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On the possible designing of some new letters

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:52 am
by William
I have recently had an idea that if there could be added a new symbol, which looks like a letter and can be spoken as a sound, that new words could be produced.

This symbol would look something like a letter, but be none of Latin, Greek or Cyrillic but could mix in with them.

If the new letter were used with vowels like E then new words common across the European Union could be made and they could be spoken or shouted as well as written down.

Let me use * for the letter in this discussion. It would not look like a * in a real implementation.

A word such as *E could mean Danger from Electricity.

In England, there are many people who have come from some of those eastern European countries which are members of the European Union and not all of those people understand signs which are in English.

Also, in an emergency one cannot shout zig zag line in red meaning electricity danger.

I am thinking that perhaps the signs would be as they are at present yet the new word could be added in large letters at the top right. So the new word would be an addition to the text already on the sign, not a replacement for it.

I am thinking that if a vowel set common to many languages were used then words for dangers due to electricity, biohazard and so on could be generated.

I have been trying to think what such a letter would look like.

I have looked at the Unicode code charts for Latin, Greek and Cyrillic available from the http://www.unicode.org/charts web page.

I am thinking that it would be a new consonant or consonant cluster. The reason being that, from my limited knowledge of languages, it seems that adding E would make a word that might (and here I need advice) be naturally pronounced much the same by people with a variety of native languages.

I am thinking that perhaps the sound could be something like ZH so that *E would be pronounced ZHEH, as one syllable, which, shouted in an emergency, might be quite effective.

Yet maybe linguists could advise as one would not want to use as an international word for DANGER a word which meant SAFETY or something like that in another language.

I am thinking that a second such new letter might be useful for some signs which are not signs about danger, so as to make new international words for purposes such as showing the route to a railway station on signs and which words could also be spoken when asking directions.

I have tried to think what shape such new letters would take, as capital letters. It is quite an interesting exercise and thus far I have not managed to think of a new design.

I thought of what could be produced starting with a vertical on the left. There are already B, D, E, F, H, maybe I, K, L, M, N, P and R. The Greek alphabet has Γ and Π and the Cyrillic alphabet has various others, including Ю which I feel is a very stylish design.

For a letter to be used for directions to the railway station and so on, a round letter might be suitable. For warning signs, a letter with a harsh look, like a zig zag line might well be more appropriate.

So, I am wondering, how can one design new letters which could be used with the vowels of a Latin, Greek or Cyrillic font, so that the new letters are both clear designs and also distinct in design from all of the existing letters of the Latin, Greek and Cyrillic alphabets?

William Overington

27 December 2007