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Learning Writing Systems is Fun

Despite having learned many languages, probably more than 30, I had never realized that learning writing systems can be so much fun. Nowadays, whenever I feel lazy to learn a language, I learn the writing system (if it is new to me). It also takes much less time to learn a writing system than a language. And you can amaze your friends with your new knowledge!

I had recently learned Hebrew and Baybayin writing. You may have heard about the Hebrew language, so Hebrew writing is for the Hebrew language from Israel. Baybayin writing is for the Tagalog language from the Philippines. Hebrew writing is still used to write the Hebrew language. Baybayin has gone out of fashion, and it is not used in the Tagalog language anymore, but some Filipino artists have started using Baybayin in their artworks, like paintings.

Hebrew vs Baybayin

Hebrew writing (also called Ktav Ashuri) is written from right to left. It has 22 consonants and 5 vowels. You put a vowel under a consonant to make a syllable. But some vowels are put next to the consonants. The more challenging part is remembering several characters for the same sound. Yes, you read it right. There is more than one character for a sound, for example, there are more than one character for the vowels A, E, and I. 

Baybayin writing is simpler than Hebrew writing. It has fewer characters to learn, and it is easier to remember. There are 14 consonants and only 3 vowels. One interesting characteristic of Baybayin is having a marker to mute the vowel. So, let’s take BA as an example. It becomes B after you put this marker. The drawback of writing Baybayin nowadays is that computers cannot display Baybayin characters on web pages, although there are Baybayin fonts available. On the other hand, mobile phones don't have this display problem. Oh, and Baybayin is written from left to right!

Writing in other languages

You may ask how you can use the writing system that you learn if you haven’t learned languages that use that writing system. It is fine, you still can use them. In my method, I use them to write in other languages that I know whenever I send messages to friends who also know that writing system. It may not be completely suitable, but it helps you to keep on using them so that you won’t forget. For example, you can write in Spanish or Indonesian language using Baybayin. And you might trick people into thinking that you are writing in the Tagalog language. It is fun, isn't it?

Photos by:
Dan Pelleg - Own work, Public Domain, Wikimedia
Roido02 - File:BaybayinVowels.jpg, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia


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