Phonetic alphabets

So, as many of you already know, I spent a long time developing a phonetic alphabet while I was in college. I strove for it to be basically readable by anyone familiar with standard pronunciations of the roman alphabet, and succeeded admirably. My alphabet had 45 characters, many of them the same as their roman counterparts. As I was putting it together, the strangest thing (to me) was that I needed 7 different characters to handle how “R” sounds when it follows different vowels, and when it is doubled. I have only seen one other attempt at a phonetic alphabet before today, and it did not have this feature. In fact, it seemed pretty awful.

Today, I found out about Shavian. I have linked to the best resource I have found on the subject/alphabet. It includes fonts for PC & Mac in the alphabet. One of my favorite discoveries so far is that it also has 7 variations of “R” sounds. My least favorite thing about it is probably that it simply threw out the old letters, meaning that someone familiar with the Roman alphabet cannot decipher text in Shavian at all. Coming up close second are the five sounds that my alphabet represents that this one does not. They are rarely used, though so … I think I’ll think about picking up Shavian.

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