At its heart, Pseudoglyphs is actually a syllabary. Each symbol represents one syllable. They are literally the building blocks of the writing system. These symbols are used to create an elaborate system of “false” glyphs. Hence the name Pseudoglyphs.

The Basics

It starts with a 3×3 grid. The lines that make up each symbol snap to this grid.

Letterforms come in noticeable phonological groupings. The design grows more complex depending on the manner of articulation, similar to Korean. In this regard, Pseudoglyphs is also a featural writing system.

In the end, I chose 10 symbols to represent the consonant sounds of the Umu language.

Foreign Sounds

There are three more symbols for the sounds sʧ and ʒ.

In  Umu, these sounds do not exist. But because most languages have them, they remain on the shelf, ready for use.

There are a number of reasons why a writing system would include characters for non-native sounds. This can happen in natural writing systems when there is a more (politically) dominant language nearby.

Another reason may be that the writing system was borrowed from another language that had more sounds, causing superfluities.

Whatever the case, Umu has made allowances for these foreign sounds in its writing system.


Ojibwe Inspiration

The symbol for each syllable had its own distinct shape; the shape represented the consonant sound. The direction of the symbol marks the vowel sound. Each direction—down, up, right and left—has with it an associated vowel sound.

With Pseudoglyphs, the process works like this.

directional vowels

The Syllabary

Here is the result. Each symbol represents an entire syllable. There are forty symbols in total.

These symbols can build every word in the language.

On to Glyph Building