I have always been planning to write this article due to the amount of comments I have received in connection with the beautiful writing system I use to write Neo-Ugric. Let’s reveal the truth: the alphabet is called ‘Tciaar’ and was invented by Ricardo Reséndiz Maita and Cialy Saturno Maita in 2005. According to Omniglot, the creators were inspired by writing systems such as Arabic and Mongolian, which seem to share a lot of interesting traits with the outcome.
First of all, let me list some of the most amazing features of the Tciaar script. Despite the resemblance between the alphabet and the Arabic abjad (in terms of appearance only), it is written from left to right in horizontal lines – although the possibilities are endless and nothing stops the user from writing in vertical columns. Tciaar can be used to write a large number of languages, including most users of the Roman alphabet and – in my opinion – even languages that use the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets. It offers a wide variety of diacritics, but I shall come back to those later. Another feature that’s worth mentioning is that double letters are indicated by a special diacritic placed above the single letter which would originally be doubled in the Roman script. Such characteristics are necessary in order to maintain the fluency of the writing. To show what I mean, have a look at (‘Tciaar’ written in the script). It wouldn’t look so great if the w-like ‘a’ (below the double-letter diacritic) had two identical copies and no accent at the top.
The letters. Some of them are exactly the same, with little “diacritics” around them to make them unique. I perfectly understand why ‘a’ looks similar to ‘o’, why ‘e’ and ‘i’ are nearly the same, why ‘m’ and ‘n’ are differentiated by solely a dot or why ‘c’, ‘g’, ‘k’, ‘q’ and ‘ç’ are all based on the same character. Also, it is reasonable that the t-d, f-v and p-b and s-z pairs follow the same rule. But what may be the reasoning behind the similar representation of ‘h’ and ‘u’? And why do ‘r’ and ‘l’ (which are allowed to be twins) have the same form as ‘b’ and ‘p’? Wow, this is a real mystery! So what Roman diacritics are offered in the Tciaar script? Acute, grave, tilde, circumflex, diaeresis and the double sign. There’s also an apostrophe and two types of quotation marks – but let’s not confuse diacritics with punctuation. Other special characters? Yes, ‘ç’, ‘œ’ and ‘ß’ are also present in Tciaar.
And here is my favourite feature: it has a font! All you need is a word processor and you can type any text in the script with ease. Final letters are associated with Latin capitals, while the two double signs can be displayed by typing ¿ or ¡ before the character. It is advised that you type while you’re font is set to one that works with the Latin alphabet (especially if you can’t read the new script) and only then change it to Tciaar, in order to avoid mistakes. Furthermore, if you are already familiar with the alphabet and would like to make it a key part of your everyday life, you may want to have a go at learning my handwritten version (I’ll talk about that in a different article). To finish with, here is the first paragraph of the UDHR’s Spanish translation, in the Tciaar script. Yes, I admit I am too lazy to produce my own sample, so I just copy this one from Omniglot. Actually, there’s a Neo-Ugric paragraph in my article ‘My adventures in 10 languages‘ that uses this peerless alphabet.