Linear-42: An Emergent Orthography

The current global pandemic and resultant social deprivation has inspired a wide range of quarantine-induced fuckery. This project is one such example and should be understood as a mere expression of prodromal psychosis.

Linear-42 is an alternative writing system that I am currently developing for the General American English dialect (GenAm). At present, the system expands the Classical Latin Alphabet to include multigraphs for English phonemes that were not previously represented. Diacritics have also been introduced to signal lexical stress (accent), a much-needed feature in the orthography of written English. Additional grammatical conventions have also been developed to address the plethora of issues that tend to arise within a project of this nature.

The creation of this system was largely inspired by my Spanish-speaking wife’s ongoing bewilderment with the pronunciation of written English. As such, Linear-42 primarily attempts to improve upon the graphemic representation of GenAm’s phonological units, though it is my hope that this script will one day function as an official ESOL learning tool.

Critiques and suggestions for improvement are welcomed in the comments field. The following sections detail the orthographic features of the system thus far.

PHONETIC ALPHABET

a
/ä/
e
/ɛ/
i
/i/
u
/u/
o
/o̞/
aa
/æ/
uh
/ə/
ei
/e/
ih
/ɪ/
uw
/ʊ/
ua
/ʌ/
aw
/ɔ/
ah
/ɑ/
ar
/ɑ˞/
ur
/ɚ/
or
/ɔ˞/
ng
/ŋ/
n
/n/
m
/m/
g
/g/
k
/k/
d
/d/
t
/t/
b
/b/
p
/p/
j
/d͡ʒ/
c
/t͡ʃ/
xz
/ʒ/
x
/ʃ/
z
/z/
s
/s/
h
/h/
thz
/ð/
th
/θ/
v
/v/
f
/f/
y
/j/
rr
/ɾ/
r
/ɹ/
l
/l/
w
/w/
hw
/ʍ/
The pronunciation of each phoneme is indicated by the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) character displayed beneath it. To listen to the intended pronunciation of the phonemes, please refer to the audio charts in the “Pronunciation Guides” section of this post.

Lexical Stress
The grave accent mark (`) is always placed before the stressed syllable of a word (Example: abandon = uh`baanduhn) except when the stressed syllable is the first syllable of the word, in which case it is not marked. The apostrophe (‘) was initially utilized for this function but was abandoned due to its traditional use to indicate contractions and possessives.

Not-a-Digraph Rule
When a pair of letters that normally denote a digraph in this system appear in a word where they should be read separately, a caret symbol (^) is placed between the two letters to indicate that they are not a digraph (Example: power = pa^wur).

Possessives and Contractions

Case/FormStandardLinear-42Example
Possessive ‘s‘zfather’s = fawthzur’z
Contraction‘ll‘lI’ll = Ai’l
Contraction‘ve‘vcould’ve = kuhld’v
Contraction‘re‘urthey’re = thzei’ur
Contraction‘s‘zwho’s = hu’z
Contraction‘t‘twasn’t = wuhzn’t
Contraction‘d‘d who’d = hu’d

Example Text
Lihniur-42 ihz uhn aw`turnuhtihv raitihng sihstuhm thzaat ai aam kuruhntli dih`veluhpihng for thzuh Jenuruhl Uh`meruhkuhn Ihnglihx daiuhlekt (GenAm). Aat prezuhnt, thzuh sihstuhm ihks`paandz thzuh Klaasihkuhl Laatihn Aalfuhbet tu ihn`klud mualti`graafs for Ihnglihx founimz thzaat wur naht priviuhsli repruh`zentuhd. Daihuh`krihtuhks haav awlsouw bihn ihntruh`dust tu sihnnuhl leksihkuhl stres (aaksent), uh muac-niduhd fitur ihn thzi or`thahgruhfi uav rihtuhn Ihnglihx. Uh`dihxuhnuhl gruhmaatuhkuhl kuhn`venxuhnz haav awsouw bihn dih`veluhpt tu aadres thzuh plethuruh uav ihxuz thzaat tend tu uhraihz wihthzihn uh prahjekt uav thzihs neihcur.

IPA Transcription
ˈlɪniər-42 ɪz ən ɔlˈtɜrnətɪv ˈraɪtɪŋ ˈsɪstəm ðæt aɪm ˈkɜrəntli dɪˈvɛləpɪŋ fɔr ðə ˈʤɛnərəl əˈmɛrəkən ˈɪŋglɪʃ ˈdaɪəˌlɛkt (GenAm). æt ˈprɛzənt, ðə ˈsɪstəm ɪkˈspændz ðə ˈklæsɪkəl ˈlætən ˈælfəˌbɛt tu ɪnˈklud ˌmʌltiˈgræfs fɔr ˈɪŋglɪʃ ˈfoʊnimz ðæt wɜr nɑt ˈpriviəsli ˌrɛprəˈzɛntəd. ˌdaɪəˈkrɪtəks hæv ˈɔlsoʊ bɪn ˌɪntrəˈdust tu ˈsɪgnəl ˈlɛksɪkəl strɛs (ˈæksɛnt), ə mʌʧ-ˈnidəd ˈfiʧər ɪn ði ɔrˈθɑgrəfi ʌv ˈrɪtən ˈɪŋglɪʃ. əˈdɪʃənəl grəˈmætəkəl kənˈvɛnʃənz hæv ˈɔlsoʊ bɪn dɪˈvɛləpt tu ˈæˌdrɛs ðə ˈplɛθərə ʌv ˈɪʃuz ðæt tɛnd tu ɪˈmɜrʤ aʊt ʌv ə ˈprɑʤɛkt ʌv ðɪs ˈneɪʧər.

Pronunciation Guides
IPA Vowel Chart w/ Audio
IPA Pulmonic Consonant Chart w/ Audio
R-colored Vowels
English to IPA

[Last Revised: 06.02.2021]


Featured image by Chris Hardy on Unsplash

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