The Dvarsh language is written with twenty-two characters that function as both letters and syllabary, depending on context. Each symbol, standing alone, is also a word in its own right. There are, additionally, six vowel symbols used with the main forms in their function as letters. The diagram shown here, the name of which (seen in the lower right) transliterates as “Jayela,” is the pattern by which young dvarsh learn their glyphs. An approximate translation of “Jayela” is “knowledge of shape and shadow.”
Dvarsh characters were inspired by plant forms: leaves, thorns, berries, buds. Written lines may go left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, or whatever; one always reads in the direction “the vine grows.” My Jayela is drawn left to right, the orientation most familiar to me as a native Anglophone.
A caution to observe about my transliterations is that the Dvarsh have no practice of capitalization. Any capital letters in transliterations should be recognized as part of my interpretation. Admittedly, the line to walk is often fine. The Dvarsh use the same word written exactly the same way for the name of their civilization, the name of their common tongue, and as both the scientific and colloquial terms for their species. Thus, in rendering a sentence like, “The dvarsh woman speaks Dvarsh as fluently as any among the Dvarsh, as her typically dvarsh appearance might suggest,” English convention requires decisions about when and when not to capitalize that simply do not trouble these folk.
The twenty-two glyphs used for standard Dvarsh survive from an original set of 121 (called the “Jaz’zl,” or “knowledge of light). In fact, some clans still use the Jaz’zl for representing their historical clan dialects, reserving the Jayela solely to depict Standard. Jayela and its six vowel innovations rose with the development of Standard as a lingua franca among the clans umpteen centuries ago.
A very few clans use archaic writing systems unrelated to the Jaz’zl for works and records in their ancestral familial tongues. One of these provided the basic Dvarsh numerals. Here are numerals 0 through 9:
While they have possessed printing technology for thousands of years, the written tradition of their language and its several familial dialects has remained calligraphic, and calligraphy is valued as one of the highest of Dvarsh high arts.
Copyright © 2017 Robert Stikmanz (unless otherwise noted)