Belated end of September Greyfolk language report

During September, I had 13-ish strong days of work on my conlang. Even with all of that work, it feels like I have so little to show. I’m mulling over the idea of making more regular posts that talk about what I’m working on instead of just what I’ve finished.

I merged my possessive/genitive particle with my complementizer/agentive particle, but I later undid that as it led to some weird ambiguity. Confusing “dog of friend eats” and “dog that friend eats” is too weird to ignore.

Concerning Hamming distance, I had a little revelation. If «mun» and «lun» are different enough, shouldn’t «num» and «nul» be different enough? Thus, the idea that a syllable could have the same initial consonant and vowel so long as one ended in «l» and one ended in «m» was born. I haven’t really used this yet, but it’s a neat little observation.

There was a bunch of time spent trying to figure out what the words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ should sound like.

Numerals also broke a bit.

I played around with syntax and ambiguity a ton. It seems like there isn’t an easy/simple way for me to get the effect that I want, which is fine. It’s hard to disambiguate something like ‘American history teacher’ (without adding complex rules). Is it a teacher of American history? Or is it a history teacher that’s American? We may never know.

My favorite part was relearning Lojban basics while discovering some “ancient” conlangs from the listserv era.

A whole month has gone by without me figuring out monosyllabic words. After the first two weeks, this was very frustrating, and I felt defeated. Eventually, I cried it out, shrugged my shoulders, and changed my focus so I didn’t burn myself out. It’s okay to have not figured them out! As of today, I’m dipping my toes back in, and it feels so good to go back into it with a fresh mindset. That’s the trick—I just have to remind myself of that. Sometimes, a tactical withdrawal is the best move, even if it feels like a loss—because it’s not a loss. Throwing myself at the same topic again and again as I become more frustrated and burnt out, leading to such a big loss of time is just that: a loss.

There are times to push through, of course. It’s just about finding that balance, and there’s also meta-balance, finding the balance of finding balance. Maybe pushing through will lead to frustration and a week’s worth of setback compared to dropping it to work on something else. I might have some setback on the dropped topic because I lose my place, but I get to move forward with something else. Plus, losing my place, as I said, can be refreshing. Then, the meta-balance is figuring out how much of a setback I’m taking by spending time to find a balance. Sometimes, if it’s complex or I find myself teetering back and forth a ton, it’s just best to take the safe option to let myself breathe.

If I keep going, I’ll have written more about my working philosophy than I have about my actual conlang. I hope to post again soon!

Thoughts on decapitation in GURPS

To make execution and decapitation fit the rules better, there are a couple of worthy suggestions:

Kromm says:

If “triple damage” is possible on a lucky shot, then in a set-up situation where luck doesn’t come into it, it ought to be possible as well. So a strong man (but not a musclebound thug) with ST 11 starts at swing 1d+1, adds +1 for a sword, adds +1 for a fine blade, and adds +2 more for All-Out Attack (Strong). His damage roll is 1d+5, or 6-11. To the neck, that’s 12-22. Triple it for ideal circumstances with all the time in the world, nobody fighting back, and endless practice — let’s say that a Professional Skill (Executioner) roll allows this — for 36-66. Average is 51. That’s -4xHP for most people, -3xHP for some really big ones. Three or four HT rolls are needed to survive. If the guy doesn’t die (low damage, high HT), the rare second blow will mean an average of 102, which is automatically lethal even at 17 HP.

Those who want to postulate monstrous guys with 20 HP and HT 18 will be introduced to my bigger executioner with ST 13 and a very fine blade, who will do 2d+4 and average 66 points a chop.

PK says:

My suggestion: Steal from the Forced Entry skill as well.

Professional Skill (Execution): IQ/A

This is the knowledge of how to kill another person quickly and cleanly in a controlled situation. It is of no use if you do not have complete control of your target and access to appropriate equipment (i.e., an executioner’s sword as opposed to a normal combat-oriented sword, a chopping block, etc.) Add +1 per die to the damage done to the subject if you know this skill at IQ+1, or +2 per die if you know it at IQ+2 or better. Decapitation takes at least five minutes to set up (use standard rules for reducing or taking more time) and requires a roll against this skill as well as an attack roll against the subject’s neck (almost always an All-Out Attack after Evaluating, net modifier +2). If both rolls are successful, the damage is tripled (for a net x6)!

That’s fairly generous, but frankly, for executions that don’t involve supernatural targets, I’d usually just call it death by fiat anyways. Brings the range of damage from 36-66 up to 48-78 for a skilled executioner, the average of which is enough to easily auto-kill a HT 10 man. A poor damage roll or higher HT target allows for survival rolls, which might necessitate another chop.

Another suggestion is to add decapitation to the to the dismemberment rules. A limb requires HP injury, so it follows that the neck might require HP×4 injury (or HP×2 penetrating damage), which would require 20 damage for the average human. Then, I thought about the spine hit location in GURPS Martial Arts. Of course, this has been asked before, and Kromm said:

Cervical Vertebrae (-11): Crushing, cutting, impaling, piercing, and tight-beam burning attacks from behind can target the spine in the neck. The vertebrae provide an additional DR 3. Use the wounding modifiers for the neck, but any hit for enough injury to inflict a shock penalty requires a knockdown roll, at -5 if a major wound. Injury in excess of HP cripples the spine. This causes automatic knockdown and stunning, plus all the effects of Quadriplegic (p. B150). Roll after the fight to avoid gaining this disadvantage on a lasting or permanent basis! A miss by 1 hits the neck.

So, this is getting crazy! I’ll say that decapitation can only come from targeting the cervical vertebrae (which only makes me think of my fun time with cervical radiculopathy). That -11 penalty will be hard to soak along with that DR 3. I’d be willing to say then, at that point, HP×2 injury is enough to decapitate, which is going to require 13 damage.

A true longsword (i.e., the GURPS bastard sword—they’re essentially flipped in name) wielded in one hand by a ST 10 individual can do a maximum of 7 damage, or, wielded in two hands, can do a maximum of 8 damage. A greatsword wielded by a ST 12 individual can do a maximum of 11 damage or 12 damage if it’s a falchion (rule from GURPS Low-Tech Companion 2: Weapons and Warriors). An All-Out Attack (Strong) can gives +2 damage to each of these examples, which lets the greatsword do it regularly, and, honestly, that doesn’t feel right.

By the time I had finished writing that paragraph, I started considering HP×3 injury, which would require 18 damage, and that number is much closer to the original 20 damage. It’s -2 to damage but also -6 to skill. So, I think the 20 damage to the neck (-5) works cinematically and that 18 damage to the cervical vertebrae (-11) is probably a bit more realistic. One would need ST 16 and a falchion greatsword doing an All-Out Attack (Strong) to even have a change of doing this in combat—that’s 2d+6 damage for maximum of 18 damage. Maybe Hafþór can try. Of course, if the ST 16 individual has Weapon Master and the falchion greatsword is very fine, that raises it to 2d+10 damage for an average of 17 damage, which is just shy of the 18 damage required.

Where does Professional Skill (Execution) fit into all of this? Well, let’s say that the more realistic executioner is that ST 12 individual wielding a falchion greatsword for a minimum of 7 damage, an average of 9.5 damage, and a maximum of 12 damage. Being able to triple minimum damage to 21 ensures a clean cut every time. I’d probably base it off of Power Blow a bit more, so one can either get ×2 damage or ×3 damage, depending on skill and time, which may allow for some combat use.

Anyway, thinking about damage/wounding multipliers got me in a tizzy! Multipliers don’t make much sense for logarithmic damage (which might be important if I’m using Knowing Your Own Strength, though I’m still not sure if KYOS damage is “logarithmic” or not). But changing cutting to +2 injury and impaling to +3 injury doesn’t scale either—because HP are still quadratic. Well, scaling back HP actually makes it worse in some cases unless I used some kind of system for logarithmic injury—e.g., 7 injury plus 7 injury isn’t 14 injury, it’s 10 injury (because doubling the value is a +3 under logarithmic ST). But do you have to do 10 more injury to get to 13 injury or is another 7 injury wound enough? How far down does the rabbit hole go?

And I never figured it out for sure. Of course, this will work with standard damage. It gets messy with Knowing Your Own Strength. And throw Conditional Injury in there? Then, it’s back to the drawing board.

But, if you want it to work with CI or both KYOS and CI, then I’d say that decapitation requires a Severity 3 wound, which feels like a nice little bonus for a huge -11 to hit. Normally, it takes Severity 4 for an instantly fatal wound, but Severity 3 can do it if you’re cutting at the cervical vertebrae. Sounds fair enough to me! If you can do 6 more damage to the neck, though, you’re better off not trying to soak up an additional -6 to hit.

Knowing Your Own Strength with Conditional Injury in GURPS

So that’s what he’s been doing.

You caught me fair and square. This month, I’ve spent over a week trying to figure out how to best merge Knowing Your Own Strength (KYOS) with Conditional Injury (CI). The funniest part of the story is that this came from me trying to fit some new decapitation rules into GURPS because I don’t like the idea of, if you get killed by a blow to the neck, that’s decapitation. Then, I got to thinking that using damage multipliers with Knowing Your Own Strength is a tad weird because it’s based on logarithmic ST (though, maybe not logarithmic damage), so I was wondering if damage multipliers should just be damage bonuses.

Then, I found Anthony’s Logarithmic Damage. One way or another, that pointed me toward Conditional Injury. So, then, I wanted to marry KYOS with CI.

So, I started a thread about it. So far, I’m left with this:

Ultimately, what I want is a system to use Knowing Your Own Strength (KYOS) from Pyramid #3/83: Alternate GURPS IV and Conditional Injury (CI) from Pyramid #3/120: Alternate GURPS V. Ideally, it would be realistic, easy-to-use, and work directly with KYOS and CI as opposed to creating a parallel system. There has been a lot of great work so far, and I’m extremely grateful to each of the contributors.

THE +30 = ×10 SYSTEM

This is what Anthony’s Know Your Own Damage is based on, and Anthony has listed the advantages of this system here. It is complete, but it doesn’t satisfy the idea of directly working with KYOS and CI because there isn’t enough information on how the systems interact.

THE +24 = ×10 SYSTEM

This assumes that BL in KYOS is converted to be +10 = ×12. It’d be a bit of extra work. Plus, dataweaver mentioned that it “gives you easy squares and cubes”. Anthony argues that it gives “nasty numbers”, and dataweaver argues that it’s “less of a concern […] since we’re actually more interested in ranges of values than exact values”. Earlier in the thread, dataweaver detailed these values here.

THE +20 = ×10 SYSTEM

The +20 = ×10 system feels the best to me. It seems like it would take the least effort to get working directly with KYOS, especially because BL in KYOS is based off of +10 = ×10. KYOS also converts BS ST into KYOS strength this way since KYOS ST is based on 20 times the log of BS ST. dataweaver details a conversion from BS HP/damage to the +20 = ×10 system here. RyanW’s System is described by RyanW as being based on +20 = ×10 here.

RyanW’s System

  • RyanW’s original thread can be found here.
  • RT = (ST – 10) / 3 + 4.
  • WP = (ST – 10) / 3. Roll 1d6—on 1 or 2, give -1 WP; on 3 or 4, give +0 WP; on 5 or 6, give +1 WP.
  • Swing = +1 WP (or +3 ST).
  • BS ST-based weapon damage is divided by 2 and rounded away from 0, then applied to WP.
  • BS DR is converted to DR the same way BS HP is converted to RT.
  • When WP exceeds DR by 3 or less, the WP is reduced:
    • By 1: -3 WP
    • By 2: -2 WP
    • By 3: -1 WP
    • By 4+: -0 WP
    • Where multiple sources of DR apply, apply the reduction for each in turn and check the remaining against the next source of DR (which might be cumbersome in games where layered armor is common).
  • Apply the rules from CI normally starting at Injury and Severity.
  • ST [5/level], RT/WP [10/level], but you must stay in your allowable range.

My Suggestion

In order to keep the regular ST [10/level], I suggest multiplying everything before Severity by 3 and then dividing it by 3 for Severity, which also helps with the resolution.

  • RT = ST + 2.
  • WP = ST – 10. Roll 1d6–3, then apply result to WP.
  • Swing = +3 WP.
  • BS ST-based weapon damage is multiplied by 1.5 and rounded away from 0, then applied to WP.
  • When WP exceeds DR by 25 or less, the WP is reduced:
    • By 1: -19 WP
    • By 2: -14 WP
    • By 3: -11 WP
    • By 4: -9 WP
    • By 5: -7 WP
    • By 6: -6 WP
    • By 7: -5 WP
    • By 8–9: -4 WP
    • By 10–12: -3 WP
    • By 13–15: -2 WP
    • By 16–25: -1 WP
    • By 26+: -0 WP
    • Where multiple sources of DR apply, apply the reduction for each in turn and check the remaining against the next source of DR.
  • Severity = (WP – RT) / 3.

What I Don’t Know

  • Where RyanW’s system falls on the scale of realism.

dataweaver’s +20 = ×10 System

  • HP is based on +20 = ×10 (the big difference from Anthony).
  • RT = HP + 10 or 20 × log(BS HP).
  • WP = damage + 10.
  • BS DR is converted the same way that BS HP is, so BS DR 1 → DR 0 and BS DR 10 → DR 20 (and BS DR 0 → DR -∞).
  • To apply DR, use WP – DR to find out by how much to reduce WP.
    • ≤0: no damage
    • 1: -21 WP
    • 2: -13 WP
    • 3: -10 WP
    • 4: -8 WP
    • 5: -7 WP
    • 6: -6 WP
    • 7: -5 WP
    • 8: -4 WP
    • 9–10: -3 WP
    • 11–13: -2 WP
    • 14–19: -1 WP
    • ≥20: -0 WP
  • For damage, roll 5d, add the highest three dice to WP, then subtract 14 from the result to get the final WP.
  • The Conditional Effect Table for CI is rescaled so that the Severity column is divided by 3 and multiplied by 10. So, ±6 becomes ±20, ±5 becomes ±16, ±4 becomes ±13, ±3 becomes ±10, ±2 becomes ±6, and ±1 becomes ±3. All of the Severity modifiers need to be rescaled in the same way—e.g., impaling damage goes from +2 to +6.

What I Don’t Know

  • How to calculate HP (from ST, from weight).
  • How to add or subtract ST-based weapon damage.

Anthony’s +20 = ×10 System

  • HP is based on +30 = ×10 (the big difference from dataweaver).
  • RT = ST × 0.2 + 2.
  • ST = Mass × 2/3 – 2. However, if HP is based on Mass and damage is based on ST, the two values don’t align. To resolve this, add in weapon weight. Damage scales with ST + (weapon Mass/3).
  • Mass = (ST required to lift an object as 1 × BL).
  • RT = (Mass × 2/3 + 2) × 2/3 – 2.
  • 0.2 RT [2/level].

What I Don’t Know

  • How to add or subtract ST-based weapon damage. This seems to do with “Damage scales with ST + (weapon Mass/3)”.
  • How to calculate WP (from damage). This seems to do with “Damage scales with ST + (weapon Mass/3)”.
  • How to calculate DR.
  • How to apply DR.
  • How to rescale Severity and Severity modifiers.
  • In BS, a 125,000 lb creature is assigned BL 2,000. With KYOS, a 125,000 lb creature would be assigned BL 20,000. Why? Yes, KYOS gives ST = 10 × log(weight in lb/6). How realistic is each number?

A MESSY SOLUTION

Everything is calculated per BS except for ST, which is the default assumption of KYOS. However, for this, damage is reverted to how it was before for calculating reasonable WP.

  • ST 10 [0] = BL 20 = 1d-2/1d damage = HP 10 [0] = 125 lb.
  • ST 16 [60] = BL 80 = 2d-1/3d+2 damage = HP 20 [8] = 1000 lb.
  • ST 20 [100] = BL 200 = 3d+1/6d-1 damage = HP 32 [24] = 4096 lb.
  • All of this is input in CI as normal.

The only thing that doesn’t work is KYOS ST = 10 × log(weight in lb/6) with -4 for humans. That would give ST 9, ST 18, and ST 24, respectively. It just doesn’t seem to line up with BS HP = 2 × (weight in lb)^(1/3), assuming ST = HP, then converting BS ST to KYOS ST.

And it is messy. It requires buying extra HP, and damage will always be looked up from a table because the progression is awkward. Plus, this relies on the large HP and damage bands in CI.

Though, I don’t like the damage progression in BS. So, I use tbone’s New Damage for ST. If you don’t mind everything being a bit deadlier, use it as is with “medium” damage and “large” damage on the New Damage Table (or you can use it in conjunction with tbone’s Toughness). Otherwise, per tbone’s suggestion, you can use “small” damage and “medium” damage on the Expanded New Damage Table (and it’s suggested to give big weapons a damage boost). Personally, I think there’s a nice middle ground in using the New Damage Table and shifting the table to ST 7 is ST 10, so ST 10 is 1d-2/1d damage.

That leaves me with the following:

  • ST 10 [0] = BL 20 = 1d-2/1d damage = HP 10 [0] = 125 lb.
  • ST 16 [60] = BL 80 = 2d/3d damage = HP 20 [8] = 1000 lb.
  • ST 20 [100] = BL 200 = 3d/5d-1 damage = HP 32 [24] = 4096 lb.

Alternatively, you could throw out KYOS altogether and use tbone’s A Better Cost for ST and HP. Compared to KYOS, 300 points for tbone’s BS ST 100 (BL 2000, 10d/15d damage) is still more expensive than 200 points for KYOS ST 30 (BL 2000, 5d+2/6d damage), but it’s not horrible.

  • ST 10 [0] = BL 20 = 1d-2/1d damage = HP 10 [0] = 125 lb.
  • ST 20 [100] = BL 80 = 2d/3d damage = HP 20 [0] = 1000 lb.
  • ST 32 [155] = BL 205 = 3d/5d-1 damage = HP 32 [0] = 4096 lb.

Current Thoughts

It really is a toss-up between a few options right now.

End of August Greyfolk language report

Okay, so I honestly forgot about August 31st when I thought of the title and said that I would post this “tomorrow”. Use your imagination.

There are a few posts that I can definitely still make about conlanging—I just haven’t. I’ve had six-ish strong days of work this month, but a lot of my conlanging time has actually gone to working on a project for GURPS. Surprise! But let’s get into what I can talk about.

Also, I really need to get around to updating the Greyfolk language page because it has fallen behind. It just feels like so many changes are happening that, if I update it now, I’ll have reason to update it again so soon after!

“Head-initial” indicating vowels

That’s a rough way of describing a minor but very important change to my language. Before, the vowel that indicates part of speech (or word type) would be the final vowel in the word. Working with a potential mini version of the Greyfolk language made me realize that I could just have that indicating vowel be the first vowel in the word, which fits with the idea of the language being head-initial. So, instead of the final vowel sound being «e» for nouns, «i» for adjectives and adverbs, «o» for verbs, and «u» for other things (conjunctions, prepositions, particles, etc.), those would be the initial vowel sounds.

Thus, «halnyo» becomes «holnya»—that’s my stand-in word for ‘to bake’.

Hamming distance

The idea of Hamming distance is it’s something that “measures the minimum number of substitutions required to change one string into the other”, which, in my case, means it’s the number of different sound changes to make different words sound different. For me, this means that a two words should have at least a sound with a difference in manner of articulation and a sound with a difference in place of articulation, or two words should have one sound with both differences.

So, if I have «halnyo», I can’t have «halmyo», but I can have «halsyo». Of course, I still said at least two differences, but more is definitely better.

New syllable blocks and font

I mentioned this previously, but syllable blocks have changed with the new 7HR alphabet. A post about that will be coming shortly. Also, after I figure out all of my monosyllabic words (see below), I’ll have more Greyfolk language free time, which means I can work on the new font.

Monosyllabic words

Because of the number of phonemes that I have, the syllable construction, and Hamming distance, I can only have so many functional monosyllabic words. There are, however, a lot of concepts that I would love to have be represented by a single syllable. There may also be new personal pronouns…

Numerals

Of course, I want numerals to be monosyllabic too. They were doing just fine until I removed «f» and «w», so I’ve had to rethink how they work and sound—oh, and also how they look. After I consider that pretty set in stone and get around to creating the new 7HR font, I’ll talk more about numerals.

Good move, Greyfolk language update tomorrow

Another month has snuck—or sneaked, if you prefer—past me!

The move to Columbus, OH with my partner went exceptionally well. Our new place is really great. Since moving in, we’ve had few problems. Some outlets are ungrounded (which I want to bring up with the landlord), there was a mouse in the kitchen (though, it hasn’t seemed to return, and nothing has been caught in the trap), and… well, for the first few days, we didn’t have working air conditioning. Outside of that and the small kitchen (which we obviously knew about), there isn’t much else negative to say about our new place.

No, living in Columbus has been much better than I had imagined. Coming from a smaller town, the idea of living in a city frightened me. I’m glad I braved that, though, because my fear was based on a strong misconception. Not all cities feel like Chicago or New York City. Amazing, right? In fact, we can ignore the whole city feel just by avoiding downtown. Otherwise, it feels like a big town with some extra expressways (highways, freeways, whatever—I actually used to call them highways until my partner got to me). It’s nice!

Last but not least, yes, there will be a sizable update on the Greyfolk language tomorrow. I’ll be talking about “head-initial” indicating vowels, Hamming distance, new syllable blocks, and more!

Creating the new 7HR alphabet

It’s like a seven-segment display. But horizontal, so it’s on its side. But rotated, so it’s normal again. That’s what 7HR means—it’s 7-segment display horizontal rotated. So, the previous alphabet would be called 14N—it’s 14-segment display neutral. Seven segments is a lot less than 14 segments, so that’s already a great advantage of the new alphabet. In fact, I’d say it’s an upgrade across the board with only one minor drawback—that drawback will be explained later.

A horizontal seven-segment display (7H) works well for my alphabet.

Let’s looks at lines for place of articulation—place lines.

It has a labial line, representing articulation at the front of the mouth (i.e., lips).

It has a coronal line, representing articulation in the middle of the mouth.

It has a dorsal line, representing articulation at the back of the mouth.

Like 14N, all three lines are used to represent laryngeal articulation.

Now, let’s look at lines for manner of articulation—manner lines.

It has a nasal line, representing the position of the nasal cavity.

It has plosive lines, representing stopped airflow when used with a place line.

It has a fricative line, representing partially restricted airflow.

It has liquid lines…

…and approximant lines—both with partial lines reflecting partial turbulence.

It has transition lines, representing the transition with opposite partial lines.

To create a consonant letter, a place line and manner line are used together.

This is a labial plosive—i.e., «p».

Finally, let’s look at vowel lines. These only use four segments.

It has a close line.

It has a mid line.

It has a front line.

It has a back line.

It doesn’t have an open line or a central line, despite having an open central vowel—i.e., «a».  This is because «a» is so common and is often reduced, so I wanted it to be very minimal . So, the entire open central vowel is just one line.

Otherwise, to create a vowel, a close or mid line is used with a front or back line.

It could stop there, but it doesn’t. Unfortunately, 7H has two drawbacks: (1) when put into syllable blocks, «l» and «y» are hard to distinguish, and (2) it’s horizontal even though seven-segment displays are used vertically.

So, I rotated each letter 90° clockwise, which gives me 7HR. Of course, this has one major drawback: it distorts the featural system. There is still a one-to-one correspondence, but the labial line is now the top line…

…and so on and so forth.

Labial, coronal, dorsal, and laryngeal place lines.

Nasal, plosive, fricative, liquid, approximant, and transition manner lines.

Close, mid, front, and back lines, and the open central vowel.

Of course, just tilt your head back and all of the letters will still make sense. So, they are functional and I’d say they retain 90% of the featural symbolism. Again, the lines still have a one-to-one correspondence that maps out to the vocal tract, but it is a bit distorted.

So, here’s the labial plosive—i.e., «p».

The actual font is coming soon! I haven’t had the time to churn that out while moving into my new home (and enduring two and a half days of 80 °F heat because the capacitor on the HVAC condenser died). Plus, I also have a new new way of forming syllable blocks—the old new way was for 14N and was outdated by the new new way for 7H/7HR.

The July update you’ve all been waiting for

I really couldn’t have put together a short post about how the Greyfolk syllable blocks have changed, huh?

To be fair, I’m preparing for a big move to Columbus, Ohio! While I don’t have many exciting conlang-related things to share, I did update the site. I revamped the homepage, removed About Me, and added Portfolio. Ooh, a portfolio? Yeah, I guess I felt I kind of deserved to have a portfolio page after publishing a paper on Laiholh psycho-collocations.

To be honest, I’m glad I waited on some of the posts that I was preparing because tons of small things are changing for the Greyfolk language. And, to be even more honest, I probably won’t post again until August—though, I hope to have much more to say about the current state of the Greyfolk language.

New «h» glyph (and the runners-up)

The new «h» glyph was decided in the minutes before I saw Flor de Toloache—an all-female mariachi—about a month and a half ago. I had been going back and forth and back and forth for a few days, but, somehow, making the decision away from my office made it just a little bit easier.

h $ % & @
h $ % & @

So, as I revealed in my previous post, h is the winner! (Also, check that post for more information on place and manner of articulation for more context about the following.) Out of all of those designs, it felt best. It uses a new manner of articulation and it was all three place of articulation lines to show that it was a unique place of articulation.

$ was what I was using before. It was a nice design, but I didn’t like that it was using the dorsal line. Of course, there is no laryngeal line, but that place of articulation was represented by the line running beneath it—the opposite of a nasal line. Yet, a horizontal line is supposed to be used for manner of articulation (like it is for the nasal line) and not place of articulation, and it was really bugging me for just one of my letters feeling inconsistent.

% was a fun little creation that looks like a face. It mixed up all manners and places of articulation, which I felt was better than being inconsistent. In a sense, it was so wrong that it was right. It felt special, but not inconsistent—except that it took so many strokes to write and it had a hole in the character.

& was going to be my choice despite how confusing interpreting those three non-touching horizontal lines would be. It didn’t always look too hot in syllable blocks. However, I liked the symbolism of the character—three horizontal lines for a new manner of articulation and no vertical lines because it isn’t in a labial, coronal, or dorsal place of articulation.

@ was fun—in fact, I loved it!—but it had to be tossed because it had… curves. It was just too sexy! No, wait, that wasn’t it. Again, it was just the inconsistency.

Honorable mentions go to two characters: a character that looked like an X and a character that looked like a K with the flat part on top (like @ with straight diagonal lines instead of curved lines). The diagonal lines looked inconsistent and neither of them looked good in syllable blocks.

So, a month and a half after its creation, please welcome h as the new character for «h»!

New alphabet, places of articulation, and manners of articulation

I just got finished finally typing up ‘New «h» glyph (and the runners-up)’ when I realized that a lot of what went into the design would be lost if I didn’t talk about place of articulation and manner of articulation as well as introduce some other minor changes with the alphabet.

Old m n p t k f s h l w y a e i o u
New m n p t k f s h l w y a e i o u
Sound m n p t k f s h l w y a e i o u

As you can see, «h», «w», «y», and the vowels changed. (That’s also a sneak peak at the new «h» about which I’ll discuss more in my next post. Don’t worry—it’s already written.) I did this to definitively establish what each line is supposed to mean in this featural writing system.

m has one vertical line in the front position—that’s the labial line. It represents the lips at the front of the mouth. It also has two vertical lines. The vertical line in the middle represents the top of the mouth and the detached vertical line on top represents the nasal cavity. Together, those define m as nasal.

n is very similar to m, but it has a vertical line in the middle position—that’s the coronal line. It represents the place where the tip of the tongue touches when producing that sound.

p has the labial line like m. Its two horizontal lines are the bottom line and the top line, and they are both attached to the vertical line—this represents a plosive by symbolizing a lack of airflow when producing that sound.

t is similar to p, but it has the coronal line like n.

k is similar to p and t, but its vertical line is in the back position, which represents the place toward which the back of the tongue is raised when producing that sound.

f and s are similar to p and t, but its horizontal lines are in the middle and bottom position, which looks similar to the plosive lines but represents that there is airflow through the mouth when producing those sounds, making those sounds fricative.

h will be talked about in my next post. Old «h» completed the p, t, k, f, s pattern, but this was inaccurate because «h» is laryngeal and not dorsal like «k».

l is similar to t and s. Its two horizontal lines are in the top and middle position, which represents its liquidity. This representation is less iconic but makes it visually similar to the fricative sounds.

w is labial and dorsal, so it has both of those lines. The single horizontal line on the bottom represents that this is an approximant. This representation is less iconic, but I was running out of choices. The old «w» has the old approximant line, which was represented by a single horizontal line in the top position.

y is the dorsal approximant, so it has those lines. The old «y» has the old approximant line as well as the coronal and dorsal lines to represent that it had a palatal placement, which is between alveolar and velar. Alveolar broadened to become coronal and velar broadened to become dorsal, and dorsal includes the palatal placement, so y just has a dorsal line.

The vowels have different lines that represent their placement on the vowel diagram as opposed to their place and manner of articulation (though, I was considering the latter idea). a is a low central vowel, e is a mid front vowel, i is a high front vowel, o is a mid back vowel, and u is a high back vowel. Their lines directly reflect those places. The old vowels went for a similar set up, but they all had a horizontal line in the top position whether they needed it or not for visual balance, but then I tossed that idea because—oh, I forgot to make a post about that too—syllable blocks also changed.

It’s a life update! 2

It shouldn’t take another two weeks.

—me, two weeks ago

No worries. It’s not my first time being wrong. Though, it was my first time taking a three-day trip to Ohio. My girlfriend had to go to Ohio for an interview, which was very exciting, so I tagged along! Well, even if I hadn’t wanted to, I would’ve had to tag along—she doesn’t like to drive.

Her car’s in the shop right now, so that’s also fun. It’s another antifreeze leak, so here’s to hoping we can finally get that fixed once and for all. It’s really only a small inconvenience and the worst part of that whole procedure happened after we left the mechanic. Without the car, we had to walk (part of the way) home. Not even 100 feet away, I slipped on a patch of mud, fell hard, and twisted my leg. It’s still pretty sore. So, unfortunately, I have still not been able to squat for months.

Also, I finished The Wheel of Time after almost two years of reading it and listening to it with my girlfriend. I’ve been playing Bioshock Infinite as well as a large dose of Screencheat. Both are great games, and I would highly recommend Screencheat as a fun party game.

This life update is going to have to stay brief because I just got back from a bike ride and I’m pretty worn out, but I should have some more conlang-focused updates soon. It’s hard to believe it’s been a month.

Also, there’s quite a bit of GURPS stuff in the works too…