Flownetic - The Simple and Intuitive Phonetic Script

Background

Flownetic is a phonetic script created by Xay Voong in 2012 CE. The philosophy is simple, intuitive, distinguishable, practical. The flow and structure of the symbols imitate the flow and structure of your mouth, throat, tongue, teeth, and lips as you utter each sound. Unlike other featural or phonetic writing systems, the letters are easily distinguishable from each other and simple to write. This makes it easy and fun to read and write these letters.

The problem with most other featural alphabets is that they focus on the similarities between classes of sounds and articulations, rather than the distinct features that make them different. Thus their characters all tend to look alike and cumbersome. Furthermore, vowels tend to get second-class treatment. Too often vowels are represented by nothing more tiny diacritics (or worse, missing altogether). Even in alphabets with true vowels, they usually contain no more than a handful; yet the IPA charts no less than 30 distinct vowels sounds. Even though, in linguistics, vowels are usually called the nucleus of a syllable or word, you couldn't tell from many writing systems of their importance to language. Vowels are just as interesting as consonants, if not more, and deserve more attention.

The Flownetic script addresses these shortcomings by representing only the prominent oral features and their motions for each sound. To remain simple to read and practical to write, letters consist of mainly simple lines, curves, and dots. These elements form intuitive graphemes (letters) by following these rough guidelines. Straight lines represent unrounded vowels, the throat, jaw, teeth, and closed lips. Curves represent rounded vowels and placement and curling of the tongue. The dots are neutral or breathy sounds, or modify common vowels. Moreover, much emphasis is put on the vowels and their distinctive feel as they are released from the vocal organs. Note, however, that I'm fluent only in English and Cantonese, and some Mandarin, so I'm more familiar with the vowel sounds used in those languages, and thus could only approximate the flow of the other vowels found in IPA but not in those three languages. Nevertheless, I will try to find suitable symbols for them.

Notable features:

Phonetic Chart

VOWELS
Symbol Sound Symbol Sound Symbol Sound Symbol Sound Symbol Sound Symbol Sound
/u/ /ɯ/ /ʉ/ /ɨ/ /y/ /i/
/ʊ/ /ʊ̈/ /ɪ̈/ /ʏ/ /ɪ/
/o/ /ɤ/ /ɵ/ /ɘ/ /ø/ /e/
/o̞/ /ɤ̞/ /ə/ /ø̞/ /e̞/
/ɔ/ /ʌ/ /ɞ/ /ɜ/ /œ/ /ɛ/
/ɐ/ /æ/
/ɒ/ /ɑ/ /ä/ /ɶ/ /a/
CONSONANTS
Symbol Sound Symbol Sound Symbol Sound Symbol Sound Symbol Sound Symbol Sound
/w/ /l/ /ɥ/ /j/
/h/ /ŋ/ / ɲ/ /n/ /f/ /m/
/x/ /k/ /r/ /t/ /v/ /p/
/ħ/ /kʰ/ /ɭ/ /tʰ/ /θ/ /pʰ/
/ʔ/ /g/ /ɾ/ /d/ /ð/ /b/
/ɕ/ /ʂ/ /ʃ/ /s/
/ʑ/ /ʐ/ /ʒ/ /z/
/t͡ɕ/ /ʈ͡ʂ/ /t͡ʃ/ /ʈ͡s/
/t͡ɕʰ/ /ʈ͡ʂʰ/ /t͡ʃʰ/ /t͡sʰ/
/d͡ʑ/ /d͡ʐ/ /d͡ʒ/ /d͡z/
NUMBERS
Symbol Value Symbol Value Symbol Value
0 8 10^0
1 9 10^1
2 10 10^2
3 11 10^3
4 12 10^4
5 13 10^6
6 14 10^9
7 15 10^12

Examples

Han Seung Yeon (Korean)

Selina Ren (Mandarin)

Tse On Kei (Cantonese)

Lee Hyori (Korean)

U.S. Marine Corps Birthday: 11/10/1775
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U.S. National Debt as of 5/31/2015: $18,156,866,652,479.09
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Color in hexadecimal: Laurel green #a9ba9d
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Color in hexadecimal: Ivory #fffff0
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ENGLISH

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 1): 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.
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CANTONESE

誰及我完美
何用美容設備
人若愛自己
何用介懷你未看起
並不自卑
誰稀罕拉過的臉皮
我自信地
拒絕缺陷美

MANDARIN

大風吹呀 有沒有座位
我站了半天已經好累
大風吹呀 這次輪到誰
眼睛被吹痛流下了淚
你愛誰 這空出的座位
我搶到坐下覺得不對
無所謂 你說誰要是累
這博愛座位就讓給誰