Ngala is system of quasi-featural glyphs, mostly monosyllabic used to
represent the Qatama language. Ngala and the Qatama conlang were invented
by Carl Buck for use in his conworld, Qatama. It was created as an alternative
to the alphabet Moj.
Ngala can be written vertically, in columns running from left to right, or horizontally.
The word 'Ngala' not only refers to the script but also means "a square, or a block" in Qatama - referring to the appearance of the glyphs.
Ngala contains 10 radicals arranged in blocks of four to form mono or disyllabic glyphs.
Many of the glyphs can be reverse-engineered to resemble the words or ideas they represent.
There is no punctuation used in Qatama, pauses, stops and questions are understood through the use of context and particles.
Guidelines for connecting the radicals
Aim to make the glyph be as "pictographic" as possible. Obviously excluding many abstracts and rigidly grammatical lexical entries.
The radicals should be connected at open points rather than at closed corners.
Each radical should be connected to at least one other radical.
myong - n. a large feline, tiger lion…etc. The picture shows a lion looking back over his shoulder.
As you can see, each radical spot is used, top left: m, bottom left:
ya, top right: o, bottom right: ng. In this glyph the
o modifies the ya and makes it yo.
A possible handwritten version of myong, but keep in mind, these glyphs would rarely ever be handwritten.
guja - n. water, stream, creek The picture shows a stream running throw a forest.
In the above you see an example of a disyllabic glyph. Disyllabic glyphs only occur when the second
syllable is one of the following nuclei: a, o, ja, ha, ya, la, ra. There are occasions
when these are modifying the preceding nucleus and not acting as second syllables and the occurrences
are based on phonotactic rules. E.g. ya-a is /ja:.a:/, but ya-o is /jo:/.
n'ha - n. a cut, gash, slash v. to cut, hack, slice. The picture shows an axe and a hatchet cutting a block of wood.
In this sample you see that only two radical positions are used, this is perfectly acceptable. They are variable to give way to more "pictographic" possibilities.
toj - n. warrior, fighter, combatant. The picture shows a warrior, his shield and battle axe.
This sample shows how the secondary nucleus position can be used without the first, the glyph remains readable.
Another example of a handwritten glyph, toj.
A longer sample:
kya mongha kun ul gayam aj t'han
ma kaya kun ama nura ma utla
SAMPA IPA transcription
[kja moNha kun ul gajam aZ t@han ma kaja kun ama nura ma utKa]
IMP-part to.understand this as gift of spirt(ual) and to.celebrate this time to.live and to.breathe
Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing.