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Primalfont

The Primalfont font enables Primal script to be typed on a standard keyboard using an English layout.  This lesson discusses how the font is used, and how it differs from written script.

Savant has created a Primal Script Conversion Tool to help translate between font codes, pidgin script, and pronunciation guide.  It's useful for practicing the font codes.

Font Codes

The Primalfont font enables Primal script to be produced on a keyboard.  The letters are mapped to the keys by the font codes in the charts below.  Pidgin script is used only in the first edition dictionary.  It is repeated here solely for reference, for people who own the book.  Don't bother to memorize it.

Letter ,a ,e ,i ,o ,u ,c ,w ,r ,y ,g ,b ,B
Font Code a e i o u c w r y g b B
Pidgin a e i o u c w r y gw gr gy
Sound a eh ih o uh uo ooh ur ee ohw oar oi
Letter ,C ,P ,F ,V ,S ,Z ,A ,E ,I ,O ,U ,G
Font Code C P F V S Z A E I O U G
Pidgin aw er ey ir or oy al el il ol ul gl
Sound auw air ay eer ar ii al el il all ul ohl
Letter ,W ,R ,Y ,p ,f ,v ,t ,d ,q ,Q ,x ,X
Font Code W R Y p f v T / t D / d q Q x X
Pidgin W R Y p f v T D q Q x X
Sound w r y p f v ts dz th dth sh zh
Letter ,j ,J ,s ,z ,k ,H ,h ,m ,n ,N L ,.
Font Code j J s z k H h m n N ,l / l / L .
Pidgin j J s z k H h m n N l .
Sound ch j s z k khh h m n ng l .

The meaning of the codes for ,T (ts), ,D (dz), and L (l) is explained in the Special Codes section of this lesson.

Special Codes

Primalfont maps the following symbols: the period, the comma, and all letters except for uppercase M and K.  There are also special mappings for numbers 1 through 7, described in the AnTherian Symbols section of this lesson.

The mappings for the comma and for letters D, L, and T (both uppercase and lowercase) have special functions.  First, the comma { , } produces a beginning upswing line: [ , ].  It is needed for two reasons:

  • To form the beginning of a word that starts with L (l): ,ly = ,ly.
  • To produce the canonical version of a single letter other than L (l): ,j = ,j.

The capital L { L } is used to produce the canonical version of the single letter L (l): L = L.

The lowercase L { l } is used to produce the form of L (l) that appears in the middle of a word: l = [ l ].  This letter is very special, because it uses almost no physical space.  The font is set to overlap with the letters that precede and follow it.  At font sizes smaller than 8 point, or with computers or printers unable to correctly handle TrueType fonts, this letter may cause errors in text--namely, large spaces in the middles of words.

In summary, the L-glyph comes in three different forms: { ,l } when beginning a word, { l } when in the middle of a word, and { L } when listed as an individual letter.

The T and D glyphs work whether uppercase or lowercase is used.  There is no difference in the resulting glyphs, so you can use whichever version you like.  (The reason for this redundancy in design was backwards compatibility with the pidgin script format.)

Differences in Writing

The Primalfont font is a good representation of written Primal script, but it lacks some of the nuances that exist at the beginnings and ends of words.  In written Primal, the leading upswing line is often missing at the beginning of a word, and the trailing upswing line is often missing at the end of a word.  The clipping of letters happens only between word breaks.  It is never done for individual letters appearing alone, such as ,T (ts); these always retain a full leading and trailing upswing line.

Some letters are clipped in a more pronounced fashion than others, and this process may change their appearance enough to cause confusion.  This section discusses the most common changes in a letter's appearance due to spacing.  Be aware, however, that writing styles will also vary from person to person.

The symbols (shown in clipped format) for Y (y) and W (w) are usually drawn without the line touching itself at the beginnings of words.  The line starts inside the loop, as shown with the symbol Y (y):

The symbols (shown in clipped format) for p (p), f (f), v (v), T (t), D (d), q (th), Q (dth), and H (khh) are often flattened on top at the beginnings of words, as shown with symbols f (f), q (th), and H (khh):

Note how the difference between the lower portion of ,q (th) and ,H (khh) is important to accentuate.  These two letters are often confused in sloppy writing.

The endings of some letters are clipped short when these letters appear at the ends of words.  There are three reasons a letter may qualify for this:

  • Letters ending in lower backward curves: ,i (ih), ,c (uo), ,C (auw), ,V (eer), ,T (ts), ,q (th), and ,x (sh).
  • Letters ending in a sharp right angle: ,g (ohw), ,b (oar), ,B (oi), ,G (ohl), and ,v (v).
  • Two special letters also qualify: ,r (ur) and ,y (ee).

Technically, ,v (v) does not end in a sharp right angle--but the following upswing is usually eliminated anyway, because ,v (v) is such a distinct letter.  Here are examples of the above rules, using the letters ,i (ih), ,B (oi), ,G (ohl), ,v (v), and ,y (ee) to illustrate the different appearances at the ends of words:

The lower line is completely eliminated in the case of ,r (ur) and ,y (ee).  Also, a letter isn't found at "the end of a word" if the word ends in a period!

The period is represented by any rising line that curves backwards like ,y (ee), then kinks upward.  The period probably varies in appearance more than any other letter, as shown in these examples of periods:

A good period must not resemble the letters ,r (ur) or ,y (ee), because these letters drop the upswing line at the end of a word.

AnTherian Symbols

Primalfont does not map Arabic numbers (digits 0 through 9).  Although most modern languages use Arabic numbers, there is no script form for the Arabic digits in Primal.

The numbers 1 through 7 are instead mapped to special iconographic symbols:

Symbol Primal Phrase Rough Translation Font Code
1 nunaz su QuxOv.
(n'naz s'dth'shallv)
soul-forging 1
2 nunBx.
(n'noish)
attunement 2
3 nuniJ.
(n'nij)
open-mindedness 3
4 nusim suj nufr su nujwm.
(n'sihm such n'fur s'n'choohm)
one's trust in nature 4
5 numAXr.
(n'mal-zhur)
yielding 5
6 nuRBz su Ququ.
(n'roiz s'dth'thuh)
dance of the moment 6
7 nujr.
(n'chur)
expression 7

These symbols have special significance for AnTherian cultural iconography, but are otherwise unrelated to the Primal language itself.  The symbols do not stand for these phrases.  They only have meaning within a cultural context which will be elaborated upon elsewhere.

When drawn by hand, these symbols show a lot of variety--anything approaching the images is accepted.  The general rules of thumb are these:

  1. An open spiral with an arrow poking downward, out from the center.
  2. A hood with a gate in the top, and a scribble contained within it.
  3. Any eight-pointed, radial glyph where, upon close scrutiny, each point is slightly different.
  4. An outline of a pointed leaf, stem aiming downward and tip aiming rightward.
  5. A circle refracting an arrow from a steep descent to a shallower one.
  6. A bowl into which a gentle curved line, coming from the left, settles.
  7. A small rightward-facing niche with a dot in it, from which three lines of various curvature emerge.

The third glyph isn't obvious, but if you magnify it manifold, you will see that each of the eight lines is subtly different.  When drawing this symbol, any eight-pointed star will do.  Imperfections of drawing ensure that each of the points will be different.

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