Alternative Writing Systems
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

There are those for whom writing is an art rather than a necessity.  They find serenity in the calm orderliness of beautiful lettering, a peaceful satisfaction in the elegant sweep of a Copperplate capital.  Along with this comes an appreciation of diverse forms of writing — the tranquil brushstrokes of traditional Chinese calligraphy, or the imaginative appeal of a fantasy inscription.  As with fonts, each different form of writing carries its own mood and flavor, and suggests its own cultural and historical context, whether real or imagined.

Most people give very little thought to writing systems.  We learn one — the Latin Alphabet, for English speakers — and that suffices for all of our everyday needs.  Yet a single language need not be constrained to just one writing system.  Braille and Morse Code, for instance, are two familiar examples of alternative ways of representing our alphabet.

J.R.R. Tolkien was very fond of languages.  He created the Tengwar writing system to represent his Elvish languages.  It is also possible to use Tengwar to write English, should you be so inclined.  And why not, indeed?  Would you like to be able to write in a style that looks Elvish, yet in reality is perfectly understandable English?

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