Chumauni was initially inspired by the structure of Hangul and style
of Tibetan, with the idea of using a similarly regular structure and
composition to create a writing system in transition from syllabary to
alphabet. D. Jensen started the design for Chumauni in 2004 for a
project he has since abandoned, but completed the writing system in
- Written in rows left to right, top to bottom.
- Each character is composed of two parts: a consonant and vowel symbol.
- There are 13 consonant symbols, 11 vowel symbols, and two placeholders.
- Most consonant symbols have design features in common when they share pronunciation traits.
- Vowel symbols are centred within the consonants and have design features in common.
- A diacritic can be appended to reverse the pronunciation of a character.
- Some words are separated by a space, others by a punctuation mark,
depending on the relationship between the words.
Where consonants appear in pairs the left symbol represents its value
in a regular character at word-start, the right symbol represents its
value in other cases. The exception to this rule is [ɱ] which only
appears immediately prior to [f].
- Characters with this symbol are automatically reversed (vowel is
pronounced first) at word-start and when following a reversed character.
- Characters with this symbol cannot be reversed.
- Consonant placeholder; incompatible with reversal and repeat marks.
May not appear at word-start before a reversed character or next to
another consonant placeholder.
Vowels fall into the following groups:
- High (H): i, aɪ, e/eɪ, æ/a
- Short (S): ɪ, ɛ, ə, ʊ
- Whole (W): u, o, c
When two vowels abut due to placeholders or a reversal, a [w] or [j]
sound is inserted between them according to the following vowel order
(H = High; S = Short; W = Whole): H[w]H, H[w]S, S[w]S, S[w]H, W[w]H;
H[j]W, S[j]W, W[j]W, W[j]S.
- Vowel placeholder; incompatible with reversal and repeat marks.
Characters with this placeholder may not appear at word-start, only at
the end of words, following a regular character, or when preceeding a
- Unless otherwise indicated (see Consonant footnotes and Diacritics),
character are pronounced consonant first, then vowel.
- Characters with placeholders not shown.
Chumauni diacritics and punctuation
- Reversal: reverses the pronunciation order for the affected
character. <'fo> would be pronounced /of/.
- Repeat: repeats the affected character. would be pronounced
/fofo/. Can be combined with reversal mark.
- Capital: designates the character as the start of a proper noun,
title (only the first word), honorific, paragraph or stanza. May be
combined with the repeat and reversal marks (placed above capital mark).
- Joiner: links adjectives to nouns, adverbs to verbs, honourifics to
names, numbers to units, and words within titles, ship names, etc. Also
separates numbers, see Numerals.
- Pause: followed by a space, it serves as a pause or break indicator
within a paragraph. This mark serves the same purposes as the comma,
colon, (etc) and period in most cases found in English. Also separates
decimal values, see Numerals.
- Full Stop: marks the end of a paragraph or stanza.
- Container: used in place of the pause markers to emphasize the
connection between the clauses it contains. Also indicates quotations.
The counting system was originally base-4, having characteristics in
common with both Mayan and Roman numerals. The numerals for 5-7 and 9
were adapted from 1-3 for the decimal system. The numerals for 0, 4
and 8 are relics of an older system.
- The joiner mark separates values as follows: 100,000 is written as 10-00-00.
- Decimal values follow the pause marker.
If you have any questions about Chumauni, please contact D. Jensen at:
Other alphabets invented by visitors this site
Learn Chinese Characters with the Omniglot Chinese app