Tuesday, March 23, 2010

[Baybayin] Calatagan Pot Inscription

The above image is of a Philippine pot, created around 1300 A.D. It's not Baybayin, but it's close. Note that it doesn't use Kavi's word construction rules (in particular, it doesn't use its vowel-cancellation method). Several characters are the same as Baybayin. But today I noticed something else.

Today, I noticed that the Kavi letter "A" appears to be there. Check out the side-by-side comparison I made last post. Compare the Kavi "A" with characters 1-4, 3-1, and 5-7. Yes, I know, 3-1 and 5-7 have kudlits. And yet the similarity is tantalizing.

So, completely guessing here, the letters appear to be:

3: I?-NU-MA-NI-*1-YA-YA
5: BA-*1-HA-DA-KI-NA-U?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Side by Side: Kavi, Baybayin, and Telegu

Here's a side-by-side comparison. I can sort-of see the family resemblence in several characters, noted in green.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pallava, Kavi, and Baybayin

There's a good Omniglot entry on Pallava, and an AncientScripts entry for Kawi.

Looking at Pallava, I can make out some character forms in Kavi... and Baybayin...

So, I wonder what it would feel like to write Baybayin in the Kavi style? Stacking characters in order to cancel vowels?

Kudlit or Kulitan?

AD 900: the Kavi script is alive and well on Manila.

AD 1300: Someone etches a Philippine script on a pot. I've got an image of it here, characters handily numbered.

It's similar to Baybayin, kudlits and all. Could easily be a parent script.

AD 1500: Baybayin was in use by the general population.

By the end of the 1600s Baybayin is moribund.

A few small and remote populations continue to write, including Tagbanwa, Buhid, Hanunóo, and Kapampangan: more or less versions of Baybayin. Tagbanwa, Hanunóo and Buhid appear to have evolved along similar lines, while Kapampangan uses fewer characters, but retains Kawi word construction rules. In many respects, Kapampangan seems to be midway between Kavi and Baybayin.

And some Filipino native writing has survived to the present day.

But between Tagalog and Ilocano speakers there are 65+ million people, versus perhaps 3 million using Kapampangan, and a few tens of thousands of people using the other surviving abugidas.

And so we come to the modernization problem: how best the Baybayin can speak in modern Tagalog and Ilocano.

I begin to understand. It's not a matter of stamping out the surviving scripts; it's a matter of re-establishing a script for Tagalog and Ilocano. And the place to start is with "classical" Baybayin.

Fortunately, the Filipino script was a continuum of writing styles and methods using similar characters. Different areas, and even perhaps different individuals, approached the problem in different ways, but fundamentally with the same character set.

This is not a place for invention, but rather, accommodation and patience, perhaps.

Baybayin - attempt #2 with font

So my preferred style of writing Baybayin has already changed.
Note an apparent error in the above sample: the "o" kudlit looks like "x". This appears to be an effect of the stylized kudlit in Paul Morrow's source font.

I kept the Bisaya /DA/ to use exclusively as /RA/.

I exchanged Paul Morrow's /NA/ with one with a shallower arc. Then, I got rid of the bare /N/, in exchange for the /NA/ with my kill-jot.

I modified the /SA/ to be a bit more like the Kapampangan version -- call it a 'modernization' -- but it's still recognizably the Baybayin /SA/. It's an intermediate stage between Paul Morrow's /SA/ and the Kapampangan one, then. In retrospect, I think that's a mistake, and I'm going to revert it.

I've tentatively started using a /HA/ with a shallow wave above it as /CHA/. Not sure about that one yet.

This morning, I composed my modified character set into a font. Since my font is almost entirely derivative, I retained Paul Morrow's name and copyright on it. Caveat: there's at least one bug to work out in it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Baybayin - attempt #1

I've been reading about Baybayin and Philippine writing systems in general. This post prompted me to think about "good" orthographical extension of the script. So, I decided to try my hand at writing it. I took Paul Morrow's useful reference pages, borrowed some beautiful Baybayin styles and adopted some conventions of my own. I'm already finding things I don't like about the way I did it, but it's a start.

Here's a sample of my writing style:

Then I was redirected to the sophisticated Kapampangan script, which is obviously related to Baybayin... and is still used today. The question pops up: is Baybayin relevant at all? Why turn back the clock to something which essentially died, when a thriving related script is here?

If anyone has the answer to that question, please share. I'm not abandoning Baybayin, I'm just trying to figure out what its reach should be, and how it should do the reaching.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tyro posts an empty message

So this is my third blog, mainly to have a place to put stuff and to reference other stuff. After my utter failure at keeping up my Ruby blog and my Flex blog, I figure something generalist would do better.

Worth a try.