“43 scripts? You must have put a lot of effort into that!” Indeed, thank you! Let this be my excuse for delaying my new series of articles as much as I possibly could. So, let’s talk about the series. The next 7 articles, this one included, will consist of me going on about my experiences with writing my given name (Bálint, in case you’re wondering) in 43 different scripts. I’m not going to sound modest at all but I must tell you that every single one of them required an in-depth study of the writing system. Should you use the wrong tone marker on a mid-class sonorant consonant in Thai or type the wrong conjunct symbol in Oriya and you’ll end up with a wrong transcription! Oh, and I haven’t yet mentioned the struggle with fonts, and keyboard layouts, and Unicode and all the rest… Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun, and I hope you will too!
So, this is Level 1: the 7 simplest, most straightforward alphabets – in my humble opinion, of course. Although the levels aim to reflect how difficult it was for me to achieve the mission, they have not been influenced by my existing knowledge of writing systems. Thus Greek, which I can read and write with no difficulty, is not featured in Level 1 because it can’t be classed as one of the easiest writing systems, clearly. Therefore, the levels show how hard it would be for one to understand a particular system and transcribe their name… Not to learn to read and write in the script! Are you with me? Great. Let’s start!
Latin/Roman for Hungarian: Bálint
I assume you are familiar with this one since you’re reading my blog in English. My native language, Hungarian, uses this script so there is no need for transcription or transliteration in an English-speaking environment. The consonants in my name are pronounced as in English, although the ‘t’ is unaspirated and not at all silent. The letter ‘á’ stands for /aː/ and the ‘i’ is simply /i/. (More about this in Level 2!) The stress falls on the first syllable, as always. Oh, and the font used below is Arial, in case you’ve been wondering.
Cyrillic script for Russian: Балинт
When it comes to applying a Cyrillisation scheme to it, my name is a fairly simple one. Yes, all you do is learn the scheme which maps each letter to some letter of the Cyrillic script. For the Russian alphabet, there is no difference between transcription and transliteration in my case. Font remains Arial. Oh, and I apologise for the cursive sample, it looks much better on paper. I purposely didn’t join the letters to make it easier to read. The bar over the ‘т’ is optional, yet often used to distinguish it from ‘ш’ in joint writing. Surprisingly, most italic fonts seem to be based on the cursive style. Балинт – beautiful, isn’t it?
Irish uncial alphabet
And this is what it would look like in Cló Gaelach, or the Irish uncial alphabet. Although this is just a variant of the Latin alphabet and is only used for decorative purposes today, I believe it deserves to be included in the list. After all, it’s more than just a font – which would be Bunchló Ársa GC in this case.
Mkhedruli for Georgian: ბალინტ
(Do you remember my first attempt at handrwritten Georgian?)
The Georgian script (Mkhedruli, that’s the current one!) is a phonetic alphabet. The letters b, a, l, i and n were rather simple to transliterate, but having to choose between ტ and თ to represent t was a bit of a challenge. According to Wiktionary, the former is [t̪ʼ] and the latter is [tʰ]. Some other sources don’t distinguish the two at all! At the end of the day (I hate this phrase), I decided to trust Wiktionary. Was I right to do so?
Anglo-Saxon runes (futhorc): ᛒᚨᛚᛁᚾᛏ
(Please note that without proper rendering support, you may see spaces instead of futhorc characters!)
A simple transliteration of Balint into futhorc. I assume the ᚫ should be ᚪ, as [ɑː] is closer to [aː] than [æː] is. Surprisingly, however, Omniglot attributes the [a] sound to ᚪ – which would be even more appropriate! If you’re knowledgeable about the topic, please clarify this in a comment. Thanks!
Well, I have to admit Klingon isn’t one of my favourite scripts. Nevertheless, transliterating my name took no more than a minute!