|9,600||1400 ± 200||–||–||Lhenazi handwriting|
I walked to Fremont Coffee yesterday evening and spent 2 hours there creating a writing system for my new conlang Lhenazi. It's a syllabary, which means that each "letter" is actually a consonant plus a vowel sound. So you can't write "t" by itself; you have to write "ta," "to," etc. This works well for languages that only allow simple syllable structures made up of consonant-vowel pairs. Once you start allowing complex clusters like English's "strengths," a syllabary just isn't going to cut it.
At 9 PM, Fremont Coffee closed and kicked me out. I asked the barista if there were any other cafes open later, but she said there weren't. I remembered a Tully's (one that their own website doesn't know about — strange, no?) on the way back home, so I walked over there to check it out. But it had closed at 9 too.
I called up my mom for Yelp "ground support" and discovered that Caffe Ladro has a location open until 11 PM across the street from Fremont Coffee. What a lying barista! ;) So I walked back to Caffe Ladro (I was walking for the exercise anyway...) and enjoyed myself some more time finishing up the script for Lhenazi. I also enjoyed me some delicious cranberry pecan muffin made at the> cafe. Mmm!
What took so long at these cafes? "Evolving" my syllabary! Syllabaries (and other writing systems, too) often come from little pictograms that eventually begin to stand for the sound of the item drawn instead of the item itself. So I developed my script by drawing little pictures for all 52 possible syllables, then wrote drew those pictures repeatedly until they "eroded" into abstract, simple shapes. It sounds tedious, but it was actually surprisingly fun. I did the whole thing in 4 hours!