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Posted by Romhfvir on 9 February 2019 in Spanish (Español).

To give my country, Liria, more mystery… one of the island will start using its own alphabet (notice that is another alphabet, not another language)

what do you think about it?

Location: Ngorongoro, Arusha, Northern Zone, Tanzania

Comment from stjur on 9 February 2019 at 23:51

How come that this very small island has its very own official alphabet (but not language) and how is it realistic that it’s been kept official to this day?

Comment from Luciano on 10 February 2019 at 00:21

I don’t see anything strange about it. There could be some kind of story that makes sense. Hopefully we’ll find out.

There are all kinds of unique writing systems out there in the world, often being used by very small numbers of people.

For example, there is a tribe in Indonesia that started using Korea’s hangul alphabet, despite there being neither historical nor linguistic ties between Korea and that tribe. It’s not clear why or what the politics of this were, but it’s interesting, and it’s not imaginary - it’s a real world thing.

There is the Cherokee language. Admittedly, it’s a separate language with its own alphabet, but it is used by very few people (basically a few towns in Oklahoma). Yet it persists with a kind of semi-official status in Eastern Oklahoma:

There is the example of the various Aljamiados and Arebicas. Arebica (bosniak language written with Arabic letters) is still in use among some Bosnians. Likewise, I have heard that Ladino (an archaic form of Spanish used by Jewish people exiled from Spain in the 1600s) is still written with Hebrew letters in some conservative communities in Ukraine and North America:

Comment from stjur on 10 February 2019 at 01:03

Ok you’ve got me there, even though I don’t think it’s even remotely appropriate to compare Liria (or any other made up country) to any of the complex and exceptional cultural situations you’ve listed. Still I’d love to find out how come that this small island is using the Phoenician alphabet - did they come up with it? In ancient times, so the Greek and Latin alphabets could evolve from it like in the real world? Is that island the birth place of Latin alphabets? Or does the alphabet origin somewhere else? Where? What I’m trying to say is that you can’t just put a random alphabet on a random island to make your country “more mysterious” and call it geofiction, in my opinion.

Comment from Luciano on 10 February 2019 at 01:29


Here’s the difficulty, as I see it.

Some people really want to do conlanging (inventing languages, which is related to but not exactly the same as geofiction). And then, they want to apply their conlang to their geofictional country.

One thing that many people do is invent writing systems. But in a digital environment, such as OGF, we can’t just make up fonts and upload them and have them render and show up on the map - the real-world-based OSM platform being used doesn’t make that easy. This is essentially a technological constraint.

So some of us (myself included) have taken to “hijacking” real-world writing systems which are included in the unicode standard to support our imaginary languages.

I have done so in Mahhal (where I’ve used Amharic to represent the sounds of my fictional language):

I have crafted a rather complicated “just so” story to explain why Mahhalians use Amharic. Something about some shipwrecked pseudo-Ethiopian monks teaching their abjad to the distant tribe.

Udi has done something similar in his various countries:

I’m sure there are others whom I’m not currently remembering that have done so, too.

I think what @Romhfvir has done as in the same vein - with the concession that it hasn’t quite got worked out to the same level, yet. Just at an early stage of development. A “work in progress”, maybe? Anyway, in these matters, as in some other aspects of what we do here, there is going to have to be a bit of “suspension of disbelief”.

I will note that we do the same thing with religion on OGF. We “hijack” the real-world symbols (cross, crescent, star-of-David, aum, etc.) for our imaginary religions. That’s because those are what the OSM toolset provides us with. It doesn’t mean that our imaginary religions are like the ones we’re borrowing symbols from.

Comment from Romhfvir on 10 February 2019 at 11:08

Ok. First let’s think that this isn’t the Phoenician alphabet, (even though it really is). Ok so Liria is a country that had its basic culture and had its own alphabet and its own language! When other great civilizations came to Liria, Liria began to use other languages and other alphabets, but not the island of ‘Voladores’ where they were less than 1000 inhabitants in the past. In Voladores, they heard a lot of other languages, and they forgot the old Lirian, but they didn’t teach them how to write them! So they kept the alphabet whenever a new civilization came, because it was always the same: because the island didn’t have a big port, it was horrible to go there just to teach 25 people (the only ones who could write and read), where in major Liria there were a lot of ressources and things to do!

This happened until the end of the “Middle Ages”, where in Liria people started to print documents with the printing machine and in Liria, this meant the population able to read became 75% in every island of Liria, included Voladores! There were no printing machine with the Lirian alphabet symbols! (by the time, Liria spoke Castellanese) The Lirian alphabet went extinct. In the 1800’s It became popular to write manuscripts with the Lirian alphabet, and Lirian mechanics invented printing machines with the Lirian symbols!

In Voladores, 1977, they found thousands of manuscripts in Lirian alphabet! This was kind of a Rosetta Stone, because there were so many ancient languages written in the same alphabet! Nowadays, all of those are exposed at the National Museum in Áster (WIP)

The Cabildo of Voladores (AKA the local gov.) decided in 1980 that the alphabet should be taught in the three schools of the island! a lot of people there began to use it, and thanks to technology, the alphabet has a new hope.

PD: How do I get a Wiki Account?

Comment from The_Cute_Chick on 11 February 2019 at 05:38


You should have a OGF wiki account since you own a territory. Are you following the instructions If not, contact admin why you were not given one when you were allowed to map Liria.

The instructions for using your wiki account should be given when you receive your territory (though I do not have personal experience of this since I acquired mine independently from my territory). Are you following those instructions correctly? Or have you not received any?


Hope this helps,


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