[lang] Flownetic: The Phonetic Script

Started by Den, 2012-Nov-12 21:56

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Den

Flownetic :  The Simple and Intuitive Phonetic Script

[flow]floUhnetIek[/flow]

Main article here



Background

Flownetic is a phonetic, featural alphabet. The philosophy is simple, intuitive, distinguishable, practical. The flow and structure of the symbols imitate the flow and structure of your mouth and tongue as you speak each sound. Unlike other phonetic writing systems, the letters are easily distinguishable from each other. This makes it easy and fun to read and write with these letters.

The problem with most other featural alphabets is that they focus on the similarities between classes of sounds and articulations, rather than the distinct features that make them different. Thus their characters all tend to look alike and cumbersome. Furthermore, vowels tend to get second-class treatment. Too often vowels are represented by nothing more tiny diacritics (or worse, missing altogether). Even in alphabets with true vowels, they usually contain no more than a handful; yet the IPA charts no less than 30 distinct vowels sounds. Even though, in linguistics, vowels are usually called the nucleus of a syllable or word, you couldn't tell from many writing systems of their importance to language. Vowels are just as interesting as consonants, if not more, and deserve more attention.

The Flownetic script addresses these shortcomings by representing only the prominent oral features and their motions for each sound. To remain simple to read and practical to write, letters consist of mainly simple lines, curves, and dots. These elements form intuitive graphemes (letters) by following these rough guidelines. Straight lines represent unrounded vowels, the throat, jaw, teeth, and closed lips. Curves represent rounded vowels and placement and curling of the tongue. The dots are neutral or breathy sounds, or modify common vowels. Moreover, much emphasis is put on the vowels and their distinctive feel as they are released from the vocal organs. Note, however, that I'm fluent only in English and Cantonese, and some Mandarin, so I'm more familiar with the vowel sounds used in those languages, and thus could only approximate the flow of the other vowels found in IPA but not in those three languages. Nevertheless, I will try to find suitable symbols for them.
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Den

#1
Phonetic Chart

VOWELS
[table border=1]
SymbolSoundSymbolSoundSymbolSoundSymbolSoundSymbolSoundSymbolSound
/u//?//?//?//y//i/
/?//??//??//?//?/
/o//?//?//?//ø//e/
/o?//??//?//ø?//e?/
/?//?//?//?//œ//?/
/?//æ/
/?//?//ä//?//a/

CONSONANTS
[table border=1]
SymbolSoundSymbolSoundSymbolSoundSymbolSoundSymbolSoundSymbolSound
/w//l//?//j/
/h//?//??//n//?//m/
/x//k//r//t//f//p/
/?//k?//?//t?//v//p?/
/?//g//?//d//?//b/
/??//?//d?//ð//b?/
/?//??//?/
/?//??/
/?//?//?//s/
/?//?//?//z/
/t??//???//t??//??s/
/t???//????//t???//t?s?/
/d??//d??//d??//d?z/
/d???//d???//d???//d?z?/

BBC Code:
You can use BBC code inside this forum to type in Flownetic by using the "flow" tag, which has the symbol in the editor toolbar, or by typing the tags, like so:
[flow]text using flownetic code described below[/flow]Flownetic code is either one or two Latin letters. You can tell if it's one or two letters by the name of the image file in the chart. In Opera, right-click on the image to find the name (e.g. "f.png" or "fh.png"). Generally, common sounds take up one letter, and the rest two letters. One-letter image filenames must be typed alone in lowercase, while two-letter filenames must be in camelcase where the first letter is in uppercase and the second letter in lowercase.
Example:
"Flownetic is awesome"
[flow]floUhnetIek Ies OrsEhm[/flow]
is typed using this code:
[flow]floUhnetIek Ies OrsEhm[/flow]
Language Converter
Try this Language converter to create an image of your sentences written in Flownetic. Use the same Flownetic code as above.
The following is a single image using the language converter to write text in Flownetic script:
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Den

#2
Examples

Han Seung Yeon
[flow]han sIuNg jAun[/flow]
Selina Ren
[flow]selina RlEhn[/flow]
Tse On kei
[flow]cEa Orn kei[/flow]
Lee Hyori
[flow]ji hjoRri[/flow]
Scarlet Johansson
[flow]sgarlEat XroUhhAensEhn[/flow]
Alicia Silverstone
[flow]alIeSrja sIelFfErsdon[/flow]

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 1): All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

[flow]Orl hjumEhn BbiIeNgz ar BbOrrn fri AenDd ikwEhl Ien DdIeGgnIeti AenDd rAhits.
vei ar EanDdauDd wIev rizEhn AenDd kanSrEhns AenDd SrUhDd Aegt tOrrDdz wAhn EhnAhVvEr Ien Eh sbIerIet EhFf BbrAhVvErhUhDd.[/flow]
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Den

#3
More Examples

Cantonese

??? - ????

?????[flow]sUey kAhb NgOr jyn mei[/flow]
??????[flow]hOr joNg mei joNg qid bei[/flow]
?????[flow]jAhn jErg Ori ci gei[/flow]
????????[flow]hOr joNg gai wai nei mei hOrn hei[/flow]
????[flow]beNg bAhd ci bei[/flow]
????????[flow]sUey hei hOrn lai gwOr deg lim pei[/flow]
????[flow]NgOr ci sUen dei[/flow]
?????[flow]kUey cyd kyd hAhm mei[/flow]
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Den

#4
More Examples

Mandarin

??? - ???

??????????[flow]dAa fUhNg Qjwei jAa jEuUh mei jEuUh cwOr wei[/flow]
?????????[flow]wOr CjAan lEh bAan tjEan ji CriNg HrAoUh lei[/flow]
??????????[flow]dAa fUhNg Qjwei jAa CrEh cIu lwIon dAoUh Sjei[/flow]
?????????[flow]jEan CriNg bei Qjwei tUhNg lIhUh SrjAa lEh lei[/flow]
??????????[flow]ni ai Sjei CjEh kUhNg Qju dEh cwOr wei[/flow]
?????????[flow]wOr QrjAoNg dAoUh cwOr SrjAa CrJyEa dEh bu dwei[/flow]
??????????[flow]wu swOr wei ni SjwOr Srei jAoUh SjIy lei[/flow]
?????????[flow]CjEh bwOr ai cwOr wei CrIhUh RlAoNg gei Sjei[/flow]
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Den

#5
NUMBERS

SymbolValueSymbolValueSymbolValue
0810^0
1910^1
21010^2
31110^3
41210^4
51310^6
61410^9
71510^12


Examples

U.S. Marine Corps Birthday: 11/10/1775
[flow]11/10/1775[/flow]

U.S. National Debt as of 5/31/2015: $18,156,866,652,479.09
[flow]$18^^4156^9866^6652^3479.09[/flow]

Color in hexadecimal: Laurel green #a9ba9d
[flow]#@09@1@09@3[/flow]

Color in hexadecimal: Ivory #fffff0
[flow]#@5@5@5@5@50[/flow]
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Den

#6
tone can be signified with IPA tone letters for now. it matches the concept for Flownetics quite well. however, perhaps tone letters should be (super)subscripted, appearing smaller than phonetic letters.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_letter

Register (level) tone
? ? ? ? ?

Contour tone
?? ?? ?? ??
?? ?? ?? ???
??? ??? ???

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Den

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Den

#8
Re: flownetic

Vowels, like consonants, also have their own features and categories. It's a travesty that very few understand that, let alone consider this when designing their writing systems.

First, there are rounded and unrounded vowels. Rounded means the lips pucker up. In Flownetic some vowels are only straight lines (unrounded), while others have some type of curve (rounded). For the most part, the table of vowels follows the IPA chart of where each vowel sound is placed. Vowels are further divided by other features. Back sounds on the left, front sounds on the right. Close vowels at top, open vowels at bottom.

The shapes of the common vowel sounds (in my familiar languages, namely English, Cantonese, and Mandarin) is how I envision them is my mind. For instance /i/, is a consistent, flat sound that shoots straight out of one's mouth. The flatness also resembles a closed mouth.

Consonants are organized similarly on the table. Pharyngeal and glottal sounds on the left, palatal and alveolar in middle, then dental and labial to the right. A vertical line in a letter can be the throat, lips, or palate. A curvy line shows tongue placement or movement, or sibilant sounds.

For example, for /k/ sound. If the speaker is facing right, then the throat is on the left. Hence the vertical line is placed at the left of the letter. Pronouncing /k/ involves curling the tongue towards the throat. Hence a curvy line protrudes from the vertical line.

A mirror of that is for /t/ sound. If the speaker is facing right, then the teeth are on the right. Hence the vertical line is placed at the right of the letter. Pronouncing /t/ involves the tongue touching the teeth. Hence a curvy line touching the vertical line.

Other main features of consonants are voiced/voiceless and aspirated/unaspirated. The base consonant is voiceless and unaspirated. In Flownetic, voiced consonants have something repeated from the base consonant. For example, /v/ is a voiced /f/. So the slash part of is repeated, becoming double slashes, like so: .

Likewise, aspirated consonants have something added to the base consonant. So a /k/ to /k?/ , removes vertical line and adds the two dots from /h/ . This is important to languages like Cantonese and Mandarin, where /k/ and /k?/ are distinct sounds.

The sibilant sounds, such as /s/ and /z/, are shaped like sine waves. This was the most challenging consonants, since there are so many sibilant sounds used across different languages that I wanted to cover. The current version has the /s/ and /z/ vertical like the Latin letters of the same sounds. Then there are extra letters with additional curves above the main symbol, to denote different areas the tongue touches. The more complex sibilant sounds become horizontal sine waves. These sibilant sounds are actually compound consonants. In IPA these are preceded with /t/ or /d/. However, I needed simplify them because they are quite common in some languages. Mandarin has 9 sibilant sounds (in Pinyin, they are s, sh, c, ch, z, zh, x, q, j).

Many phonetic alphabets suffer from what some call Tengwaritis. At first glance, it's very hard to distinguish letters because they all look so similar. That was the light bulb moment that led me to create a fresh phonetic script that steers clear of having every letter look almost identical, while still retaining featural clues based on real human anatomy. Not unlike Hangeul, which was another major influence. However, Hangeul suffers another problem, is that most people around the world aren't used to rules of putting letters in certain areas of a box. I prefer the simplest rule: place the next letter to the right.

Thus, the name of Flownetic embodies many different meanings. Flow (1) is the flow of each letter somehow resembles the position and gestures of your tongue, lips, and mouth (when viewed as if mouth is facing to the right.) Flow (2) is the flow of the words and sentence structure. Each letter follows another, flowing like water. This is the case of most writing systems, including English, French, other European systems, Japanese, etc. Flow (3) is the ease of writing it using pen and paper. Using simple lines, simple curves, and simple shapes. As counter-examples, Greek and Cyrillic have complicated, convoluted shapes. Flow (4) is the ease of reading it and learning it. Partly because of simplicity, partly because of distinction between letters (i.e. free from Tengwaritis.)
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Den

#9
Aspirated letters (kh, th, ph)



/kh/ 
/th/ 
/ph/ 
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#10
FlowDozeClock

Dozenal Clock using Flownetic Digits. The day is divided into units of powers of dozen or 12.
1st place is equivalent to two hours (sheek).
2nd place is equivalent to ten minutes (karaf).
3rd place is equivalent to fifty seconds (fenet).
4th place is equivalent to 4 and 1/12 seconds (tick).
5th place is equivalent to 0.3472~ seconds (count).

[object] https://ieants.cc/html5/clock/flowdozeclock.htm [/object]
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iandoug



iandoug

Clock displays overlarge in Firefox, better in Konqueror.

Is there punctuation for Flownetic?

Thanks, Ian

iandoug

Quote from: Den on 2012-Nov-12 22:30

Language Converter
Try this Language converter to create an image of your sentences written in Flownetic. Use the same Flownetic code as above.
The following is a single image using the language converter to write text in Flownetic script:

Language convertor seems to produce same results regardless of input... same image as you posted.

Was trying to check up on image for 13, in your main Flownetic page is kinda like a backward P like the /p/ in Monofon, but glyph I have is basically a 3. Did you change it?

Den

Quote from: iandoug on 2016-Dec-17 09:59
Language convertor seems to produce same results regardless of input... same image as you posted.

Was trying to check up on image for 13, in your main Flownetic page is kinda like a backward P like the /p/ in Monofon, but glyph I have is basically a 3. Did you change it?

converter image has a static URL, but content will update when new text is entered.

decimal 13 should look like our 3.
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iandoug

Quote from: Den on 2016-Dec-19 13:11
decimal 13 should look like our 3.

Yeah, comparing to https://ieants.cc/code/liyahu/flownetic.php

There are slightly different versions floating around :-)

Have about 20 more to do. Quality varies, also fixed-pitch font rather than variable. The curvy ones are problematic, don't really grok editing splines, but starting to get the hang of it. Sometimes I just leave it as the autotrace does it, some NEED to be edited. Am also not sure how pointy your ideal shapes are ... I could literally follow the blocks but it looks better with some curve. Anyway it's a starting point for improvement.

Progress shot attached.

iandoug

Also not sure if all the "dots" which are five-block crosses are supposed to be round dots or stay as they are ... am leaving them in that shape, they look like dots at small resolution. Trying to draw circles will probably drive me insane at this point :-)

Den

#18
Finally created a font file for Flownetic, which I really wanted to showcase in my game.

Using lower and upper case English letters for distinct sounds gives 52 unique sounds. At least 16 letters for distinct vowels. This is much improvement over most alphabets. Unfortunately that only covers 2/3 of the glyphs which I've created for Flownetic so far. Nevertheless, that is good enough for my game for transliteration of English text.

To do: bold font type
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iandoug

Quote from: Den on 2017-Jul-07 14:55
Finally created a font file for Flownetic, which I really wanted to showcase in my game.

Using lower and upper case English letters for distinct sounds gives 52 unique sounds. At least 16 letters for distinct vowels. This is much improvement over most alphabets. Unfortunately that only covers 2/3 of the glyphs which I've created for Flownetic so far. Nevertheless, that is good enough for my game for transliteration of English text.

Yeah sorry about the delay ... one thing led to another and I've spent more than the last month deep-diving into fonts and in particular font classification. Also got a bit involved with the Hack guys and the whole issue of confusing characters in programming fonts.
https://github.com/chrissimpkins/Hack/issues/200

So haven't played with keyboard optimizing for a while either ... still wanted to look at your v3 KLA because I think you are double-penalizing the thumb/modifiers.

I could let you have the fontfile I was working on... if you can consider it v0.1 or a starting point for improvement. I'm not an artist :-)

iandoug

Quote from: iandoug on 2017-Jul-07 15:08
I could let you have the fontfile I was working on... if you can consider it v0.1 or a starting point for improvement. I'm not an artist :-)

Starts at U+E900 in private use area.
Work in progress :-)

Den

#21
93 ASCII visible characters are used to represent all 83 Flownetic letters and 10 digits. This includes all ASCII letters, numerals, and punctuations except period and space.
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iandoug

Quote from: Den on 2017-Aug-05 22:38
Entire ASCII non-printing, non-numeric characters are used to represent all 83 Flownetic letters. This includes all punctuations except period and space.

Cool, thanks. But find your range description a bit confusing ... if I open the font in FontForge, you have put the glyphs at U+0021 to U+007E (dec 33 to 126), which is basic lower ASCII including digits and punctuation.

Den

Quote from: iandoug on 2017-Aug-06 01:22
Cool, thanks. But find your range description a bit confusing ... if I open the font in FontForge, you have put the glyphs at U+0021 to U+007E (dec 33 to 126), which is basic lower ASCII including digits and punctuation.

I really mean to say non-non-printing characters, i.e. visible characters, starting with space.
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iandoug

Quote from: Den on 2017-Aug-06 11:27
I really mean to say non-non-printing characters, i.e. visible characters, starting with space.

MMm. So you don't mean to say the non-non-invisible characters. Okay, glad we got that sorted.

The question now is, what is punctuation? (since things like periods and commas are replaced with characters...)

Though it looks like you've created a period by dropping /?/ to baseline.

?

thanks, Ian

iandoug

Um, I think you have /d??/ twice and missing /d??/

Is /d??/ and /d??/ and similar with /t???/ and friends used in Asian? Am only really familiar with /d??/.

When I copied your glyphs to different addresses in my font with all the custom glyphs,  they got shifted vertically up. Not sure why, may be FontForge bug.

iandoug

Um, looking for /??/ ... I see you have /?/ and /a/   (mmm last one did not copy correctly. Looks almost identical to previous).

Is one of those supposed to be /??/ ?

Where I'm at so far... let me know if anything is scrambled, had some issues getting all to display properly. Downloads about 2MB worth of fonts.

http://www.keyboard-design.com/pangalactic.html

Latian == Latin mod Ian. My WIP in using existing Latin/Greek to replace IPA, based on the assumption that the letters are somewhat familiar.

iandoug

Is /ä/ == /??/ (and same with /??/ ?

Den

Quote from: iandoug on 2017-Aug-09 12:54
Is /ä/ == /??/ (and same with /??/ ?

IPA identifies them as distinct, so does Flownetic. Latter doesn't recognize /?/.

The period/full stop remains in use and unchanged. Other punctuation can be thought of as non-existent when typing in Flownetic. If necessary, use similar symbols from other fonts in Unicode at higher locations.

Quote
Um, I think you have /d??/ twice and missing /d??/

fixed. see new attachment.

Quote
Is /d??/ and /d??/ and similar with /t???/ and friends used in Asian? Am only really familiar with /d??/.
/d??/ is voiced--extra vibration. Compare S and Z.
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Den

#29
Added Flownetic to these forum's font option drop-down.
[font=flownetic] [/font]

floUnEdIg Is v' ku'lEst r"itIN sisdEm EF@
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iandoug

There's a font option dropdown?

NOW you tell me... :-)

My goodness, even a fixed pitch one... :-)


Den

#31
Reconsider frequency of certain sounds in languages, to facilitate typing. Especially the common 'th' /?/ in English.

Its related sounds and symbols in Flownetic:

/?/ /f/ /ð/ /v/

Put /?/ on lower case v.
/v/ as shift-F.
/ð/ as shift-V.
/f/ stays lower case f.

Here, unshifted keys type unvoiced phonemes and shifted keys type voiced phonemes.

f F v V
f F v V

Ex.
'the' = v'
[font=flownetic]v'[/font]
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Den

#32
I may remodel the romanization to be more in line with Latin/English roots.

IPA can be very confusing in their choice of glyph for certain consonants, particularly for base/aspirated/voiced. Especially since the foundation are Latin/Greek, but the switching is counterintuitive for languages that use Latin alphabets.

For instance, we read 'p' in English spelling as aspirated, but IPA's /p/ is not aspirated; their aspirated form /p?/. IPA denotes 'b' as voiced; but in practice, most people can't tell the difference from unvoiced. This juxtaposition is very confusing to speakers of Romantic languages. Furthermore, major Asian languages don't have the voiced version, but do have the unvoiced, and so the romanization for them is 'b', which is justified. If they followed IPA, those languages would be using 'p' and 'ph', with 'b' unused and omitted.

So really the base form of this group should be 'b' instead of 'p'. Likewise for other phonic groups t/d and k/g. It makes even more sense with k/g, considering that 'ng' is the gloabally accepted transliteration of the nasal sound, not 'nk'.

So the new romanization for Flownetic:

[[Flownetic]] [[Romanized]] [[IPA]]
= [flow]b[/flow] = b = /p/
= [flow]Bb[/flow] = Bb = /b/
= [flow]p[/flow] = p = /pʰ/
= [flow]d[/flow] = d = /t/
= [flow]Dd[/flow] = Dd = /d/
= [flow]t[/flow] = t = /tʰ/
= [flow]g[/flow] = g = /k/
= [flow]Gg[/flow] = Gg = /g/
= [flow]k[/flow] = k = /kʰ/
= [flow]f[/flow] = f = /f/
= [flow]Ff[/flow] = Ff = /v/
= [flow]v[/flow] = v = /þ/
= [flow]Vv[/flow] = Vv = /ð/


Examples:

EnglishNewOld
 put  pUhd  PhUht
 the  vEh  FhEh

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iandoug

is left column supposed to be empty as this stage?

Den

Quote from: iandoug on 2018-Feb-01 22:53
is left column supposed to be empty as this stage?

I wrote the opinion before making the changes.

The images and scripts on the site are done. The font file will be done soon.
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Den

#35
Just found out about synesthesia and ideasthesia. Which immediately connected me with the original vision for Flownetic script--perhaps this is a phoneme-grapheme ideasthesia, if there is such a thing. That is, when I utter a phoneme, I would visualize the form of the grapheme or letter to represent that sound, in the simplest way possible, yet related to the phoneme's audio quality, tone, and oral expression. Especially when it comes to vowels. Unlike consonants, which have obvious connections with various parts of the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat. Vowels are more abstract and fluid, so their graphemes would also have to be visualized differently than for consonants.
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Den

So Sanskrit is also phonetic. Flownetic is missing a few sounds found in Sanskrit, which is easy to create in Flownetic given its consistent structure. Regardless, how would Sanskrit look like written in Flownetic script?
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