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.
- 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
The Shavian alphabet
Free Shavian fonts
Futher information about the Shavian Alphabet
Other alternative writing systems:
Braille, Deseret, Géy?nzì, Mesa, Moon, Morse code, Nikhilipi, Quikscript/Read
Alphabet, Shavian, Theban, Unifon, 12480