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Algilez Alphabet & Font

Contents on this page

1    Introduction The reason for the Algilez alphabet and how it is used.
2    Downloading the Algilez Alphabet Font In order to see the Algilez Alphabet, it is first necessary to download the Algilez Alphabet Font
3    The Algilez Alphabet This section gives a full explanation of the alphabet, including numbers, mathematical and punctuation symbols.
4    Changing keyboards to type ã & ø ã Instructions for changing the keyboard to more easily type the ã (ã) & ø (ø) characters used in Algilez
5    Writing and Printing Algilez Handwritten characters
6    Upper & Lower Case, Punctuation Same as English
7    Additional Algilez symbols Mathematical & punctuation symbols
8    International Phonetic Alphabet The Algilez Font has sufficient spare capacity to include all of the IPA in a single unified font.
9    Development of the Algilez Alphabet Background information on the development of the alphabet and the potential for future development
10  What's wrong with the Latin Alphabet? Some notes on the reasons for the development of the Algilez Alphabet.

1    Introduction

1       Why a new alphabet?

Alphabets are intended to enable a language to be written.  However, languages evolve and change.  Spellings and pronunciations vary over time and regional accents may differ.  Some languages have adopted existing alphabets from other languages and modified letters to suit their own pronunciation.  In addition, some characters in the alphabet may not be clear when handwritten or at very small font sizes.

 

The result of all this is that letters and words written using existing alphabets will be pronounced in different ways, even by speakers of the same language as well as by different language speakers. There may be some confusion over what a word is, or how it is pronounced. The learning of a new language can be hindered by requiring learners to remember different sounds to the alphabet letters that they already use in their native languages.

 

Algilez is a new language and it makes sense to provide a new alphabet, so that the written form is clear and unambiguous. All of the phonemes (sounds) of Algilez are already found in English. However the Latin alphabet letters used for English are not all of common international use. The Algilez alphabet therefore uses a combination of standard Latin characters, some modified Latin characters and some new characters.

2    Downloading the Algilez Alphabet Font

2.1       Downloading the font

In order to see text using Algilez Alphabet characters, it is necessary to download the Algilez Font:-

AlgilezA True Type Font ã

Use the right mouse button (not the left) and 'Save Target as ...' (MS Internet Explorer) or 'Save Link as ...' (Firefox). This will enable you to copy the file onto your computer prior to installing.  (Clicking with the left button only gives a preview of the font and does not enable you to download and install it).

Save the font file into any convenient folder on your computer.

2.2       Installing the font

Windows 7:-

Right click on the font file and select ‘Install’.

Earlier versions of Windows:-

'My Computer > Control Panel (Classic View)> Fonts

Right click on the Font folder and click on ‘Install New Font'.

Open the folder containing the Algilez font file, select it and it will appear in the box.

2.3       Kerning

In order to give the best appearance to the font, it is necessary to make sure that kerning (automatic letter spacing) is turned on. This can be done for each style type by:

Windows 7, Microsoft Word 2007:-

‘Home’ tab, click on the little arrow to the right of ‘Font’, select Algilez, select ‘Character Spacing and tick the checkbox next to Kerning. Select for 8 pts and above.

Earlier versions of Windows and Word:-

1. Format>Style>Modify>

(For Word 2003 go direct to 2)

2. Format>Font>Character Spacing>Kerning for fonts (check)>OK>OK>Apply'

3    The Algilez Alphabet

3.1       General information

The alphabet is composed of a mixture of normal Latin alphabet symbols, modified Latin symbols and new symbols. The majority of the symbols (letters, numbers and punctuation symbols etc) are those in common international use. A few have been slightly modified (but are still recognisable and similar to Latin symbols) in order to avoid confusion for different language speakers or to aid clarity when hand writing.

3.2       Numbers

Sound files for both Apple Quick Time Player (QTP) and for Windows Media Player (WMP) are included. These enable you to hear the pronunciation of the Algilez characters.

Algilez character 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Latin character 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Name za an du tri før fav sis sev ok nin

Here are the Algilez numbers on a sound file:- Apple QTP     Microsoft WMP

3.3       The Algilez alphabet

ã ø a b c d e f g h i j k l
ã ø a b c d e f g h i j k l
ah o(r) uh be che de eh fe ge he ee je ke le

m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
me ne o pe the re se te oo ve we she ye ze

Here is the whole Algilez alphabet on a sound file:- Apple QTP     Microsoft WMP

 

Use the right mouse button (not the left) and 'Save Target as ...' (MS Internet Explorer) or 'Save Link as ...' (Firefox). This will enable you to copy the file onto your computer prior to installing.  (Clicking with the left button only gives a preview of the font and does not enable you to download and install it).

 

Algilez Letter Upper Case Symbol Name IPA symbol Latin lower case Latin upper case
ã Ã 'ah' (car, father)
QTP     WMP
ɑː Control a (=ã) Control Shift a (=Ã)
ø Ø 'o(r)' (fort, saw)
QTP     WMP
ɔː Control o (=ø) Control Shift o (=Ø)
a A 'uh' (cut, buck)
QTP     WMP
Ʌ a A
b B 'beh' (bed, tab)
QTP     WMP
b b B
c C 'che' (check, church)
QTP     WMP
ʧ c C
d D 'deh' (den, dead)
QTP     WMP
d d D
e E 'eh' (bet, deaf)
QTP     WMP
ɛ e E
f F 'fe' (fen, deaf)
QTP     WMP
f f F
g G 'ge' (get, Algilez)
QTP     WMP
g G
h H 'heh' (hem, hot)
QTP     WMP
h h H
i I 'ee' (beat, heap)
QTP     WMP
i I
j J 'je' (jet,  judge)
QTP     WMP
ʤ j J
k K 'ke' (kettle, kick)
QTP     WMP
k k K
l L 'le' (let, lull)
QTP     WMP
l l L
m M 'me' (met, mum)
QTP     WMP
m m M
n N 'ne' (net, earn)
QTP     WMP
n n N
o O 'o' (hot, lost)
QTP     WMP
ɒ o O
p P 'pe' (pet, skip)
QTP     WMP
p p P
q Q 'the' (thesaurus, beth)
QTP     WMP
θ q Q
r R 're' (red, ore)
QTP     WMP
ɹ r R
s S 'se' (set, hiss)
QTP     WMP
s s S
t T 'te' (ten, hot)
QTP     WMP
t t T
u U 'oo' (chute, ooze)
QTP     WMP
u u U
v V 've' (vet, cave)
QTP     WMP
v v V
w W 'we' (wet, awake)
QTP     WMP
w w W
X 'sheh' (shed, wish)
QTP     WMP
ʃ x X
y Y 'ye' (yet, yonder)
QTP     WMP
j y Y
z Z 'ze' (zebra, wizard)
QTP     WMP
z z Z

 

Note the difference for the Latin alphabet letter ‘a/A’.  It is pronounced like the short ‘u’ in cut and buck.

 

3.4       New alphabet letters and new sounds

Three Latin alphabet letters are changed. 'c' is replaced by ‘c', pronounced 'ch' (as in cheese, IPA symbol ʧ), 'q' is replaced by ‘q', pronounced 'the' (as in thesaurus, same IPA symbol) and 'x' is replaced by ‘x', pronounced 'she' (as in shed, same IPA symbol). When the Algilez Alphabet Font is installed, the c, q and x keys on your keyboard will produce the new characters.

 

Two new vowels are added to the Latin alphabet.  The first vowel is 'ã’ a(r), (pronounced as in far, father) IPA symbol ɑː.  The second is 'ø’ o(r) (pronounced as in fort, saw, IPA symbol ɔː). The Algilez Alphabet Font will convert ã, Ã,and ø, Ø into those new characters.

 

A quick way of producing ã, Ã, ø, Ø is to modify your keyboard using the instructions in Section 4 below.  Once the Algilez font is installed, the 'ã’ is produced by Control + ‘a’ (which produces ã in conventional fonts).  Upper case produced in the usual way using Shift, Control, ‘a’, giving Ã.  The 'ø’ character is produced using Control + ‘o’ (which produces ø in conventional fonts).  Upper case produced in the usual way using Shift, Control, ‘o’, giving Ø.

4     Changing keyboards to type ã and ø characters

If you wish, you can continue to use conventional Latin alphabet fonts.  However you will still need to mentally adjust to the new pronunciations of all of the existing English language vowels and the new sounds for ‘c’, ‘q’ and ‘x’. I believe that the new alphabet font will help make this adjustment much easier.

 

The two new vowels can be indicated instead by ã and ø. For people using Microsoft Word, the English Language keyboard layout can be quickly modified to produce these two new characters more easily (i.e. with just two keys instead of 3 or 4). This only takes a few seconds and should not affect your normal use of the keyboard.

Go to this link to see the instructions:- Changing keyboards to type ã and ø characters

5     Printing and writing Algilez

The Algilez Alphabet Font has been designed to work down to an 8 pt font size on a computer screen.  This should be small enough for most use.  (Microsoft Word only goes down to 8 pt.  Below 8 pt the font becomes barely legible anyway).

 

When hand writing, the new symbols (ã, ø, a, i, c, q, x ) may require a little practice until your normal hand writing speed can be attained.

 

A number of other characters have been slightly modified to avoid writing overlaps, ambiguity between characters or to emphasise that the pronunciation will differ from native languages, but they should still be recognisable as standard Latin characters:-

g j l o u v w y 1 7 9
g j l o u v w y 1 7 9

 

All other characters are the same as in the standard Latin alphabet and which should be in common international use.

6     Upper & Lower Case, Punctuation

In Algilez there are no different upper or lower case letters.  Initial letters of sentences, proper names and initials (such as UN etc) are just bolder, larger versions of the lower case letters.  The only exception might be the lower case ‘s’ which is sometimes written as ‘¸'.

Algilez:-                      Algilez

John Smith:-                John Smiq

AG, UN                      AG, UN

 

Punctuation follows the normal convention for English:-

1. Initial capital letters at the beginning of a sentence, names, initials etc.

2. Full stops (periods) at the end of a sentence, followed by two space gap.

3. Comma at the end of a phrase followed by a one space gap.

4. Comma after millions, thousands etc.

5. One space gap between words and number parts etc.

7  Additional Algilez Symbols

These follow the normal convention for English language symbols. Standard alternatives are provided for the multiply and divide signs (x & ÷) which are not normally found on computer keyboards

Mathematical Symbols

×, *

om, omez

Symbol for multiply (times x or *).

÷, /

at, atez

Symbol for divide (divided by, ÷ or  /).

-

lu, luez

Symbol for subtract (minus -).

+

wu, wuez

Symbol for addition (plus +).

=

ek, ekez

Symbol for equals (=)

 

Grammatical & Punctuation Symbols

(

lefus

Symbol for left bracket

)

retus

Symbol for right bracket

"

pous

Symbol for quoted speech mark

pogã

Symbol for beginning of quoted speech mark

pofin

Symbol for end of quoted speech mark

.

frasfin

Symbol for end of sentence mark (full stop/period)

,

fraslãl

Symbol for pause, comma

8     International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

IPA characters are a peculiar set of modified Latin and other characters e.g.:- ŋ, ɲ, ɳ, ʤ, ɘ, ʧ

Although the symbols often appear in dictionaries, they are little known outside linguistics or language teaching.  However they are the only simple way of expressing the majority of sounds used in different languages.  The three Phonetic Alphabet ‘n’ symbols used above, are obvious variations on the letter ‘n’.

However, things become much more difficult with characters such as ʤ, ɘ & especially ʧ.  Here the relationship to normal Latin alphabet letters is less clear and no-one apart from a language expert will know what sounds the symbols represent.

 

There are opportunities to provide a special set of Algilez alphabet letters in order to form symbols that include all of the sounds expressed by the International Phonetic Alphabet.  Whenever a different phoneme (sound) needs to be expressed, the nearest sounding Algilez character can be modified.  The modification can be in the form of an extension to the character (in order to match the IPA symbol) or a small circle added to different positions around the outside of an Algilez alphabet character.  This would be quite distinctive, easily included in fonts and easily written by hand.  Up to 8 positions would be possible without clashes or confusion, enabling a wide variety of symbols (and hence sounds) to be expressed.  This would give the additional advantage of allowing those who are unfamiliar with the IPA to quickly see the similarity between an new, unfamiliar phonetic symbol and the nearest Algilez character.  (IPA diacritic marks, which may be needed by linguists, can be provided in the normal way).

For example, the Algilez character for 'n' is n.  The nasal 'ng', which is shown by the IPA character ŋ, can be produced in the Algilez alphabet as  ŋ.  Other similar 'n' sounds, such as ɳ and ɲ  can be shown by similar characters e.g. ɳ and ɲ.

 

The Algilez character ‘i’ is one version of the Latin alphabet character ‘i’, (which has several different pronunciations in English, hence the new symbol).  This can be modified with the small circle as mentioned above, so that IPA character ‘ɪ’ becomes ‘ɪ’.  This pronunciation is not used in Algilez but may be required when writing foreign language names etc.  The same principle applies to all other variations of characters.  The font modification used is the circular degree symbol, which has been added to each of the 1/8th positions around the normal Algilez symbol.  The degree circle was chosen as it would be quick to add when writing by hand and would also be easily recognised.  In other cases, the curved tail, as in ŋ above could be used.

 

Another example is the word for China Zhōngguó.  This attempt at phonetical spelling using the Latin alphabet is not very helpful and few people would achieve the correct pronunciation by using it.  Algilez uses the native pronunciations for countries and place names.  The Algilez word for China is therefore Joŋgoa.  The pronunciation of the ‘ŋ’ character might be difficult for those who don’t know what the character is. However, it is clearly a variation of the ‘n’ character and if pronounced as that character, the pronunciation would not be very far out.  This means that readers would be able to make a reasonable attempt at pronunciation of foreign language words based on their knowledge of Algilez pronunciation.  The correct pronunciation for the new characters (ŋ) would hopefully not be hard to learn.

There are several implications for this.  It could mean that any language presently using the Latin alphabet could be written using a particular subset of the full, international Algilez alphabet (i.e. one incorporating all of the sounds in the International Phonetic Alphabet).  This would avoid the confusing idiosyncrasies presently found in many languages due to pronunciations of words being quite different to their spellings (particularly in languages such as English and French). It could make the learning of other second languages much easier since students would see the Algilez phonetic symbol and be able to see the similarity to other Algilez characters which would be a guide to the correct pronunciation should be.

 

However we have to bear in mind that word recognition may depend as much on spelling (no matter how idiosyncratic) and that national culture may require the retention of what might not be totally logical spelling systems!  It would obviously be counter-productive if an aid to learning then had to be ‘unlearnt’.

 

For a complete set of the IPA and the Algilez Alphabet equivalents please go to Algilez IPA Comparison Chart

9     Development of the Algilez Alphabet and Font

Algilez uses the same pronunciation as English. However the characters in the Latin alphabet do not all have a standard international pronunciation and may be pronounced in many different ways (even within a single language), hence the need for a new alphabet. The Algilez Alphabet (under its original name ‘Gilo’) was designed in 1999. Recently (2012) I have reviewed the alphabet and made some major changes. I have used the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as a guide whenever possible. The word ‘symbol’ below means any alphabet letter, number or character.

 

Aims of the Algilez Alphabet

Method to be used

1.              

To use only one symbol for each of the phonemes (sounds) of the Algilez language.

There are 27 phonemes in Algilez.  One alphabet symbol per phoneme.

7 vowels, 20 consonants and 1 ‘non-Algilez’ consonant (the ‘th’ sound) used for names etc.

2.              

To provide a single set of symbols to be used for lower case, upper case and handwriting.

This is to avoid the unnecessary burden of learning different symbols for each case and for handwriting.

Lower case symbols are used as standard, with slightly enlarged and thickened versions for upper case.  Handwritten symbols are generally identical to the lower case except for the small joining link lines from one symbol to the next.  The only exception is the handwritten lower case ‘s’ which is sometimes written as ‘¸’.

The majority of lower case symbols, are designed to link at baseline level, where possible, to ease handwriting.

3.              

To use standard Latin alphabet symbols where they have a common international use

Standard Latin alphabet symbols used for letters b, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, z

These are recognised by the International Phonetic Association as being letters that are generally pronounced the same way in most languages.  Algilez and English both use these standard pronunciations.

Note:  The one exception is that ‘r’ is generally ‘trilled’ or ‘rolled’ in many languages.  The IPA ‘r’ represents the trilled version.  The English and Algilez version is represented in the IPA as ‘ɹ’.  Since either pronunciation is acceptable (i.e. trilled or non-trilled, it is still clearly a letter ‘r’), I have retained the normal Latin ‘r’.

4.              

To provide modified Latin characters in the Algilez alphabet, where there are international variations in the pronunciation of those Latin characters.

The modification is intended to remind readers that the characters should be pronounced the Algilez way and not as the Latin characters in the speakers native language.

I have modified:

g, j, r, v, w, y  [g, j, r, v, w, y]

‘g’ pronunciation varies in English - hard in ‘get’ or soft as in ‘generation’.  There are also international variations.

‘j’ has many variations internationally.  E.g. German ‘Ja’, would be spelt ‘Ya’ in English).

 ‘v’ and ‘w’ sounds in German and other eastern European languages are different to the English language sounds for those letters.

‘y’ is little used outside English and French and has a variety of different pronunciations.

5.              

To provide new unique symbols for all vowels (since these vary in pronunciation within a single language as well as between different languages)

Unique symbols provided for:

a, e, i, o, u plus the two new Algilez symbols (ã & ø).

[a, e, i, o, u, ã, ø]

The pronunciation of the five vowel letters in English varies enormously, due both to normal use of the language and to regional accents.  To avoid any confusion, the provision of new symbols requires Algilez speakers to learn the sounds for all seven vowel symbols (all of which are already used in English).

6.              

To modify Latin symbols in order to avoid confusion between ones of similar style and size

I have slightly modified:

l & m [l, m]

‘l’ has been given a ‘tail’ to distinguish it from numeral 1.

‘m’ has a more rounded top to avoid clashes with ‘r + n’.

7.              

To remove from the Algilez alphabet those symbols which cannot be used for a single phoneme

I have removed

c, q, x

These have been replaced by the symbols for the ch, th and sh phonemes mentioned below..

8.              

To provide new alphabet symbols for Algilez phonemes which do not exist in the Latin alphabet

I have provided new symbols for those phonemes [c, q, x] which, in English, presently require two  Latin letters:

‘ch’ (as in church) – ‘c’ is used for this sound in the Latin alphabet.

‘th’ (as in Elizabeth) – there are no Algilez words with this sound but since there are many names containing the sound, it has been included. – ‘q’ is used in the Latin alphabet.

‘sh’ (as in sheep) – ‘x’ is used in the Latin alphabet.

9.              

Standard, international symbols to remain (numbers, currency symbols, punctuation symbols  etc)

Algilez uses those generally accepted international symbols for numbers, currencies etc.  (Very slight changes to 1, 7 & 9) [1, 7, 9]

10.           

To provide alphabet symbols for as many other phonemes as possible, which are used in other languages, so that proper names in those languages can be spelt in Algilez.

In the longer term, the Algilez variations could be used to replace the present International Phonetic Alphabet (which uses a variety of Latin and other alphabet symbols).

Although not part of the normal 28 Algilez character alphabet, up to 8 variations of each letter are provided within the font, each representing a different sound from the IPA.

The font modification used is the circular degree symbol, which has been added to each of the 1/8th positions around the normal Algilez symbol.  The degree circle was chosen as it would be quick to add when writing by hand and would also be easily recognised.

For example, although there is only one IPA sound for ‘t’, there are 7 variations for ‘r’ (in Algilez, r).  Hence, although a reader might not know the correct pronunciation for ɻ, it would clearly be a variation of ‘r’.  The IPA symbol for that phoneme being ‘ɻ’ which few people would know.

11.           

To provide a modified Latin alphabet as a ‘quick start’ for initial learners of Algilez, particularly those who are English language speakers.

This has also been done to assist those learners using mainframe computers (e.g. at school or university) who may not have the ability to download a new alphabet/font.

Standard Latin alphabet used with additional symbols ã & ø for the two new vowels.

Note:  This still requires Algilez students to learn the correct Algilez pronunciation for the vowels a, e, i, o, u and for the letters c, q & x  [a, e, i, o, u, ã, ø, c, q, x]..  All other letters are pronounced as in English.

 

The font currently used for the Algilez alphabet is a very simple one (probably equivalent to Ariel or similar fonts).  It would be possible to have the Algilez alphabet equivalents of many other fonts which are used for the existing Latin alphabet such as  Comic, Old English, Times New Roman, etc.

10     What is wrong with the Latin Alphabet?

There are two main problems.  One is that it is already too complicated, with upper case, lower case and handwritten letters which may differ.  The second, more important problem, is that the sounds of the letters in the Latin alphabet differ between different languages and even within a single language.  For example in English, the Concise Oxford Dictionary gives :-

            7 different pronunciations of the letter 'a'

            6 different pronunciations of the letter 'e'

            4 different pronunciations of the letter 'i'

            10 different pronunciations of the letter 'o'

            4 different pronunciations of the letter 'u'

(31 in total) all differing according to the context, preceding and following letters and historical usage.  Most books recognise that English has 12 pure vowels and another 10 diphthongs.  If you compare the pronunciations of Latin letters in some of the major European languages e.g. English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, they all differ!  There is not a single Latin letter which has a 100% constant pronunciation throughout these languages!

 

There are probably only four Latin letters that could be considered as having a 'standard' pronunciation by the majority of (but not all) languages: - d, k, m & p.

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) gives a longer list and has assigned the same sounds as used in English to the Latin letters b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, v, w & z.  This is obviously convenient for English speakers but does not take into account the difficulties that some non-English speakers may have, when confronted with non-standard pronunciation from their native languages.  For example, Latin letters ‘v’ and ‘w’ are pronounced by speakers of German and some other languages, in the way that English speakers would pronounce ‘f’ and ‘v’.

 

Although there is a workload involved in the learning of seven new alphabet letters, the time taken would be rapidly repaid by the elimination of the confusion resulting from the multiple sounds possible for conventional Latin letters.  I have designed the Algilez alphabet to take these differences into account.  The Algilez alphabet characters therefore fall into a number of different types:-

1.     Those characters from the Latin alphabet which in the IPA list are considered common to most languages:-b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s. t v, w, z, (b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s. t v, w, z) 

2.     Characters in the Latin alphabet list above which need a slight change to reduce confusion or overlap with other characters, particularly when handwriting:- l, m, 1, 7, 9, (l, m, 1, 7, 9)

3.     Other Latin alphabet characters which may have slightly different pronunciations in some languages and therefore require a character that is similar but slightly different to the Latin alphabet:- g, j, v, w, y, (g, j, v, w, y).

4.     New characters for the Algilez language (c, q, x) which replace existing Latin characters which are not used (c, q, x)

5.     New characters for the two new Algilez vowels (ã, ø) and the existing Latin alphabet vowels a, e, i, o & u (a, e, i, o & u).

 


Algilez Information : last revised: 25 August 2014


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