in Kasadgad) or on sheets of leather using a brush (in Lasomo); however, the oldest surviving texts in this cursive script date no earlier than the 13th century YP, shortly before the fall of the Ndak Empire, and the language they record already shows significant differences from the classical Ndak Ta of Tsinakan's time.

The Ndak script is a direct descendant of the Oryziform logography used by the Ngauro, with most logograms taken over without much of a change. It is highly likely that the Ngauro script already had a phonetic subsystem of some kind, but if so, it was not copied by the Ndak directly. Instead, they created a new subsystem of phonetic symbols based on the first syllable of the readings of common logograms in their own language. The result was a mixed system where most content words were written with one logogram (or occasionally two or three of them) representing both the semantic field and the first syllable(s) of the word, followed by additional syllabic glyphs representing the remaining syllables. Function words and proper names were usually spelled using only syllabograms, but a couple of common grammatical morphemes were instead represented by logograms.

The script was written from top to bottom, with columns arranged from left to right. The height of the individual columns varied with the height of the surface written on, from one or two words on a small clay tablet to several sentences on a large stele made from stone.


The phonetic portion of the Ndak script consisted primarily of CV syllable glyphs. The glyph inventory was partly defective though: In the time of Tsinakan, the syllabary did not distinguish consonant voicing (so that glyphs derived from words beginning with a voiceless plosive could be used for syllables with a voiced plosive or vice versa), nor did it distinguish /s/ from /ts/. It did, however, have separate glyphs for syllables with prenasalised onset consonants, as well as a number of V and VC glyphs. Syllables with labialised consonants were written with two glyphs (e.g. /kʷa/ <ku-a>); note the peculiarity that /bʷ/ was usually written as <ku> because the sound change /ɡʷ/ → /bʷ/ postdates the adoption of the script by one or two centuries. Most coda consonants were written with echo vowels (e.g. /kat/ <ka-ta>, not distinct from /kata/), and the fairly frequent word-final obstruent-nasal clusters /pm bm tn dn tsn kŋ gŋ/ were typically written with both an echo vowel and a nasalised null-onset vowel (e.g. /mabm/ <ma-pa-ã>, not distinct from /mapã/). The glyph inventory was also never standardized, so that some syllables could be represented by several different glyphs, sometimes even within the same text.

A purely syllabic transcription of the Tsinakan text

mpi si-pi si-na-ka-na, ŋu lu ti-a-ka pe-ra-as, ŋu lu ti-a-ka ã-ŋka lu la-as ũ-mu ka-sa-ta-ka-ta, ŋu lu me-er-ka-ta ã-ŋka to-ol õ-no ĩ-mpi:
Mbi tsip Tsinakan, ngu lu diaka peras, ngu lu diaka âk lu lats um Kasadgad, ngu lu merkat âk Tol on Imbi:

is-la ra-is i o-po lu os-pa-ka ã-ŋka lu me-ku-e ã-ŋki mpe-ne, is-la ĩ-mi as e-we-ke la-as sa-i, se-el-ko-no.
Isla raits i ob lu ospàk âk lu mebwe âki mpen, isla im as ewek lats sai, selkon.

mpi-ni si-pi lu-ku la-as sa-i ra-i ã-na lu-su wi-me-es ã-ŋki-is:
Mbin tsip luk lats sai rai an lus wimes âkis:

ã-na lu me-ku-e ã-ŋka-as nto-õ ti-a-ka pe-ra-as.
"An lu mebwe âkas ndong diaka peras."

so-mpi-is-na a õ-mpa-ka la-as sa-i.
"Sompìsna a ombak lats sai."

si-sa-u, ã-na ta a nto-õ na-ka; ta-al lu ma-al-to ra-i mpe wa-i-sa-u o-po lu os-pa-ka ã-ŋka me-ku-e ã-ŋka-as nto-õ te-mpi.
"Tsitsau, an ta a ndong naka; dal lu maldo rai mpe waitsau ob lu ospàk âk mebwe âkas ndong dempi."

so-la i, ŋu lu me-er-ka-ta ã-ŋka to-ol õ-no ĩ-mpi, o-po lu os-pa-ka ã-ŋka lu me-ku-e ã-ŋki mpe-ne, is-la ta no-na-na i is-la lu-mu la-as sa-i ra-i as se-el-ko-no is-la ĩ-mi, no-na-na i is-la lu-nti ku-a-i-ki-ti ã-ŋka õ-mpa-si.
Sola i, ngu lu merkat âk Tol on Imbi, ob lu ospàk âk lu mebwe âki mpen, isla ta nonan i isla lum lats sai rai as selkon isla im, nonan i isla lunti bwaikti âk Ombàsi.

ku-ẽ-ŋko-or-na i as õ-no sa-mpa-pa-ma-na i lu-ũ to-no ã-ŋki is-la lu-mu õ-mo e-pe-ta-ka.
Bwenggorna i as on sâpabman i lung ton âki isla lum omo eptàg.

mpi si-pi i:
Mbi tsip i:

ta-si ã-ŋki, ŋu lu to-ol ã-ŋka lu-ku ku-a-i!
"Dasi âki, ngu lu tol âk luk bwai!"

su-ur-to-or-na lu-ũ la-as na-i a-sa lu-ku wi-me-es na-i pa-pa-ũ-nu ĩ 'ã-ũ-mu te-mpi' ĩ.
"Tsurtorna lung lats nai as luk wimes nai papaun î 'aum dempi' î."

si-sa-u, pa-as-to-no ta ã-ŋka lu-ku ka-ka ã-ŋka lu la-as ta-u-ti-ni ã-ka-la-ĩ-ŋko, ta-si ã-ŋki!
"Tsitsau, paston ta âk luk kak âk lu lats dautin âklaingko, dasi âki!"

e-so-mpi-is lu-ũ mpu-ur-ni-mi!
"Esompìs lung mpurnim!"

ra-nto-no õ-mpa-si lu-us le-wa-i ã-ŋka lu ma-pa-ã ã-ŋki.
Ranton Ombàsi lus lewai âk lu mabm âki.

u-la-na a ĩ-mi õ-no si-mpi lu-ũ i-tu-ã-ma ã-ŋki lu-us pa-mpo-or.
Ulan a im on tsimpi lung itwam âki lus bambor.

ra-mpe ro-õ la-i-ti, so-mpi-is-na i si-is ra-i ma-ũ-ŋku ĩ.
Rambe rong laid, sompìsna i tsis rai mâuk î.

so-mpi-is-na i as.
Sompìsna i as.

e-su-ul-na i ã-ũ ŋa-ka-ti-is, pa-us, õ-no ka-i-pi-ra, õ-no pi-la-ĩ-ni i as is-la lu-mu la-as ã-ŋka ka-sa-ta-ka-ta.
Esulna i âu ngaktìs, baus, on gaibra, on pilain i as isla lum lats âk Kasadgad.