Lwaitel writing


Phonetic system

The writing system is sort of kind of an abugida. It's written left-to-right, with spaces between the words. There are letters representing consonants, which take different forms depending on whether the consonant is at the beginning or end of the syllable (the letter is mirrored left-to-right to indicate that it's at the end of the syllable). Diacritics are used for /j/ and /w/, and colors are used to represent the vowels; these are described below.

There's a cursive version of the script and a print version. The cursive version is the most common, and is the standard version, used in handwriting and in print. The print version is used when the material being used to write can't do cursive, such as stencils, typewriters, and old computers; it can also be used for stylistic effect. If JavaScript is enabled, you should see a thing in the upper-right to toggle which font is used.

When a word is derived from another word or words, sound changes are not usually represented in the writing, except deletion of significant parts of the word. There are also some other irregularities, which are shown in the lexicon.

The letters, in alphabetical order:

/p/ a loop high above the baseline, with a line that curves down and to the rightsame as the cursive version a mirror image of the initial versionsame as the cursive version
/t/ like a backwards cursive lowercase dlike a lowercase b like a lowercase cursive dlike a lowercase d
/k/ a tall loop that ends over the baseline; a new line starts above the end of the looplike a capital L a mirror image of the initial versionlike a backwards capital L
/m/ a line starts at the top, angles down to the right, then down to the left, then horizontally to the right; sort of like a Z or greater-than or equal signsame as the cursive version mirror image of the initial version; like a less-than or equal signsame as the cursive version
/ŋ/ the line turns to go straight down, then there's a loop, then it goes back up at an anglesame as the cursive version mirror image of the initial versionsame as the cursive version ngú
/mp/ like an upside-down flat-topped three with a loopsame as the cursive version ímp
/nt/ ánt
/ŋk/ like a backwards L with a loop at the cornersame as the cursive version únk
/h/ a large loop above the linea circle
No consonant , a short, curved stroke going down then to the right, a small loopa dot , a short, curved stroke going to the right and then up, a small loop, same as initiala dot, same as initial yau

Each syllable has either one initial letter, one final letter, or both. The "no consonant" letters are used in some circumstances described below. The forms (initial without a loop) and (final without a loop) can only be used at the beginning resp. end of a stressed syllable or of a word.

If a word contains both stressed and unstressed syllables, then the stressed syllable is underlined. In cursive, this underline connects to the letters in the unstressed syllables, which are written slightly lower than the stressed syllables.


A word's color depends on the vowel of its stressed syllable. Diphthongs are treated as sequences of a vowel and a glide, so, for instance, a word containing /ai/ would be colored red, and would contain the diacritic for /j/.

VowelNormal colorOther colors that can be usedExample
/a/RedOrange, magenta, pink, brown hwánt "circle"
/i/GreenLight or dark green, yellow kuník "cliff"
/u/BlueCyan húli "big"
No stressed syllableBlackGray, white lenk "beside"

Words representing colors may be written in the color they represent, e.g., híleng may be written as  (purple) instead of  (green). In poetry, semi-stressed function words may be written in black.

Glides and no-consonant letters

The sound /j/ is represented by a short vertical line below a consonant symbol, and the sound /w/ is represented by a small circle above a consonant symbol. When these are before the vowel in a syllable, they're placed on the initial letter; when these are after the vowel in a syllable (part of a diphthong), they're placed on the final letter. If there is no other initial/final consonant to put them on, an initial or final (respectively) no-consonant letter is used. (If the initial or final form can't be used due to where the letter is in the word, the loop form is used instead.)

Unstressed /i/ and /u/ are represented as if they were /əj/ and /əw/, respectively (that is,  and ). The sounds /lʲ/ and /lʷ/ are represented by the letter for /l/ with the diacritic for /j/ or /w/ respectively.

If a syllable doesn't have any consonants, including glides, then a no-consonant letter is used, chosen by where the letter is in the word. If it's at the beginning of the word or of the stressed syllable, the form (initial) is used; at the end of the word (when it contains more than one letter), (final); otherwise, (loop).

The prefix un-

The prefix un- 'not, opposite' has its own dedicated character, a blue forward slash (). When this prefix is used, the rest of the letters in the word are written in black and not underlined. In cursive, a line continues from the top of the slash over the rest of the characters in the word, like a square root symbol.

Try it

Type some text using the romanization described in the phonology section, including hyphens for syllable separators, to see what it looks like in the Lwaitel script. (If you can't type í or ú, just double the letter.) (Combinations of letters that can't be represented in the writing system won't show up. This will assume that the word is spelled phonetically and does not derive from another word. Use / for the un- prefix.)



Lwaitel can be written entirely with the phonetic system described above. However, it is often written with logographs. Only some words have logographs; the rest must be written in the phonetic system, as well as affixes.


.a long vertical lineseparates sentences (not used at the ends of paragraphs); used regardless of the type of sentence and regardless of any other punctuation (e.g., emotion indicators don't replace it)
,a shorter vertical line, at the top of the line of textcomma; indicates an intentional pause in speech; used at the end of a dependent clause that does not end a sentence, and between noun phrases (or between a verb phrase and a noun phrase) when the second phrase doesn't start with a demonstrative
(, )lines the same height as the commas, but with circles next to the top; opening has a circle on the right, looking like a p; closing has a circle on the left, looking like a 9 or lowercase q in some fontsencloses subclauses, quotations, complex noun phrases, and mathematical (sub)expressions, when the author feels that it's helpful for clarity; does not include the preposition, conjunction, or particle (hem, mu, hwel) that starts the phrase; if this is used, a comma is not used in the same place
,,two Lwaitel commas (high short vertical lines)indicates pausing or hesitation
-a dashindicates omitted parts of a quotation, or that the speaker was interrupted
Xan xindicates that the sentence is not intended to be taken seriously, for instance, jokes and sarcasm. Placed discreetly in the corner of satirical works and fictional works that could easily be mistaken for nonfiction. Red is sarcasm and satire, black is other non-serious or fictional things. Can be placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, often at the end.
a smiley face, with just eyes and a mouthif red, indicates excitement; if green, indicates laughter; if blue, indicates calmness; if black, indicates generic happiness. Placed at the beginning of the sentence or clause.
a frowny face, with just eyes and a mouthif red, indicates anger; if green, indicates sadness; if blue, indicates boredom; if black, indicates generic unhappiness. Placed at the beginning of the sentence or clause.
`~`~a squiggly line under the wordindicates uncertainty; placed under the uncertain part; blue indicates that the speaker is asking for confirmation [TODO the underline is too high here]
a rectangle around the wordindicates emphasis; red indicates the introduction of a new word, character, or concept

Foreign words

Foreign words are often written in their original writing system, with the native Lwait transliteration above them in smaller text, e.g. English. Speakers of Lwaitel also tend to try to pronounce foreign words as in their original language, rather than fitting everything into Lwaitel's phonology.

Names of places outside Lwait are generally considered foreign words, whereas places inside Lwait aren't (even if they're named after some other language). Similarly, names of people who were named in Lwait are considered non-foreign, and names of other people are considered foreign unless the name derives from Lwaitel. Other words are considered foreign if they entered the language recently or aren't used that much.

Old writing system

Originally, the writing system worked a bit differently. Differences from the current system:

Type some text here to see what it looks like in both systems (numbers and punctuation not supported, syllable breaks required):