Home > 9. The Alphabet & Redefining Intelligence, C. The Thinker As Hero > Quikscript–An English Alphabet for Everyone

Quikscript–An English Alphabet for Everyone

Proposing a new alphabet for the English-speaking world seems silly, if not outright foolish, these days. Just imagine the cost of changing all those keyboards, and why do we need a new alphabet, even if it is easier to use than the Roman letters? Computers are available to anyone with access to a public library, and of course people type faster than they could ever write by hand.

And then there is the most difficult problem–the way an alphabet forms connections between visual letters, sound, and thought in the developing brain. Our brains really seem capable of accommodating only one alphabet; teaching “learning” alphabets only confuses the student and makes it harder to learn the “adult” form of an alphabet.

This looks suspiciously like an argument against teaching handwriting at all, except in the most basic form; that is, for use  in notes and the composition of draft materials. This is not so much writing for communication as a private form of stenography. No one but the author need decipher the script, leading to an idiosyncratic style, of use to the author only. This is often what is meant by the term “shorthand.”

Quikscript is a dedicated calligrapher’s answer to all these problems and objections. To recapitulate: Kingsley Read won a competition to design an alphabet for English–the competition stipulated in Bernard Shaw’s will. The result, Shavian, represented an improvement over the Roman alphabet in many respects, but still had its problems. To further refine the script, Read circulated it to correspondents around the globe for their evaluation and feedback. Using their responses, he redesigned Shavian, calling  the new alphabet Quikscript.

Here are the reasons why Quikscript is a superior alphabet:

1) QS is specifically designed for the English language. This helps greatly in making QS more phonetic and easier to learn than our current alphabet. For instance, the English language has twenty-seven vowel sounds; the Roman alphabet has just five vowels. Quikscript has 15 vowels.

2) QS comes in Junior and Senior forms. The learning alphabet, Junior Quikscript, is conceived as part of the entire alphabet system, making the transition to adult writing easy; there are no contradictions/different letter forms for the same phonemes. And the Junior script (given in the chart at the left) is very easy to learn.

3) QS is an alphabet, not a shorthand. As with the roman letters, QS’s letterforms are fixed and can be learned by everyone. This is an alphabet that is easier to write and read than the Latin script–thus going far to solve the  problem of fluency and legibility.

4) The most common sounds have been given the easiest letterforms to write.

5) Similar sounds are represented by similar letterforms. That is, this is a featural script.

6) QS follows the one sound-one letter principal.

7) Senior QS features a plethora of shortcuts, such as half-letters, that make writing much easier.

8) Best of all, QS has a free online manual, available on the Quikscript page on Omniglot.

If we take a look at the history of writing, we can see a gradual movement from logographic systems that are difficult to learn and write to semi-phonetic alphabets, often reliant on the memorization of a word’s spelling. Quikscript represents a further step in simplification, efficiency, and beauty.     RT


Top: Quikscript Manual Cover. At Omniglot page. Public Domain. Bottom: Quikscript Alphabet; Wikipedia; Paul Tremblay; CC 3.0 Attribution, Share-Alike.


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  1. December 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm
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  3. May 19, 2013 at 12:52 am

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