Old Albic alphabet
The Old Albic script is a conscript.
Before the invention of this alphabet, the Elves were almost entirely illiterate, their language only occasionally being written with the rather ill-suited Phoenician abjad.
The Old Albic alphabet was invented by a cultural heroine named Lilde Selthare, founder of Eaism and the principles on which the Brazen Law, the constitution of the Commonwealth of the Elves is based. Lilde also invented a stencil technique to reproduce written texts, and hence she designed it such that no letter contains a closed loop. The letters p, t and c are apparently taken from the Phoenician script, with the other letters derived from these three by featural principles:
- Angular forms represent voiceless sounds, rounded forms represent voiced sounds.
- A stroke across the tail of a letter marks frication. The sibilant s is marked by another stroke through the middle of the letter.
- A hook on the tail of a letter marks nasal articulation.
- Tailless letters represent liquids and semivowels.
- Vowels are broken down into features, written to the right of a circle opening upwards.
- Long vowels are marked with a vertical stroke above the circle, which also represents the accent type: a straight stroke for thrusting tone, a tilde-like stroke for slipping tone.
This phonemically precise alphabet soon became very popular, especially among the working classes, while the old priests rejected it as "blasphemous". But the priests were soon overthrown.
- Old Albic alphabet chart - not entirely up to date: the vowel circles should be open to the top