Writing in colors: Triband scripts
Given that Triband language can’t be seen or heard by humans (as it uses radio electromagnetic waves instead of sound), it’s only accesible to humans in its written form. That’s why I’ve created a number of scripts for it: four different writing systems. Three of them were created by humans (according to Triband’s fictional history) so as to understand this uncanny language, while the remaining one is Tribands’ native script.
I will also translate a phrase I’ve translated to all my other conlangs; Tolkien’s elvish greeting A star shines upon the hour of our meeting, which proved to be quite hard to translate, as I had to work out in which way the Tribands would ‘see’ the stars (I finally decided they would see it as a sort of eerie light-like sensation from above).
1 – Roman transcription
This is by far the simplest script to type (actually, it’s the only type-able Triband script) and was also the first one I created for this conlang. Each of Triband Language’s 18 photemes (the electromagnetic-wave equivalent of our phonemes) is written with a Roman alphabet letter, a number or a sign such as ‘+‘. This script is entirely human, no Triband would ever use it.
In the following table you can find the Roman-transcription letters for each photeme along with a graph which shows varies for each one (or remains constant in the case of the photemes written as numbers).
Tribands are able to emit different photemes in their three wavelengths at the same time, so it must be written using three lines, one for each wavelength. As a result, the sentence ‘A star shines when we come toghether’ looks like this:
R: 34 ^- Rd 0 5cR X+ 44- 4L 0 ++L Y 310 G: X0 ^5 Y2 0 ^L3 3- XR3 33 0 +34 X Y4+ B: ^4 Y3 Y1 0 Y3Y 2b 2+3 Y^ 0 c3- L Y+1
The letters R, G and B at the start of each line just indicate which frequency is written after it. Triband’s lowest frequency is called R, the next one is G and the highest frequency is called B.
Using mono-spaced fonts is highly advised as it makes easy to see which photemes are simultaneous.
Single words can also be written in a single line, separating the frequencies with commas. For example, Triband language’s word for ‘star‘ can be written either as
R: ^- G: ^5 B: Y3
or ( ^- , ^5 , Y3 ).
2 – RGB mapping
Probably the most interesting and eye-catching script I made for this conlang. In its in-history, it was also devised by human.
Its aim is to let us understand how Tribands ‘see’ their language. The three wavelengths are associated with the three colors humans can directly perceive: red (R), green (G) and blue (B), which are also the colors in screens’ pixels. When the light-intensity for each varies, all other colors are made.
This scripts is based in the RGB model, which is also known as color additive synthesis. Each color (as seen by humans) can be decomposed into red, green and blue light. In a similar way, all colors can be obtained by mixing red, green and blue light of specific intensities. This is the working principle behind screens such as TV’s and computer screens. In computers the values of the intensity of light for each color (known as RGB channels) usually ranges from 0 to 255, In RGB mapping method for writing Triband language, the intensity for each radio wavelength is represented with one of RGB channels. If the signal had maximum strengths for each wavelength ( 5 , 5 , 5 ), the corresponding RGB value would be R=255, G=255, B=255 (which results in bright white color).
The following image shows how each photeme looks like:
X and Y photemes are difficult to represent since they consist of a number of short high intensity peaks. For that reason, their are represented with little circles instead (3 for X and one for Y). Alternatively, a larger circle may be used for X and a little thin romb for Y.
Rasing and lowering phonemes such as R and v display fade-in like effects.
In RGB mapping, all wavelengths are represented at the same time, combining the RGB values for each. For example, if the red and blue channels’ value is high and the green one is low, the resulting color would be violet or possible fuchsia. In the following image, individual signals for each channel are represented as well as a composite image (which correspond to the standard RGB mapping script):
The phrase ‘A star shines at the moment of our meeting‘ (the same one I wrote above in its Roman transcription) looks like this:
3 – Staff Notation
Yet another script created by humans. It also provides visual information about the language but in a much more easy-to-write way.
It is very similar to (European) musical notation. It uses a four-line staff which marks five spaces (three inside, one above and one below) which correspond with different signal intensities (higher spaces correspond to stronger intensities). Lines are written over this staff so as to mark which photemes were emitted. Photemes as written in Staff notation resemble closely their intensity graphs (as seen in the very first image of this post) except for X and Y which could be considered to be ‘irregular’.
The photeme 0 (which marks the absence of signal in one (or more) frequencies) is simply not written.
There are two ways of writing the Triband language with Staff Notation. The first uses a staff for each wavelength while the other uses a single staff and different colors for each wavelength. The former is often clearer and can be written and printed without using colors but it takes a lot of space to write (and isn’t as alien looking).
4 – Triband native script.
As indicated by the name, this is the scripts the Tribands actually use.
This extraterrestrial race uses its stomopods (four tentacles near their mouths) both to write and to read. The letters are wedge-like marks of one of two depths which they read as if it were Braille.
There are three kinds of glyphs: deep wedges (which are rendered black for humans), shallow wedges (white) and ‘points’ of medium depth (rendered as black circles) which are used mostly for punctuation. Some glyphs are composed of more than one wedge.
Triband native script is mostly alphabetic, using a sign for each photeme. However, a number of abbreviation and logograms are usually used as well (mostly for particles).
This script works in a similar way to the Latin Transcription (the first one in this post). It uses three lines, one for each wavelength (the Tribands use an stomopod for each line). It’s written in groups columns which are read from downwards from right to left. Each column is composed of three lines, the one on the right stands for R wavelength, the middle one for G and the one in the left for B.
This is the sentence I wrote above just as a Triband would have written it:
I hope you found this interesting 🙂 See you!