Category Archives: Logograms

Gyaru-moji — 2000 AD?, Japan

Gyaru-moji is sort of like a Japanese Leet: a variant orthography for Japanese.  Unlike Leet, which was developed in the predominantly male hacker culture, Gyaru-moju (which means “girl characters”) appears to have been developed by schoolgirls.  In both cases, by … Continue reading

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Pau Cin Hau Logograms — 1902 AD, Mayanmar

In 1902 AD, a man named Pau Cin Hau had a dream where the characters of a logographic script were revealed to him.  He also developed the Laipian religion, and his script was used extensively in liturgical works.  Laipian actually … Continue reading

Posted in inventor known, Logograms, National pride, now ceremonial, Rating: 3 "I did not know that" | 6 Comments

Naxi Dongba — 600AD? S. China

Much like Aztec and Mixtec, Naxi Dongba is a highly pictographic communication system.  Like Aztec and Mixtec, it’s almost not a writing system.  If you look at a picture of the writing, it looks more like what we think of … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, now ceremonial, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!" | 3 Comments

Tangut — 1036, China

Like King Sejong did four hundred years later with Korean, Emperor Li Yuanhao of the Tangut told one of his advisors to make him a new writing system.  Yeli Renrong did, and quickly.  Yuanhao must have been more forceful than … Continue reading

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Classic Yi — 700? 1485? AD, China

For a very long time, the Yi people used a logographic script to write their language. Their tradition says that it was created by someone named Aki in around 700 AD, but the earliest record is from 1485 AD. Mostly … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!" | 1 Comment

Zetian characters — 690 AD, China

There was one female ruler of China, Wu Zetian, who, among other things, mandated use of around twenty new characters.  (These characters were presented to her by a junior relative, Zong Qinke, but she went along with it.) She took … Continue reading

Posted in government-mandated, inventor known, Logograms, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", significant female influence | 2 Comments

Sawndip — <689 AD, China

The Zhuang people of southern China have been using an augmented Chinese script for over 1300 years called Sawndip.  This writing system was used extensively in popular culture (songs, poems, ceremonies, and some literature) and religion, but not governmental documents. … Continue reading

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

Nushu — 1300 AD?, China

While Hiragana and Hangul were considered “women’s scripts”, nobody actively prevented the men from using the script as well, and eventually the men came around.  However, in China, women were actively prevented from learning Chinese script, so they went underground … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, private or secret, Rating: 5 "Whoa!!", significant female influence, Syllabaries | 2 Comments

Chu nom — ~1200 AD, Vietnam

Like Japanese and Korean, Vietnam was under the cultural influence of China for a long time and thus started out by using the Chinese script.  Unlike Japanese and Korean, however, Vietnamese is not agglutinative — most of its words are … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!" | 1 Comment

Gugyeol — 950? AD, Korea

Gugyeol, also transliterated as Kwukyel,  and also sometimes called Tho, was developed to help convert Chinese literature into understandable Korean.  The Chinese characters and word order were preserved, but characters for word endings, particles, and some verb forms were tacked … Continue reading

Posted in Logograms, Rating: 4 "Huh, interesting!", Syllabaries | 3 Comments