Writing & Script
Each character written in Vưng-Ḍác Tǫ consists of two components. The first element is the Logogram and it serves to differentiate characters that mean different things, refer to different parts of speech or to give a clue to the meaning of the word. Here, logogram is used loosely and simply felt like a good word to describe the purpose of that portion of a character. A complete list of the possible logograms used in Vưng-Ḍác Tǫ is not feasible as there isn't a discreet number of them, and they have the most variation among them. Also, some of the logograms are indeed identical in appearance (if not function) to the second part of Vingdagese written characters. The second in each is a Phonogram. Phonograms do belong to a finite group, that describe a portion of the basic syllables possible in Vingdagese. Keep in mind that phonograms represent an older, simpler, version of the possible compliments of syllables. They do not include any consonant clusters, final consonants, non-cardinal vowels or diphthongs. All of that phonological information is conveyed in the combination of the Phonogram and Logogram portions toghether. Phonograms alone are not sufficient for proper pronunciation.
The primary function of phonograms in the written language of Vingdagese is to establish a general range of possible ways in which the character could be pronounced. At one time, the language was a syllabary and was written exclusively with these phonograms (though some of them have changed form since then). However, a vast array of homophones and ambiguity began to exist in the written language... especially as the spoken language changed to add more variety in the ways that syllables were constructed. As such, additional components were added to lower ambiguity in the usage of characters. From that point on, there were two parts to each character, and the relationship between written phonogram and spoken syllable have greatly diverged. This has primarily occurred with respect to the exact vowel used, initial clusters and in coda consonants. Now, though, it does serve as a useful tool to organize characters alphabetize and also to roughly group similar sounding characters together.
- —For a chart of characters in Vưng-Ḍác Tǫ including unique phonograms, see: Characters
For the most part, strokes in written Vingdagese are in a similar order as to what they would be in Chinese, or what is presumed to be the stroke order in written Tangut. However, there are some notable exceptions. One such exception is that of the "square" (three of which make up the phonogram ca). In Chinese, each square would be written with three strokes, starting with the left, then the top and right sides forming an L-like shape with an uptick on the tail and finishing it off with the bottom stroke. However, in Vingdagese, it is written with only two strokes (one for the left and bottom and the other for the top and rightmost sides, with the omission of any uptick on the rightmost stroke).
Another notable feature is the fact that many of the grammatical components of the language are written with a single phonogram instead of an entire character. In those situations, a middle dot is used to substitute what would have been the rest of the character and also to highlight that it isn't a full two-sided character. This dot is omitted in casual or quick writing, but is visually distinctive in a more formal hand.
Numbers in Vingdagese can be written formally or informally. In the formal method, the phonogram is included in each character which increases the stroke count significantly. However, they can also be written in their "short" forms which correspond in number to the number of strokes that are in the glyph and include solely the base form of the logogram that appears in the formal version. It is far more common to see the numbers written in their short versions. However, this version also has some forms that are identical to certain phonograms, but are pronounced differently when used as a number. The following table shows the pronunciation, value, short and formal forms of each character. Also of note is that Vingdagese uses an octal counting system in which the numbers 1-7 are the only ones used, and the character for 8 is actually a shorthand for 10. Place value has been used with these numbers for a number of years now, instead of a more archaic system where it was more like Roman numerals and there were other glyphs that served for 64 (8²), 512 (8³), etc. In the following table, the first character shown below each number is the long form, and the second is the short form.
Numbers are also grouped differently than in the standard Western Base 10 system. In the Western world, numbers are grouped by every three zeroes (or in other words, by the thousand). However, by the Ving, they are instead grouped by every two zeroes, or by the hundred. This means that one thousand (1,000) is spoken about as ten-hundred (10·00), etc. However, should there be a single digit that would be placed in the next grouping as in ♦1·00·00, it would instead be written without the first separator as: 100·00.
(This also may make it a bit easier to identify in which base a number is being expressed, as the middle dot will be used often with octal notation and Base 10 numbers will still feature the comma.)
|One (1)||Two (2)||Three (3)||Four (4)||Five (5)||Six (6)||Seven (7)||Eight (10)|
Below are a few examples of the number system in actual use, as well as a comparison of the long and short forms in the final part separated by a slash.
- 37 (Base 10) → 45 (Base 8) → → /
- In this example, the resultant character has some elements combined to reduce strokes and redundancy.
- 8,763 (Base 10) → 210·73 (Base 8) → /
- Use of the full characters gets quite unwieldy with large numbers. As such, one does not tend to see it.
- 4,097 (Base 10) → 100·01 (Base 8) → or
- In this example, the character cren is used to abbreviate a 1 with two 0s, since it had been used as 100 (or 64 in Base 10) in the older system. Now, these characters are only used as part of shorthand since they have been obsoleted by the advent of the current place value system.