Khulls script

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Scripts of Khulls are described here. The Khulls language had many scripts over time as its phonology changed, and at times, more than one script was in use. Further complicating the situation was the tendency to write foreign words in their native scripts,[1] whose letterforms resembled those of Khulls enough to lead to homographs. However, most loanwords into Khulls were naturalized if they came into common use, and came to be written with the ordinary Khulls script.


Due to its complex phonology, Khulls was written primarily with an alphabet rather than a syllabary.

Arrangement of consnonants and vowels

Khulls inherited the Gold tradition of writing the consonants and vowels as separate alphabets. In the early years of Khulls, the two alphabets could be presented in either order, but eventually, consonants were placed first. This led to a change in the addition of new letters to the alphabet: previously, new letters had always been added to the end of the alphabet, but once the consonants secured their place at the front, new consonants were generally added to the beginning. This is why the Khulls alphabet looks so different at first glance from those to which it is very closely related.

Consonant letter order

The parent language, Gold, had used the letter order

ʕ l j x ḳ k ŋ p m t ʕʷ n xʷ g s d ġ b z č ǯ h hʷ

for its consonants.

Introduction of glyphs for labialized consonants

Khulls early on used the symbols for ʕʷ and to denote labialized consonants, with the choice depending on whether the base consonant was aspirated or not, but around the year 2900 they developed single glyphs for each labialized consonant. This coincided with a sound change that for the first time allowed labialized consonants to occur in syllable-final position.

This tradition of eliminating digraphs remained strong in the language throughout its history and also applied to most of its descendants.

At first, the labialized variants of each consonant were placed after the consonant they paired with, but later traditions placed all of the labialized consonants together at the end of the alphabet. Thus the letter order became

 ʕ l j x ḳ k ŋ p m t ʕʷ n xʷ g s d ġ b č ǯ lʷ ḳʷ kʷ ŋʷ pʷ mʷ tʷ nʷ gʷ sʷ dʷ ġʷ bʷ čʷ ǯʷ h hʷ

Up to this point, Khulls had had relatively few sound changes and was by far the most conservative member of the Gold family. But the sudden introduction of consonant clusters triggered sped up the development of other changes that made Khulls the most rapidly changing member of the family for the rest of its existence.

Note that there is no /z/ in the alphabet above; Khulls /z/ is from a different source.

Development of new syllabic consonants

At this point, the order of the alphabets became fixed with the consonants always coming first. Often, the two alphabets were considered as one with the vowels simply being letters that came after the consonants. This caused teachers to add letters for new consonants to the beginning of the consonant alphabet rather than the end. By this time, however, the labialized consonants had become firmly established in their position at the end of the consonant section, since they were no longer considered new letters.

The next major sound change introduced new syllabic consonants. Previously, the only syllabic consonants had been nasals, and they had been written as digraphs. Now Khulls teachers created new letters specifically for these consonants, and placed them at the beginning of the alphabet. The new alphabet thus became

 k͡p ḳ͡ṗ gb ḷ ṡ ŋ̇ ṁ ṅ ʕ l j h ḳ k ŋ p m t ʕʷ n xʷ g s d ġ b č ǯ lʷ ḳʷ kʷ ŋʷ pʷ mʷ tʷ nʷ gʷ sʷ dʷ ġʷ bʷ čʷ ǯʷ h hʷ

Further development of new consonants from clusters

Soon, the consonant clusters that resulted from the collapse of /ŭ/ created even more new consonants.

 k͡p ḳ͡ṗ gb ḷ ṡ ż ŋ̇ ṁ ṅ ʕ l j h ḳ k ŋ p m t ʕʷ n xʷ g s r č ǯ lʷ ḳʷ kʷ ŋʷ pʷ mʷ tʷ nʷ gʷ sʷ dʷ ġʷ bʷ čʷ ǯʷ h hʷ

The glottalized alveolar stop became a true phoneme here rather than an allophone, although it was still very rare. It was thus added to the end of the alphabet.

The new consonant ż was reintroduced here. It was placed next to .

Loss of marginal consonants

The voiced stops b d ġ soon disappeared except after nasals, and their letters were deleted.

k͡p ḳ͡ṗ gb ḷ ṡ ż ŋ̇ ṁ ṅ ʕ l j x ḳ k ŋ p m t ʕʷ n xʷ g s r š ž ḳʷ kʷ ŋʷ pʷ mʷ gʷ hʷ ġʷ h

Further sound changes

Here consonants began to be separated into groups of similar consonants rather than putting each new consonant at the beginning. Thus, for example, the newly phonemic /ṭ/ came after /t/, and /ṗ/ came after /p/. The voiced stops /d/ and /ġ/ also reappeared here, although they became phonemicized through two unrelated processes, so their near-simultaneous reappearance was a coincidence:

k͡p ḳ͡ṗ gb h ʔ ʕ ḷ ṡ ṣ̣̌ z ŋ̇ ṁ ṅ l j x ḳ k ġ ŋ p m t ṭ d ʕʷ n xʷ g s r š ž ḳʷ kʷ ġʷ ŋʷ pʷ mʷ gʷ hʷ

Then came the loss of the labial-velars:

p ṗ b h ʔ ʕ ḷ ṡ ṣ̣̌ z ŋ̇ ṁ ṅ l j x ḳ k ġ ŋ m t ṭ d ʕʷ n xʷ g s r š ž ḳʷ kʷ ġʷ ŋʷ pʷ ṗʷ bʷ mʷ gʷ hʷ

Changes related to the palatal glide /y/

The palatal glide /y/ (IPA /j/) had been stable since the early days of Khulls, but here it began to melt into surrounding sounds, both vowels and consonants.

The first change was the merger of the /kʲ/ series with the /tʲ/ series, creating a new true postalveolar series:

k͡p ḳ͡ṗ gb h ʔ ʕ ḷ ṡ ṣ̣̌ z ŋ̇ ṁ ṅ l j x ḳ k ġ ŋ p m t ṭ d ʕʷ n xʷ g s r š ž č ǯ ň ḳʷ kʷ ġʷ ŋʷ pʷ ṗʷ mʷ gʷ hʷ  

It was at this point that the Moonshine language broke off and developed on its own path. The remaining changes therefore did not affect the Moonshine alphabet, nor did Moonshine's changes affect those of standard Khulls.

The next change shifted the sequences /ya ye yo/ > /ye/, which soon dropped its /y/ except after another vowel. Thus /y/ came to be seen as a part of a vowel rather than as a consonant, and it was dropped from the alphabet, being incorporated into the vowel letters. Other changes at about the same time involved hardening of nasals before /y/, leading to further mergers.

Cosmetic changes to the letter order

During classical Khulls, the rate of sound change began to slow down, but the alphabet was not yet final. Some teachers played with the order of the letters in an attempt to form patterns that they felt would make the letter order easier to recognize. However, the forms of the letters were not adjusted. The result was the following:

p ṗ b m h ʔ ʕ ḷ ṡ ṣ̌ z ŋ̇ ṁ ṅ l x k ḳ ġ ŋ t ṭ d n gʷ xʷ g s r š ž č ǯ kʷ ḳʷ ġʷ pʷ ṗʷ bʷ ʕʷ hʷ

Khulls teachers did not generally teach schoolchildren to pair labialized consonants with their plain counterparts. Instead, they were treated as additional points of articulation. Khulls teachers generally agreed that there were eight columns of consonants: rounded bilabial, spread bilabial, alveolar, postalveolar, velar, rounded velar, rounded glottal, and glottal. Some teachers placed the rounded glottals hʷ ʕʷ into the rounded bilabial column, reducing the number of columns to seven without causing any collisions.

Vowel letter order

The vowels are presented as a square, with rows being

a i o u e

and columns being the tones, which have the order

a ă à ā á â a͆

However, the last two tones were usually not distinguished, and towards the later years, ā and á often weren't either.

Moonshine dialect

See Moonshine language.


Syllabary letter order

First starts with the "flower" \ | /, which is /p ṗ b/ in the main dialect but /k ḳ ġ/ in some northern ones.

Consonant-syllable "impregnable" first table letter order is ʕ, l, g, x, ŋ, k, ḳ. This is the same as Andanese with /ʕ g ḳ/ replacing the three vowels. These correspond to Pabappa ∅, r, ∅, s, m, p, p. However, Pabappa reverses the order and so its alphabet begins instead with /p m s b/. (The confusion of /b/ with /r/ is due to Poswa influence.)

Those not bound to tones are /s/, /l/, /n/. Thus, from the scripts pov,there are 10 codas.

Sylabary source and structure

Unstr ă syllabary, str ă alph. alph counts tons as part of vowel, so needs 30 vowler signs (5 vowels, 6 tones if including both phars). 32 consos, though the ten syllabic consos get unique signs so the total numbtoer of sumbols for just consos & vowels is 72. Syllabary works by impregnating these sumbols with further markings that are taken from the Andanese *& Thaa syllabaries. Thus most conosnants isngs have holes (not the syllabics, not the "low" consonants either) into which vowel signs are written. /d/, /ġ/, and /ṭ/ are not in the standard script but can be derived from letters that are.

IM not sure I like this, actually. It might seem ludicrious to do a syllabary for a lang with 32 consos, 5 vowels, 6 tones, and 20 final consos, but i think it can work because they will only encode three of the final consos: /l n s/. The rest are either syllabic consos or ones that were originally separate syllables. And these three only occur on three of the tones (others do occur but rael;y).so its really just 6 open-sulab tones and 9 closed-silab tones.


Foreign words are spelled in the loaning script, e.g. as if "mockba" in English.


  1. (as Greek sometimes does with English)