Inglisuraya is a way to write English with the Syriac script devised by Allison Powell. She chose the Syriac script because she believes it is neglected, largely forgotten, and deserves a chance. She hopes that this adapation will maybe spark a revival of this remarkable script. She uses it to write notes, journal entries, shopping lists and short stories.
Inglisuraya is largely phonetic and was inspired by the way the Hebrew script is used to write Yiddish, and the Arabic script is used for Uyghur, especially Yiddish.
The name Inglisuraya (ܐ̤ܢ̇ܓܠܝ̣ܣܘ̣ܪܝܝܐ), comes from a combination of the Syriac word for English, ܐܸܢܓܠܝܼܣ (inglīs), and the Syriac word for Syriac, ܣܘܼܪܵܝܵܝܐ (surāyā) to make “Syriac English.”.
- Type of writing system: alphabet
- Writing direction: right to left in horizontal lines
- Used to write: theoretically any dialect of English
- Highly phonetic (80-90%)
- Letter forms change depending on their position in a word.
- Letter names were inspired by the name of the original Syriac letters.
Download an alphabet chart for Inglisuraya (Excel)
- Use ܐ̤ for ɪ and ܐ݄ for ə/ʌ only at the beginning of words. Use ܝ̤ for ɪ and ܥ݄ for ə/ʌ elsewhere.
- When writing the definite article “the,” use the ligature “ܯ”. It’s simpler that way.
- The letters ܟ݅ , ܟ and ܢܢ have two different forms depending on their position in a word. Observe the appearance of ܟ in the word “ܟܥ݆ܟ” (cake), ܟ݅ in the word “ܟ݆ܥ݄ܪܟ݅” (church), and ܢܢ in the word ܢܘ̣ܢܢ (noon).
- When ܟ݅ is in the initial and medial positions, the three dots appear on the bottom. When ܟ݅ is in the final position or is by itself, the three dots appear on the top - again, observe the appear of ܟ݅ in “ܟ݆ܥ݄ܪܟ݅” (church).
- Traditionally, the letter ܢܢ appears like this - ܢ - a long, slightly-slanted line. However, Allison disliked this form of the letter for aesthetic reasons, and thus eliminated the form of her alphabet entirely by doubling the letter like so - ܢܢ. This is only necessary when the “nuːn” is not connected to another letter.
- The letter ܢ̇ܢ is formed by placing a dot on top of the first “nuːn” and adding another “nuːn” left plain.
- In the original Syriac script, the vowel sound associated with ܐ݅ would be expressed as two dots above a letter like this - ܐܵ. However, Allison found the appearance of ܐ݅ more appealing. Similarly, in the original Syriac script, the phoneme associated with ܘ݅ would be expressed by a dot under the letter “beith” like this - ܒ݂. Once again, this change was made due to aesthetic preferences.
- In the original Syriac script, the letter ܛ represented the phoneme (tˤ) while the letter ܬ -without a dot underneath - made the (t) sound. However, she found it less confusing when she made each letter represent a different sound separately. Furthermore, she wanted to utilize as many of the original Syriac letters as possible and this change allowed her to include ܛ in the Inglisuraya Alapbeith. This addition was influenced by the Yiddish orthography of ט and ת.
- The letters ܦ , ܠ , ܟ݅ , ܟ , ܛ are allophones. At the beginning of words: ܛ = (tʰ), ܟ = (kʰ), ܟ݅ = (ʧʰ), ܠ = (l), and ܦ = (pʰ); (t), (k), (ʧ), (ɫ) and (p) elsewhere.
- The exact pronunciation of the vowels depends on the dialect. When writing in different dialects, words may appear written differently.
- In the original Syriac script, the symbol ܀ served as a marker at the end of a paragraph. In “Inglisuraya” it has been repurposed as a “period.”
Sample text in Inglisuraya (American English)
ܐ݅ܠ ܗܝܘ̣ܡܥ݄ܢ ܒܝ̣ܝ̤ܢ̇ܙ̈ ܐܪ ܒܐ݅ܪܢܢ ܦ݆ܪܝ̣ ܐ݆ܢܕ ܝ̣ܟܘܥ݄ܠ ܐ̤ܢܢ ܕܝ̤ܓܢܝ̤ܛܝ̣ ܐ݆ܢܕ ܪܥ̤ܛܣ̈܀ ܯܥ݆ ܐܪ ܐ̱ܢܕܐ݆ܘ݆ܕ ܘܝ̤ܯ ܪܝ̣ܙܥ݄ܢ ܐ݆ܢܕ ܟܐܢܫܥ݄ܢܣ ܐ݆ܢܕ ܫܘ݆ܕ ܐ݆ܟܛ ܛܥ݄ܘܐ݅ܪܕܙ ܘܘ݅ܢܢ ܐ݄ܢܘ݅ܯܥ݄ܪ ܐ̤ܢܢ ܐ݄ ܣܦܝ̤ܪܝ̤ܛ ܐ݄ܒ݆ ܒܪܘ݅ܯܥ݄ܪܗܘ݆ܕ܀
Sample text in Inglisuraya (British English)
ܐ݅ܠ ܗܝܘ̣ܡܥ݄ܢ ܒܝ̣ܝ̤ܢ̇ܙ̈ ܐ݄ ܒܐ݅ܢܢ ܦ݆ܪܝ̣ ܐ݄ܢܕ ܝ̣ܟܘܥ݄ܠ ܐ̤ܢܢ ܕܝ̤ܓܢܝ̤ܛܝ̤ ܐ݄ܢܕ ܪܥ̤ܛܣ̈܀ ܯܥ݆ ܐ݄ ܐ̤ܢܕܐ݆ܘ݆ܕ ܘܝ̤ܯ ܪܝ̣ܙܢܢ ܐ݄ܢܕ ܟܐ݃ܢܫܥ݄ܢܣ ܐ݄ܢܕ ܫܘ݆ܕ ܐ݆ܟܛ ܛܥ݄ܘܐ݅ܕܙ ܘܘ݅ܢܢ ܐ݄ܢܘ݅ܯܥ݄ ܐ̤ܢܢ ܐ݄ ܣܦܝ̤ܪܝ̤ܛ ܐ݃ܒ݆ ܒܪܘ݅ܯܥ݄ܗܘ݆ܕ܀
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
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