- Main article: Qihep
The Qihep script is the writing system used to write in the Qihep language.
Qihep is written with a partially logographic script. It means that every syllable is written with a character, which is a little drawing, often somehow related to the meaning of the word it represents. The script is partially logographic, since many characters have lost their apparent relation to the meaning and are simple drawings. Every character gives no information about the phonetic nature of the syllable it represents.
Characters can be used for their phonetic value, usually to express foreign names or proper names which have no logographic representation. In this case they are marked by underline.
Underlined characters are thus read for their sound, with no attention for the meaning of the syllable.
Space and punctuation
Words are not written separately nor sentences are. Only sentences can be separated by the space of a character, when there is a pause in the speech or when the two sentences are clearly distinct in meaning.
The space between the characters is usually the same, compounds syllables are not written closer than the other ones, even if the word is perceived as a compound.
Due to its logographic nature, Qihep script makes a very limited use of punctuation. There is no equivalent for a comma, a full stop, a semicolon, and so on.
Some soundless characters are used, however, with the role of punctuation marks:
A soundless character is usually inserted at the end of an entire speech period, when it is perceived that this period has reached to a defined end in meaning. Usually the next period has something clearly new to express.
Direct speech is written between two soundless characters, that are comparable to our inverted commas.
Qihep can be easily transcribed using the Latin script. Trascription is based on the phonemes of the languages with no regard for the nature of the characters used in the logographic script.
This is the trascription used:
The macron ¯ above letters marks long vowels. The letter q represents the labialized velar stop [kʷ], which is perceived as a single phoneme and thus transcribed. The affricate phoneme [ʦ] is perceived as a single sound, but as it counts as two regarding the syllabic structure, it is transcribed with two letters ts to remember its phomenic weight.
Differently from the rules of the logographic script, in the transcription words are separated according to their meaning. Compound words are thus written together to facilitate comprehension. Capitalization is optional, since it has no meaning in a logographic script. Transcribed words are usually capitalized at the beginning of a new paragraph or when expressing a proper name to facilitate comprehension.
The transcription preserves the Qihep use of underline, when a word is written with logograms, which are used for their sound and not for their meaning:
For educational purpose in books, transcribed compounded words can be shown with their syllables separated by a dot, ∙, to avoid confusion in students, who may not recognize the syllable boundary.
This is usually called the educational syllabicated transcription.
Examples in this grammar are usually given only in transcribed form.
A system was also devised to easily transcribe Qihep using the Cyrillic script. This kind of transcription is based on the phonemes of the language too, with no regard for the nature of the characters used in the logographic script.
This is the trascription used:
The rules used are the same as for the Latin trascription:
- Ул Маскыва бим фа неч
- I must go to Moscow
The Cyrillic transcription is a possibility, but it will never be used again in this grammar.