This is the 38th version of the SIGIL script called Slinsen-Yi, which in the Sgai language means “syllables drawn small”. The previous version, Slinseng-Fi, is a very elegant cursive script but suffers slightly from extravagant use of space. The object here was to produce an easy-to-write, pure alphabet which would enable a more compressed presentation of text.
To enable more text per area, there are two strategies in place. First is putting vowels above their consonants, which conserves horizontal space (and is a method used in many Asian scripts). Second is allowing for the smallest possible print size by designing the glyph shapes at the scale of just a few pixels. By restricting the shapes to a 3×5 pixel rectangle and basing their structure on the LCD style shown in my Power Of Seven script, there are 127 possibilities. Some shapes are not full height, but I keep some of those for vowels. After discarding the less distinct and duplicated forms, there is a set of 64 possible consonants and 13 possible vowels (vowels fit into a 3×3 pixel rectangle). Here is the set, shown at actual size; they remain quite legible:
Shown below are the scaled-up forms of the final selection, assigned to phonemes. The idea is that at larger sizes, the glyphs would instead reveal curves, serifs, etc, pertinent to a more mature style.
Compared with other versions of SIGIL script, and the Phonological Cypher series, there is less opportunity for maintaining featural relationships based on phonetics; but there is some inner consistency. For the forming of diphthongs, /w/ and /j/ are used for /-u/ and /-i/, and there is a dedicated glyph for /-y/. The medial flap tucks in next to its initiating consonant, and shares its vowel. There is an affricate prefix used before a fricative to signal the arising of an implicit initiating plosive. In almost all cases that will be /d/ or /t/ for voiced and unvoiced fricatives respectively. There is a special glyph for final glottal stop.
These sit above their consonant. There is a vague connection between these shapes and the position of the tongue. In the language name (Sgai) printed at the top of the page, an /a/ can be seen sitting above the /g/. Schwa is always short, and voiced or unvoiced depending on the voice of the previous consonant; it helps to create sesqui-syllables. The other vowels tend to be long. There is a vocalic semivowel /r/ and a syllabic trilled /r/.
These other glyphs are taller and/or wider than the consonants listed above. In all cases they take up a full slot (which for a CV unit at smallest size is 9 pixels high), and represent special items of morphology.
The tonemarks follow their syllable. The nasalizer follows a vowel and in practice tends to one of the three nasal consonants depending on sandhi with a following consonant. For example, before /b/ the nasalizer will tend to be pronounced /-m/. If the nasalizer is word-final, it sounds as /-ng/.
Long /s/ is a dedicated prefix. Short /wa/ and /ja/ tend to acquire a high creaky tone. Ejectives are a distinctive feature of Sgai.
As with all the numeral systems of SIGIL scripts so far, this version’s system is based on joining designated numbers of dots. The numerals 7 to hexadecimal F are taken from version 30 rather than version 37, to keep their shapes and sizes consistent with the other letters.
For an example of Sgai using Slinsen-Yi, here are the first three verses of the Tower of Babel text, with a transliteration and the original English. It is much more space-efficient than Slinseng-Fi, and English.
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.
And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.