Earlier this year–maybe around February or March–I got bored in one of my linguistics classes. It was a class where I knew the material well enough, so I started to allow my mind to wander. I was writing a short piece of fiction–something I might eventually share here–and was struggling to come up with a culture. I wanted to create something unique, but believable. I wanted to make the names of my characters fit together.

I don’t remember when I decided to actually start writing out an alphabet. I think I just started clustering sounds that sounded good together. Pretty soon, I had a list of around 20 consonant sounds and maybe 11 vowel sounds. I had a good understanding of the phonetic alphabet, so I wrote the original words using IPA symbols to string together syllables.

But those weren’t enough. I had written some of the words (names, mostly) using the English alphabet (Utherdemos, Hallendell, etc) but I wanted to make it my own. So I started drafting up my own characters. I had no idea where to start. The first symbols I used didn’t fit together–they looked out of place next to each other, like a simply cipher you learn as a child where the letters are replaced by shapes. They didn’t look natural. And I wanted them to look natural.

For the next four months, I went through several iterations of an alphabet–several times completely scrapping my previous idea just to come back to it a week or two later. Finally, in August of 2023, I had my alphabet (though I haven’t settled on it 100% yet).


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