The Lepru (meaning simply 'the letters') alphabet was invented by Matt Youens for use in a fictional story he is writing. The original intention was to adapt words from Lojban to generate character and place names, but Matt decided it would be an interesting exercise to develop a full writing system for the fictional world too.
Being a phonetician, Matt wanted the script to reflect some of the phonological features of the speech sounds and so different types of consonant, for example, are clearly grouped together by shape (h is regarded as an approximant due to its similar distribution to r and w). Some of the written features are literal representations of place of articulation, such as the two curves of the labials which symbolise the lips while two parallel horizontal lines characterise the lateral and its dual air streams. Similarly two vowels are clearly marked as rounded, while the low vowel has a shorter diacritic to indicate its height.
To make the language slightly different to Lojban itself there have been a number of sound changes made, mainly by reducing the number of fricatives and merging some sounds so that the consonant array is rather similar to that of classical Latin. Inspiration has also been drawn directly from natural languages such as the softening of c, as found in Romance languages and similarly with k in Scandinavian languages.
- Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines.
- Used to write: Lo Simbanu (Common Language) and Lo Slabu Talwa (Old Speech, the language of the Hidacri people's religious writings and one of the contributory languages to Lo Simbanu).
- Vowels are indicated by diacritics above the preceding consonant; the second element of diphthongs are written below the consonant.
- There is little punctuation but the beginning of a sentence and end of a paragraph are indicated by two parallel lines (//) while a pause is shown by a single line (/).
Lepru alphabet (Loy Lepru)
- c = [ʃ] before i or e.
- n = [ŋ] before hard c or g.
- s = [z] before or after b, d or g.
- r = is silent before another consonant but affects the preceding vowel.
- h = [h] word-initially but otherwise silent, effectively making it a vowel carrier.
- i = [i] word-finally or before another vowel.
- e = [ɜ] before r and another consonant.
- a = [ɑː] before any single consonant or consonant cluster beginning with r, [æ] before any other consonant cluster, [ɐ] word-finally.
- o = [ɔː] before consonant cluster beginning with r, [ɒ] before any other consonant cluster, [o] before any single consonant or word-finally
- u = [u] word-finally or before w.
- ay = [ɛː] before r and another consonant; its original value of [aɪ̯] is used by the Hidacri when reading aloud religious texts etc.
- i, u and oy become e, o and ay before r.
- Stress is not marked but is generally predictable.
Numerals (Loy Nancu)
The individual numeral for 10 is an archaic form which is used outside of mathematical and monetary contexts such as building numbers and dates.
Lepru for Lojban
The alphabet can be extended to write Lojban itself with the following characters:
- The rest of the characters from the Lepru alphabet are used as usual except for w, which is not needed; c is transcribed k for Lojbanic purposes and to avoid confusion and is always hard, and the vowels have just one value each.
- h, the initial pause and the syllable break always carry a vowel.
- The initial pause is used for words beginning with a vowel, the final pause appears at the end of Lojban names, which typically end in a consonant.
- Diphthongs in Lojban are written in exactly the same way with the second element below the consonant.
La Shenwi pu cuna nu lay Hidacri cu cruwi lo ri shensa prudi.
[lɐ ˈʃɛnwi pu ˈkʊnɐ nu leɪ̯ hɪˈdækɹi ku ˈkruwi lo ɹi ˈʃɛnsɐ ˈprʊdi]
The god(s) chose the Hidacri to tend to their sacred garden.
Sample text in Lojban
La Shebni pu suhna layi Dakri ki kuryi lu ta sensam purdi.
[lɑ ˈʃʲɛbni pu ˈsuːnɑ lɑji ˈdɑkɹi ki ˈkʊə̯ji lu ta ˈsɛnsɑm ˈpʊə̯di]
la lojban. cu logji bangu .i la djuli,ET cu skuci'a bau la lojban.
Lojban is a logical language. Juliet writes in Lojban.
Also by Matt Youens
Other constructed scripts