The Orthography of Sidaan

The orthography of Sidaan is one of my favorites, because it looks sleek to me. Sleek like a shark. I thank you for coming to this page to take a look at it.

Sidaan is written using an alphabetic script, which itself is not very different from other alphabetic scripts. In Sidaan it's called Šéłésta. The script is written from left to right, with punctuation intervening where it needs to (see below for more info). I think the script is pretty phonemic. Most importantly, I think it works. It writes like a nightmare, but it reads like a lazy, coconut-laden daydream. I still can't read the scripts of Gweydr, Zhyler, Epiq, Njaama, or Sathir very well, but I'm pretty good with this one. I think it's because at least one of the letters looks like a staple. I'll leave it to you to guess which one that is—I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Without further ado, I give you the script of Sidaan, presented in Sidaan alphabetical order (as modified by the Gweydr—e.g., ŋ used to come before ñ. Not anymore, though, sadly...).


Alphabet

Letter

Allophone

Example

Romanization

a a anima anima, "red moon"

k k ken ken, "two"
  g hogu hogu, "ear"

t t tol tol, "one"
  d kadu kaduh, "child"

p p pañéf pañéf, "to give"
  b lemba lemba, "girl"

o o ofux ofux, "tongue"

m m masa masa, "bucket"

n n nasqa nasqa, "to help"

ñ ñ ñélu ñélu, "moon"

ŋ ŋ ŋazu ŋazu, "knee"

ṅ ṅolf olf, "bark"

í í ítu ítu, "rope"

i i indor indor, "person"

f f fluna fluna, "grass"
  v čívo čívo, "root"

s s sida sida, "mountain"
  z čívo ízu, "cave"

š š ščémbo ščémbo, "nose"
  ž ružé ružé, "leaf"

č č čłéh čłéh, "to cry"
  j łíñjé łíñjé, "to speak"

l l laf laf, "nine"

ł ł łémba łémba, "forest"

r r rol rol, "language"

x x xespa xespa, "boy"
  ğ oğa oğa, "wolf"

u u ułí ułí, "house"

q q qiŋ q, "it"
  ġ loṅġu loṅġu, "to eat"

é é éya éya, "all"

e e esklet esklet, "man"

h h histron histron, "woman"
  C* ñékka ñékka, "animal"
  h** qendeh qendeh, "tooth"

*This usage is explained in rule 6 of the Consonantal Allophonic Variation subsection of the phonology section. Essentially, the orthographic h becomes the first member of a geminate consonant when it occurs before another consonant.

**Also referred to in rule 6 of the Consonantal Allophonic Variation subsection of the phonology section, the consonant h is lost word-finally, but is retained orthographically, and in the romanization.


A Quick Note Before Moving On

There are two letters above that, when occurring as a geminate, produce an entirely new phoneme. It didn't seem to fit in above, so I'm putting it here. When l and r occur as historical geminates, they are pronounced as y and w, respectively, per rule 4 of the Consonantal Allophonic Variation subsection of the phonology section. Below is what these guys look like in action:

Letter

Allophone

Example

Romanization

y y čéyaq čéyaq, "snow"

w w tawo tawo, "head"

So if you see the letters y or w in the romanization, now you know where they came from, and why they don't occur word-initially or word-finally.


Punctuation

The Sidaan punctuation is not as advanced as the Gweydr punctuation system, and they raz them about that (which is kind of ironic, all things considered). The system is simple and neat. Tidy, one might call it. There are two marks, and one is just a doubling of the other. In fact, there's really just one mark, though we can treat it like two. This is them:

The punctuation of Sidaan...visually!

On the left, you have the way you separate sentences or clauses; on the right, the way you separate words. And that's all there is to it. You use one cross to separate words from each other, and two contiguously to indicate the end of a sentence (or the beginning, if it's the first sentence of a document). There's nothing like a comma, a semi-colon, a question mark, an exclamation mark, quotation marks, or anything like that. This is all there is, and it does the job.


Number System

The written number system of Sidaan (as well as the concept of zero) was borrowed wholesale from Gweydr. The numerals themselves have been modified to look more like Sidaan characters, and there may be a couple slight differences, but the two systems are pretty much identical. The system is base ten, and below are the numerals zero through nine listed in ascending order from left to right:

The Sidaan numerals 0 through 9.

Below is an example of the numbers in action: my favorite five-digit number, 19,480:

The punctuation of Sidaan...visually!

Compare the above to the numerals of Gweydr for additional fun. Use textual evidence to support your thesis. How do these numerals engage the five senses? Etc.


Conclusion

"Leave no stone unturned," said Roh to Mezmikizzetah. "Let all know that on this day, every stone and tree, every bird and leaf, every man, woman and child, has been, by my decree, numbered and accounted for. Now if Shembezh of Torkathal should ask of you, 'Master! Have the snakes in the desert numbers, that we may account for them?', you may answer him, 'Yes, Shembezh of Torkathal, son of Ilumixef, slayer of the Beast of Woddom: They are numbered and accounted for, by the decree of Roh, Emperor of the Evening Mists, Vanquisher of the Immortal Qau, Friend to the Living Lie'. Go forth, Mezmikizzetah, Decipherer of Puzzles! Go forth and let none who pass live another moment in ignominious ignorance, lest we be cast like thieves before the Eye of Ahtol!"

Mezmikizzetah bowed low and replied, "Yes, my lord. This I shall do, as you have decreed."

Thus endeth Book the Fifty-Third of the Palkomaminaan. Insert coin for Book the Fifty-Fourth: The Economics of Cih: Swallower of Shame.

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