Shavian alphabet

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The Shavian alphabet (also known as Shaw alphabet) is an alphabet conceived as a way to provide simple, phonetic orthography for the English language to replace the difficulties of the conventional spelling. It was posthumously funded by and named after Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Shaw set three main criteria for the new alphabet: it should be (1) at least 40 letters; (2) to be as phonetic as possible (that is, letters should have a 1:1 correspondence to sounds); and (3) be distinct from the Latin alphabet to avoid the impression that the new spellings were simply "misspellings".



The Shavian alphabet consists of three types of letters: tall, deep and short. Short letters are vowels, liquids (r, l) and nasals; tall letters (except Yea 𐑘 and Hung 𐑙) are unvoiced consonants. A tall letter rotated 180°, with the tall part now extending below the baseline, becomes a deep letter, representing equivalent voiced consonant (except Haha 𐑣).

There are no separate capital or lowercase letters as in the Roman alphabet; instead of using capitalization to mark proper names, a "naming dot" (·) is placed before a name. All other punctuation and word spacing is like in conventional orthography.

Spelling in Androcles follows the phonetic distinctions of British Received Pronunciation except for explicitly indicating vocalic "r" with the above ligatures. Most dialectical variations of English pronunciation can be regularly produced from this spelling, but those who do not make certain distinctions, particularly in the vowels, find it difficult to spontaneously produce the canonical spellings. For instance, most North American dialects merge 𐑭 /ɑː/ and 𐑪 /ɒ/. Canadian English, as well as many American dialects (particularly in the west and near the Canadian border), also merge these phonemes with 𐑷 /ɔː/, which is known as the cot-caught merger. In addition, many American dialects merge 𐑧 /ɛ/ and 𐑦 /ɪ/ before nasal consonants.

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