Discussions about the Atlantean language and culture can go here. Think of it as a one-stop reference guide for fanfics.
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#1 Post by Keran_Shadlag » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:11 pm

I looked around the board, and it looks like regular posting might have ceased 3-5 years ago. But Lisa, keep the board up if you can, new members join nonetheless, fans of the movie and interested folks, and we can all come back here when we want and post this and that.


I invented a font that types Atlantean !

( The method of font-creation I invented for this has never been done before and will greatly improve the lives of scholars of ancient languages, and possible dyslexic folk, not to mention the countless millions living in the mirror universe (AKA flipsy-flopsy land. )

Atlantean writes left to right ( like English ) then right to left ( like Arabic or Hebrew ) then left to right again. This is called writing "boustrophedon" which is from Greek bous-strophe-don "ox-turn-ing" or writing as an ox would plow a field.


(Now I have a PC with Window's Vista on it.)

Download the fonts. ... igbou3.ttf

(This one doesn’t change the glyphs, like in the movie.) ... uflip1.ttf

( This one changes the direction of the glyphs based on which direction the text faces, like Atlantean would if it was a real ancient writing system.)

Install the fonts.
(Start > Control Panel > Fonts . Move the font you want in there.)

Add "Hebrew" to your computer's languages.
( Start > Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Formats > Current Format > Hebrew )

Turn on the Hebrew keyboard.
( Start > Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Keyboards and Languages > Change Keyboards > Add ... etc, click on stuff to find boxes to check etc. )

Pull up a Word document, switch to the font you want, then switch your computer's language to Hebrew ( Left Alt + Shift works well ).

If you want left to right typing, don't use CAPSLOCK.
If you want right to left typing, use CAPSLOCK.

To switch back to English, do Left Alt + Shift.


In the movie, most of the boustrophedon is in The Shepherd's Journal, but they keep the letters always facing the same way. But in real life, all writing systems that wrote boustrophedon had the letters different ways based on how they were writing. So our alphabet was originally written right to left and boustrophedon, and when they wrote right to left, E was backwards (as were the other letters).

So I made 2 fonts, one according to the movie, and one more like real life, which is more interesting, since it allows you to see more of how the Atlantean letters are related to our letters.

I did analysis of the glyphs just a few days ago, and of the letters actually used, 12 are backward (from what they are in English) and 8 are foreward. Of the remaining letters, 6 are backward and 3 are foreward. I think so many are backward to give it an exotic look. But I think it was a bit of over-kill because I doubt that anyone ever flipped the glyphs around before I did, and realized the similarities with English upper-case. A really good example is S, which looks more like our S when you flip it around.

Here’s a quick study of each letter, though there are actually a number of origins for each :
phoenician and latin unicial a ph b greek g gothic d ph e greek digamma brahmi h ph y ph y ph k ph l hebrew m elder futhark u latin n hebrew o futhark p ph r latin s greek sigma georgian t / ph t
( You can use to check my theories.)
( ph = phoenician )

And then regarding C F X and the other extra letters - I didn't include them because it allowed me to include the numbers, which might have been impossible otherwise.

I'll probably make a font that includes them, but if anyone cares, contact me.


After I found FontForge, which is this free downloadable font-making software, I started making my own fonts and toying around with Unicode and fonts and all that. I found out that when you insert Hebrew or Arabic letters in Word, they insert backwards. A few days ago, I looked up stuff on this on my computer's Help info, and realized you could change keyboards if you changed language. If you're in a different language, you type in the keyboard and it gives you other language letters. COOL ! After trying Arabic, I found out that Hebrew has lower-case right to left Hebrew letters, and upper-case left to right Roman capital letters.

So I just opened up a font and replaced the respective glyphs with Atlantean letters from the Disney font. For my flipping the Atlantean letters around, I just looked up my previous studies of what letters in real life Atlantean letters were based on, then I used them to realize the direction of each Atlantean letter. For an easier example, Atlantean R is based on Phoenician R, which was written right to left. Hence, when you're writing right to left, it should look normal, but when you're writing left to right, it should look backward.

Flipping the letters around made a big difference because it allowed me to understand more of their origins. S for example, is also based on Ethiopian S, but kind of turned sideways.

I remember something like this in the Illustrated Script, where they were designing the letters and Okrand says something about backwards letters so they turned "half" around. Well, it was more than half.

Watch out, the "original" is a little buggy, so if you encounter problems, delete your previous letters and start typing again, avoiding what you did that caused the problem the first time. I worked out more bugs with the "flip" font.


Boustrophedon writing was used in a ton of ancient writing systems about 1000 BC to 1000 AD, including the first inscriptions in Greek and Latin ! Hittite Hieroglyphic was also famously boustrophedon, probably because Ancient Egyptian (like Modern Arabic) was right to left, while Cuneiform was left to right (like all other writing systems today). But I forget what the first writing system, Archaic Cuneiform, was like.

Chinese and Japanese were originally right to left as well, but first went top to bottom. Mayan goes left to right for 2 glyphs at a time.

Most writing systems are actually left to right and right-handed, but because the writing surface is titled just so, it ends up being whatever.

The produces signed on for boustrophedon because it reminded them of water and waves, flowing back and forth. I also think they liked how it combined the 2 major writing directions of the world (sort-of, excluding traditional Chinese and Japanese). I think it was a good choice, because aside from being mostly Indo-European, Atlantean was supposed to be "the language all languages came from", and so the writing system, a combination of all writing systems. Besides, in terms of weirdness, it was this or left to right or top to bottom.


Well, I hope the directions aren't too complicated for you, and you can type in Atlantean. I feel silly for not having made a font with ALL the Atlantean letters because that's how most people use it, as a cipher for English. Some other day, I hope !

Aside from that, I've been doing good, my wife and I have 2 babies now and are back in America. The bad economy isn't affecting us so very much. But I haven't done anything on Atlantean in a year or more because I'm so busy with my research in other languages. I likewise do very little with conlangs any more, all real languages. There's so much to do !
Hello ! Supak ! Good-bye ! Gamok !
Success ! Badeg ! Fail ! Karok !
Please. Beket. Thanks. Pag.
I speak a little Atlantean. Ad tip. (do "little" gesture)

Photo Credits:
"Atlantis-The Lost Empire Model Sheets" The Disney Informer. Ed. Tim Montgomery, 1996-2007. 27 Feb. 2007

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Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:52 pm

#2 Post by MobiusCoffee » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:56 am

I downloaded the font and played around with it for a bit. While it's pretty cool, the problem I see is that it goes against what's currently available in Atlantean. So if someone saw something written out in the flipped font and then tried to decipher it with the alphabet image on Wikipedia they'd be mighty confused.

Good job on the work though, and the great explination! I did come across one small problem, the Y isn't flipped in either the Hebrew of Latin set.

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