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Omniglot - a guide to writing systems
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Shavian  Alphabet   Shavian

The Shavian alphabet is named after George Bernard Shaw and was devised by Kingsley Read. Shaw saw use of the Latin alphabet for writing English as a great waste of time, energy and paper, so in his will he stipulated that a competition should be held to create a new writing system for English and made provision for a prize of �500. The competition took place in 1958 and Kingsley Read's system was chosen as the winner out of the 467 entries.

Shaw's will also stipulated that his play Androcles and the Lion should be printed in the wining alphabet. Few other texts were printed and the alphabet, which became known as Shavian, was never seriously considered as an alternative for writing English.

Notable features

  • There are three types of letters - tall, deep and short. Tall letters are the equivalent of ascenders in the Latin alphabet (e.g. b, d, f, h), deep letters are the equivalent of descenders (e.g. p, g, j, y) and short letters are all the same height, like the letters a, c, e and i.

  • Consonant letters come in pairs, with the tall one representing an unvoiced consonant and the deep one representing a voiced consonant. The letters for l, r, m and n are the exceptions to this pattern.

  • Vowel letter are all, with only one exception, short. Some come in pairs, others don't

  • There are no capital letters, although a 'namer dot' is used to mark proper names.

The Shavian alphabet

Shavian alphabet

Free Shavian fonts

Futher information about the Shavian Alphabet

Other alternative writing systems:
Braille, Deseret, G�y?nz�, Mesa, Moon, Morse code, Nikhilipi, Quikscript/Read Alphabet, Shavian, Theban, Unifon, 12480

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