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Alphabets and Writing Systems
a guide to the world's writing systems
all Bergonian languages employ the Roman alphabet.
Before the Europeans arrived in the 1500s, the atrei had in use numerous alphabets, although the single alphabet in common use throughout pre-columbian Bergonia was one called Imonana. However, when the Plagues killed off 80-90% of the atrei and disrupted native Bergonian culture, the surviving atrei became vulnerably susceptible to any forceful new influence, and many European elements as a result became embedded in subsequent Bergonian culture.
conquistadors, missionaries, traders and settlers each aggressively attacked atrei culture in their own way.
The Catholic Church, particularly the religious orders, saturated Bergonia with missionaries, and
by 1650 as many
as a third of the surviving atrei had converted at least superficially to
Catholicism. The Church
and the far less numerous Protestant missionaries translated the Bible into
the atrei languages, using the Roman alphabet in most editions.
By 1650 France, Britain and Spain had completely subjugated and
divided Bergonia, and installed colonial governments.
As a result of the European intrusions, the Roman alphabet came into
wide usage, even for Minidun, Nacateca and the other atrei languages.
In the first days of the Bergonian Republic, the national government and the military followed colonial practices for rendering the atrei languages, which was exclusively in the Roman Alphabet.
All traders, bankers and business used either French or English or the native languages written with the Roman alphabet. Atrei poets and novelists preferred Imonana. In the first decades of the atrei cultural resurgence, primarily from 1750 to 1850, the use of Imonana rapidly increased. During the 1800s many newspapers, journals and posters were printed in Imonana. The preference for Imonana was often a protest against European influences. However, with the increasing industrialization of the country after 1860, Roman clearly came to dominate the financial, commercial, governmental and military spheres, as well as the new urban culture.
Establishment of public schools seemed to resolve the issue decisively in favor of Roman. Since Europeans and Christians fairly dominated both school administration and the teaching colleges that produced the teachers, the public schools taught students to read and write the atei languages in standard Roman rendering, although they did expose the young students to Imonana. This policy was justified by the belief that the use of one alphabet by all the nation's languages would increase mutual intelligibility and make learning second languages easier.
In 1889 the National Academy of Languages endorsed the Unified Dictionary of
Roman Spelling for all the atrei languages.
This created a final arbiter for a single standard of national
Since 1910 virtually all publications and all public documents have been printed in Roman. All transactions are recorded using Roman, and all signs in public are lettered in Roman. But most everyone knows Imonana, and the Imonana letters are still used often in art, design, special ornamental scripting, and by schoolkids passing notes in class.
Rendering of Bergonian languages in the Roman Alphabet:
A - as in ball,
AI - as in bite,
B - b,
C as in cat,
D - duh,
DH as in then,
E as in bet,
EI as in bait,
F - f,
G as in gaggle of geese,
H - ho ho ho!
I as in either bit or beat.
J as in jet or giant.
K as in Scottish loch.
L - l,
M - m,
N - n,
O - as in bought,
P - p,
R - as in English,
S - s,
SH as in ash,
T - t,
TH as in thin,
U as in boot,
V - v,
Z - z,
ZH as in measure,
This sound system is similar to the Romantic languages, though with many more diphthongs.
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