  

Introduction

Quikscript is an alternative alphabet designed for the English language. It contains 40 new letters: one for each spoken sound. Compared to the old 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, this allows for more logical spellings and makes texts significantly shorter. In addition, each Quikscript letter is written with a single penstroke, reducing the labour of handwriting even further:

Comparison of Quikscript and the Latin alphabet
From the Quikscript Manual

This website contains resources for learning the alphabet, including the original Quikscript Manual by Kingsley Read, its primary designer. It also showcases the fonts and computer input methods that have been created to support Quikscript. On this page, you will find a condensed summary of those learning resources. As a matter of fact, you can start using Quikscript right now with the information below—try it! See the Resources page for more thorough explanations of the general concepts, and any finer details not discussed here.

Background

Quikscript evolved from Shavian, or the Shaw Alphabet, in the 1960s. Shavian had been developed at the request of the famous writer, George Bernard Shaw. He used his Will to call for a worldwide competition to design a better English alphabet, and leave money to the cause. This was prompted by the absurdity of many English spellings, and the immense wastage of time and space caused by having to write single sounds with multiple Latin letters. It was reasoned that our conventional spellings were so ingrained—practically sacred—that the public would never accept a major spelling reform, so an entirely new alphabet was needed. This provided an opportunity to make other improvements at the same time, such as simpler and more varied letter shapes to make reading and writing easier.

Nomenclature

The alphabet and each of its letters have been given different names by different people over the years. The names used throughout these pages are those which seem to be commonly accepted in the online community today.

The Quikscript alphabet

Here is the alphabet itself, with sounds given in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Pipe Bob Tut Deed Kick Gig Thoth Thither Fife Valve
/p/ /b/ /t/ /d/ /k/ /ɡ/ /θ/ /ð/ /f/ /v/
Sis Zoos Shush Zhivago Church Judge Yo-yo Win-win Ha-ha Whitewheat
/s/ /z/ /ʃ/ /ʒ/ /tʃ/ /dʒ/ /j/ /w/ /h/ /ʍ/
Inkling Mime Nun Loll Roar
/ŋ/ /m/ /n/ /l/ /ɹ/
If Eat Ed Age Ash Ice Ah Awl On Oil
/ɪ/ /iː/ /ɛ/ /eɪ/ /æ/ /aɪ/ /ɑː/ /ɔː/ /ɒ/ /ɔɪ/
Ado Out Oak Wool Ooze
/ə/* /aʊ/ /oʊ/ /ʊ/ /uː/

Also see the PDF version of this chart for printing

Notes:

Writing tips

See the way short letters sit between the baseline and waistline, like our conventional a, m, x; tall letters rise above the waistline like b, f, h; and deep letters go below the baseline like g, j, q. This feature was included to help with word recognition, according to the conventional wisdom of the time. Notice that—except and —the tall letters are unvoiced consonants, the deep letters are voiced consonants, and most of the short letters are vowels.

The general rule for writing the letters is to finish rightwardly. This does mean that some letters should be written bottom-to-top, which may take some getting used to.

Following this, you may notice that a letter often ends right where the next would begin. In such situations, there is no need to leave a gap between letters; many sequences like , , , , , ,  may be written in a single motion. Entire words like  “millionaire” or  “understand” can be completely continuous. But do not write additional connecting strokes between letters, as in conventional cursive.

There are no capital letters in Quikscript! To mark proper names and to refer to letters, used a raised dot, for example: · “James”, · “Rome”, · “Pipe”. Write a dot after each letter in abbreviations like ... “ATM” and ·... “USA” as in conventional all-capitals text. As with conventional handwriting, use underlining for emphasis.

Brackets, or parentheses, should be angled or [square] but not (round) as those resemble Quikscript letters.

Spelling tips

Always write wherever r occurs in the Latin alphabet, even if you wouldn’t pronounce it in your accent. Besides being better suited to international usage, this is necessary for spelling certain sounds at all: /ɜː/ as in  “burn” and /eər/ as in air”.

Do not write double letters in words like  “bottle”. Of course, do write them when they are both actually pronounced, such as in  “unknown”,  “coolly”,  “teammate” or  “midday”.

The letters , , and contain an implicit -sound; and , and contain an implicit -sound. There is no need to write those extra letters in words like  “playing” or  “rowing”.

Practise writing and read it afterwards! You will learn and your confidence will grow with time.

Standard abbreviations

Some of the shortest and commonest words are pronounced differently depending on context—like the;  or —or tend to have an indistinct or “weak” pronunciation in normal speech, like and, of, to, etc. In Quikscript, such words may be written with a single letter, keeping the spellings consistent while saving time and space:

the of and to it is for be

We are already accustomed to the abbreviations Mr, Mrs/Ms and Dr in the Latin alphabet; in Quikscript we write ·, · and · respectively (it is easier to write the three letters, all connected, for Doctor). Early Quikscript writers soon developed  for et cetera (etc. or &c.). More suggested contractions of very common words are listed in the Quikscript Manual, but these are purely optional.

Remembering the vowels

Quikscript’s and are easy enough to remember, since they resemble the Latin letters i and o respectively. For the others, some mnemonics may help you!

looks like a mountain peak—especially if you write it symmetrically—and is used in the word peak, .

The remaining vowels can be confusing, as they are all reflections of different ones. Imagine writing the similarly-shaped letters in circles. Reading clockwise, starting from the top left, you can think of these phrases:



 
upon access


 
cowboy highway


spoonful
 ;   
cardboard; father in law

Special letters

These four letters are not part of the alphabet proper, but were mentioned in the Quikscript Manual to enable certain sounds to be spelt or to better “compete” with the Latin alphabet for economy:

Loch Llan Axe Exam
/x/ /ɬ/ /ks/ /gz/

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