optophonetic alphabet


the information below is to serve as an explanation for my proposed guidelines on the creation of a ‘phonetic ideal’ or ‘optophonetic’ alphabet,
which I call the optophonetic english alphabet.

the general guidelines

these guidelines explain the reasoning behind the shapes of the letterforms.

  1. the new alphabet must be unicameral.alphabets with more than one symbol representing the exact same letter
    are not as efficient as possible.
  2. for example, in the roman alphabet, the following symbols

    ambiguation from camerality
    all represent the same letter.

  3. each character must stand for only one sound.this is even more confusing than the problem mentioned above, for the same reasons.
  4. for example, each a in
    father, hat, lake, a
    rrow, and naught has a completely different sound.

  5. there must be characters representing the full range of sounds present in the language used.if there were characters sufficient to represent this range, there would not need to be phonetic explanations of how to say dictionary words.
  6. for example, there is no (normal, roman) letter for the schwa.

  7. the characters of the new alphabet must be derived from a process of
    cross-referencing frequency of sound and ease of mark.

    the orthographies of the roman alphabet used in the english language are based on neither frequency of sound nor ease of mark.

  8. for example, the simplest mark to make is a dot, which is only used for punctuation.

  9. the alphabet must be able to be read without anchors to define the orientation of the text.some letters rotated, inverted, or written backwards may be read as other letters.
  10. examples:

    ambiguation from orientation

  11. the characters must be able to be easily formed by any writing instrument and on any surface.closed counter-spaces and forms which have paths too complex to be followed by basic writing instruments can be difficult to write with certain instruments and on certain surfaces.
  12. for example, the letter s is difficult to scrape into clay; nib-pens scratch paper when writing in certain directions.

  13. the printed version of the alphabet must be identical to the written version.this is the same problem as the first rule.
  14. for example, one writes this symbol:

    ambiguation from writing

    and types this symbol:

    ambiguation from writing

optophonetic theory

these thoughts explain why the letterforms in the optophonetic english alphabet
have been chosen and included. there are 3 categories of letters: consonants, vocals, and vowels.

  1. consonants are straightforward sounds having no variations.
  2. hydrogen







  3. vocals are sounds with 2 variations. for each of the examples here,
    the non-vocalized version of the letter pair (the second one listed in each pair)
    can be heard if the first word is whispered.
  4. big prices

    very fine

    the thing

    good looking

    dark tower

    zen master

    visionary shape

    judge’s chambers (the letters in this pair are actually combinations of the dark
    tower and visionary shape pairs. hence,
    j is dzh and ch is tsh.)

  5. vowels are sounds which fill the spaces between consonants and vocals. there are (basically) 4 groups.
    this is the only group with actual dipthongs. some dipthongs are 2 vowels and some are a vowel and a consonant.
    in the latter case, the vowel takes on a unique sound when preceding the consonant.
    (the letters in th last vocal letter pair above are not dipthongs because the sounds only take up one syllable.)
  6. the e group

    international (the schwa sound)




    potato (dipthong of the 2 preceding sounds)

    the u group



    no (dipthong of the 2 preceding sounds)


    the a group


    ice (dipthong of preceding sound and see sound)

    naught (dipthong of father sound and winter sound)

    ark (dipthong of father sound and radon sound)


    now (dipthong of preceding sound and winter sound)

    the o group


    or (dipthong of preceding sound and radon sound)

text example