MediaGlyphs is aimed at being just a writing system, with a simple and logical grammar and intuitive glyphs (easy to understand, easy to distinguish).
Its purpose is to preserve the different spoken languages of the world while at the same time to allow inter-language (written) communication.
The glyphs can hence be read aloud or thought in every language.
a speaker of English would read/think "listen" or "hear", a Chinese speaker would probably see it as "tīng jiàn" (听见 or 聽見), a Spanish "oir" and so on and so forth.
use the user's mother tongue to access the glyphs. When the English speaker types "hear", the above glyph pops up.
There is hence no need for a specific pronunciation of MG, being MG primarily a written system.
Nevertheless the desire could arise to have a standard pronunciation of each glyph. Several motives could be imagined:
As naming scheme for the mediaglyphs: the pronunciation scheme is currently used by some glyph-developers to unambiguously refer to a certain glyph
Shortcut input of text (why typing "listen" or "ascoltare" when few keystrokes could do the same job, provided that those are learned?)
Communication vis-à-vis, face to face. In the absence of a computer (desktop, laptop, pda) two people who know MG could still communicate by voice if they had a standard pronunciation scheme for the glyphs/words they know. In particular, a standard pronunciation of the glyphs could be employed for communication with sense-impaired people.
For fun, to speak a novel and completely neutral language
To communicate with people who are blind-deaf-mute
But let's stress once more that the standard MG pronunciation is provided only for the people that desire it. There is absolutely no need to learn it or to use it.
Now that the necessary disclaimer and warning have been issued, the fact you are still reading means you are interested in how does the pronunciation scheme works and how was it crafted.
The standard pronunciation scheme
On the MG website, all glyphs are clickable, and lead to an explanation page that contains translations of their meaning in many languages.
Those pages also include the standard pronunciation. For example, clicking on the above mentioned
you'll be able to identify at the bottom of the page two coloured icons:
Those two represent the standard pronunciation attached to the concept "listen": "dolpos".
"dolpos" can hence be pronounced instead than "hear", "oir", "tīng jiàn" (听见).
Those icons have many levels of super-imposed information:
A pronunciation written in Latin letters, in this case "dolpos".
The same written in Devanagari (script used by most languages of India).
The same written in Katakana (the characters used in Japan to transliterate foreign words).
The same written in the Arabic script.
The coloured shapes (in this case circles, in other cases you'll see stars, triangles and squares) that are an alternative way of writing "dolpos" using colours and shapes. So "dolpos" can be written in a coloured and compact way as
The musical score representing the musical rendering of "dolpos". It allows to render words in music: singing, humming or playing a musical instrument.
contains more information about that aspect.
In music, "dolpos" becomes:
The following sample sentence is written in MG, English translation and MG pronunciation (with latin characters and MG colour shapes):
If you are familiar with the Japanese language, you'll realize that the pronunciation scheme (or the colourshapes) are to the mediaglyphs what hiragana is to kanji (kanji are Japanese ideograms, they can be written with hiragana, a phonetic writing system; for example, books for children have hiragana printed over the kanji - called furigana - as aid to the learning).
The kanji hold the meaning, the hiragana hold the sound.
"How was it done, why these sounds, how do I pronounce them?"
Many constructed languages suffer from a serious defect: they are difficult to pronounce for usually large groups of people.
To avoid this, extremely simple phonetics (choice of sounds) and phonology (how the sounds are combined to give words) were chosen for the MG pronunciation scheme.
Every glyph is pronounced with two syllables
Each syllable is of CV or CVC structure (consonant-vowel or consonant-vowel-consonant)
If your language has only CV syllable structure (e.g. Japanese - where only CVn (final nasal) is allowed), just attach a vowel in the end of all CVC syllables. The vowel you attach should always be the same, to avoid confusion, but can be anything. So for example "dolpos" could be pronounced "doloposo" or "doluposu" or "dolaposa".... without negatively influencing comprehension. There would be no ambiguity.
As a matter of fact, you could even pronounce it "doruposu" or "toruposu", read on.
There are only 4 initials, in other words only four consonants could occupy the first position of each syllable. They are only found at the beginning of the syllable, never at the end, so there is no problem in scanning, in understanding where syllables begin or end.
The 4 initial sounds are "p" "d" "k" and "y" (same as in the English words
"put", "door", "key", "yes").
These were chosen accordingly: nearly all languages of the world have the "bilabial, dental/alveolar and velar stops" (i.e. sounds like "p"/"b", "t"/"d", "k"/"g". The semivowel approximant "y" (in the International Phonetic Alphabet - IPA - it would be written /j/) is not as universal but still very common.
Why "p" and not "b"? Actually it's the same, since there is only one of them it's indifferent if you pronounce it voiced or voiceless ("b" or "p"). As long as you remain more or less consistent, the person listening to you would have no problems understanding.
In the same way as an Englishman can understand a French speaking English even if the latter mispronounces the "th" sounds. It is a consistent change, an adaptation of the English phonetic system to the French one.
The pronunciations "dolpos" or "tolpos" or "dolbos" or "tolbos"... are all equivalent.
There are only 4 vowels (compare to English: 12, Spanish: 5, Hungarian: 14). These are "a" "i" "u" "o", vowels most commonly found in world languages.
("a" like in English "bAth", "u" like "pUt", "i" like "In", "o" like "dOg").
Of course what was said for the initial consonant is valid for the vowels. If you pronounce "u" like the "u" in "rUde" instead, no problem, it would still be clearly distinguished from the other vowels and hence understandable without ambiguity.
The syllable could be CV (also called "open"), in this case there is no "final consonant". Otherwise, in the "closed" (CVC) syllables, you would find one of the three finals: "n" "s" or "l".
Again the same principle of universality was kept in mind when choosing these.
Almost all languages have at least one nasal consonant, and almost always it is /n/ (but if your language has /m/ and no /n/, just use /m/. It doesn't matter how the nasal is pronounced. Most Chinese, English and Japanese speakers would pronounce it as velar nasal /ŋ/ (like the "ng" in English "kiNG" or Chinese "waNG").
While nearly all languages have at least one liquid, only roughly 70% of them has more than one. That's the reason for having one in MG. Be that "/l/" or "/r/", velar r or trilled r.... as your mother tongue has. A Japanese speaker would hence most probably pronounce "doruposu", a Spanish "dolposo", a Chinese "tou lu po su"....
Most languages have at least one fricative consonant. Around 80% of them have /s/ (or similar sound, again it doesn't matter if you pronounce it as the "s" in "roSe" or as the "s" in "Sun"), hence its inclusion.
That makes 4 initials * 4 vowels * (3+1) (3 finals + no final) = 64 possibilities, 64 syllables made with only 7 consonants and 4 vowels.
This allows a theoretical maximum of 4096 bisyllabic words (more than enough: MG basic vocabulary is comprised by less than 2000 glyphs), all pronounceable and clearly understandable by the great majority of humanity (and since the system is flexible in its pronunciation, it practically covers 100% of human languages).
Further information about musical rendering, colourshapes, composite words and core vocabulary is available in other pages.
Also a tutorial on pronunciation will be added, together with audio files.
Wed May 8 01:54:21 BST 2002
- | - Last modified:
Fri Mar 12 19:08:53 CET 2010