Nanyang Script – a featural writing system inspired by the scripts of Southeast Asia

Nanyang Script is an alternate writing system which is inspired by the abugidas of Southeast Asia.

The word ‘Nanyang’ 南洋 is an old Chinese term that means ‘Southeast Asia’, hence the name.

I was wondering whether it would be possible to make a featural alphabet like Hangul, where letters are derived from other letters with closely related sounds, but with a Southeast Asian aesthetic, which makes it easier to create letters that only need 1 or 2 strokes to write at the most. This would make the script easy to learn, easy to write, and be easier to adapt to writing different languages more easily than Hangul. The end result is a unique alphabetic script that visually resembles the Myanmar and Thai scripts and uses subscript consonants to cluster consonants together, but is distinct enough to stand on its own.


These are the letters and numerals for the English version of Nanyang Script.2.NanyangScript

Syllable structure

In Nanyang Script, all vowels are written on top of a consonant, except for the ‘vowel lengthener’ diacritic. Consonant clusters are indicated by putting the 2nd consonant below the 1st one, in subscript form. 4.SyllableStructure

Letter etymology

Nanyang Script is based on just 9 consonant letters – all other letters were derived from these letters using a combination of simple rules. 1.FeaturalDerivation

Vowels were slightly more challenging, as they had to be small and compact enough to fit over the consonants. Note: the values of the vowels are just an indication, as they can be changed to match the vowels of the target language if required. 3.VowelDiacritics

Sample texts

Excerpt from a short story I wrote a while ago

For comparison, you can view the original one here. 5.ShortStory

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