Category Archives: Abjad

Orkhon — ~700 AD, Mongolia

Orkhon is also called Old Turkic or Göktürk script.  It was used mostly in Mongolia and Western China, but there are dialects that were used in Siberia (Yenisei) and Kazakstan. Orkhon is sometimes called Turkic Runes because of  their angular … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!" | 2 Comments

Mahajani — 1600 AD? <1850 AD?, India

Mahajani, like the Punjabi Landa, was used as a mercantile script (and is sometimes classified with Landa).  Unlike Punjabi Landa, which dispenses with vowels altogether, Mahajani is sort of like a sloppy alphabet.  It is possible to show a vowel … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Alphabet, mercantile script, Rating: 3 "I did not know that" | Leave a comment

Khitan scripts — 920 AD and 925 AD, Mongolia

Emperor Taizu of the Khitan (AKA Liao) people introduced a script in 920 AD for his nomadic Mongolian nation. They had been using Chinese script, but the Chinese script was  a poor fit for the Khitan language.  Spoken Khitan had … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, inventor known, language unknown, Logograms, previous script didn't quite work, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", Syllabaries, Undeciphered | 1 Comment

Sogdian — 200 AD, Uzbekistan

Sogdiana was an important nation on the Silk Road in Central Asia from around 400 BC to 1000 AD.  Sogdian traders went far and wide as merchants, similar to the Phoenicians; like the Phoenicians, they spread their language and their … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Alphabet, probably first in its area, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!" | 2 Comments

Meroitic — 150 BC, Sudan

The two Meroitic scripts seems like the bastard love children of Egyptian (one from the hieroglyphic, one from the Demotic) and Old Persian, and Old Persian was a bit of a bastard love-child itself. The script is sort of an … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Alphabet, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!", Syllabaries | 1 Comment

Demotic — 650 BC, Egypt

Demotic was significant in the history of language understanding, as it was one of the three scripts on the Rosetta Stone (along with Greek script and Egyptian hieroglyphics).  However, it is really only a font difference from hieratic (or hieroglyphics). … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Evolved slowly from parent, government-mandated, Logograms, Rating: 2 "Not all that interesting" | 1 Comment

Pahlavi — 150 BC, Iran

As a result of Alexander the Great tromping through Central Asia, Greek deposed Imperial Aramaic as the official language of the region.  However, although Alexander might have been great, didn’t have much staying power: he died at age 32.  His … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Evolved slowly from parent, Rating: 3 "I did not know that", stupid | 3 Comments

Syriac — 200 BC? 6 AD?, Syria

There are wildly different starting dates given for Syriac, a script descended from Aramaic and used, over time, to write several different languages.  I believe this has to do with Syriac script evolving slowly into a distinct script, Syriac spoken … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Evolved slowly from parent, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!" | 1 Comment

Hebrew — 300 BC, Israel

Hebrew is a difficult writing system to shoehorn into this blog format.  For starters, when did the Hebrew script come into existence?  Unlike Cree and Cherokee, which had very distinct release dates, the Hebrew script evolved over thousands of years.  … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!" | 2 Comments

Shorthand — <300 BC, Greece?

Shorthand — a form of writing that sacrifices accuracy and/or shared orthography for speed — is very old.  The earliest example of shorthand comes from Greece, and was sort of an inverse abugida: the vowels were primary, and consonants were … Continue reading

Posted in Abjad, Abugida, Alphabet, inventor known, Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!" | 3 Comments