Setu – a pseudo script

Language is political, more so now in India than ever before. In an attempt to understand my relationship with Indian languages and learnt pride in English literacy, I started to trace back to the origin of various Indian scripts and their inter-relationships.

Through my basic research I realized that most Indian scripts can be traced back to two main ancient branches- one written from left to right and the other from right to left. There were some indications of even these two scripts sharing a common ancestor. These initial languages were written using simple additive scripts built from basic geometric forms.

I spare you any jargon that I picked up on the way and I also state that by no means do I claim to be an expert in this field. I have merely used my limited understanding of a few Indian languages/ scripts and English to create this pseudo script called Setu (or bridge).
Setu like the scripts it is inspired from is additive in nature and uses nine basic forms- each a variant of the line and circle. These forms are combined to create all the alphabet.


I, of course, cannot claim to have devised an apolitical script as all the Indian languages I am acquainted with have been derived from a similar school of scripts. I speak and write two Indian languages, one more proficiently than the other, I can read/ understand a few others and of course there is English. This seeming variety is still very limiting.

I have tried to derive letter forms primarily using their corresponding counterparts from the English alphabet; as surprisingly this colonial script and language unites individuals quarreling over Indian languages. (Not that English is not being rejected by some others.) Various alphabet are designed using the nine basic forms- these are represented in black.
The colored letters are further variations of the basic letters to create a phonetically inspired letter form. Through this process, I have realized that we seem to be using more consonants than we need, so I have tried to reduce basic letters through this system.


In a frail attempt of inclusive diversity, I have tried to create vowels which can be vertically flipped, depending on the direction of writing from left to right or right to left. Considering that I have been tutored only in languages written in one direction, I have used my limited understanding of Hindustani to test the writing in both directions.


The script is designed to be used primarily with phonetic languages, but here I have shared the alphabet in a version which can be used to write the English language. Anyone is welcome to try. In my attempts it is tougher to use this script to write English than any other phonetic language- both also producing a dramatically different visual.


Finally, like any other script this too could have been designed and developed in multiple ways, this one happens to be mine. Anyone versed with English and one or more languages similar to or derived from the Nagari script, would understand why I made some choices over others. Other choices, were simply made because they felt right in the moment. Any suggestions or comments to develop this script further are welcome.

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