Explaining the syllabic character system I’ll use for featured images of blog posts, starting in 2016

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post is a living blog post, meaning that more information will be added by the author in the coming days.


Starting in 2016, when a blog post that I write on The Progressive Midwesterner uses a featured image, it will be in the form of a drawing of mine that utilizes a set of syllabic characters that I’ve devised. Not all blog posts will use featured images, and multiple blog posts may use the same featured image.

Here’s the letters of the syllabic characters that I will use for featured images of blog posts, starting in 2016:

Syllabic Characters Guide Revised
Letter-by-letter guide to syllabic characters (image created by the author using Trimble SketchUp Make)

However, it’s worth noting that, for a few letters (specifically, H, K, Q, and R), I intended to use different letter designs to represent those letters. Here’s the original system of letters in the syllabic character system that I devised (which I will not use):

Syllabic Symbols Guide
Original draft of letters of the syllabic character system (image created by author using Microsoft Paint)

Here’s some basic terminology associated with the syllabic character system:

  • Character – Representation of a syllable in the syllabic character system
  • Inner line – See Syllabic line
  • Inside (1) – The right side of an upperline letter
  • Inside (2) – The left side of a lowerline letter
  • Inside quarterline – A horizontal line in the part of the letter that is halfway between the median and the syllabic line
  • Letter – Representation of an individual letter in the syllabic character system
  • Long space – A space, used between words, that is one-half of the width of a letter
  • Lowercase – The status of the first letter in a syllable being lowerline
  • Lower line – Below the syllabic line
  • Median – A horizontal line in the center of a letter
  • Meridian – A vertical line in the center of a letter
  • Outer line – A horizontal line in the part of a letter that is furthest away from the syllabic line
  • Outside (1) – The left side of an upperline letter
  • Outside (2) – The right side of a lowerline letter
  • Outside quarterline – A horizontal line in the part of the letter that is halfway between the outer line and the median
  • Short space – A space, used between syllables within a word, that is one-quarter of the width of a letter
  • Stub – The short section of the syllable line that is one-quarter of a letter in width and located on each end of the character
  • Syllabic Character System – The system of syllabic characters
  • Syllabic characters – See Syllabic Character System
  • Syllable – Unit of pronunciation in a word
  • Syllable line – The center horizontal line that separates lowerline and upperline letters
  • Tie – A short section of the syllable line that is one-quarter of a letter in width and located between letters within a syllable
  • Uppercase – The status of the first letter in a syllable being upperline
  • Upperline – Above the syllabic line

Here’s how I classify each letter:

  • Outside vertical line letters (B, C, D, E, F, H, J, K, L, and R) – These letters all share a common trait: They all feature a full vertical line along the left-hand side for a letter above the syllable line and a full vertical line along the right-hand side for a letter below the syllable line.
  • Median letters (I and T) – Both of these letters feature a vertical line running through the center of the letter.
  • Full box letters (M, N, and O) – All three of these letters feature vertical lines on both sides of the letter and a horizontal line on the edge of the letter that is furthest away from the syllable line.
  • Half box letters (G, P, Q, and Y) – All four of these letters feature a horizontal line halfway between the syllable line and the outermost part of the letter.
  • Triangular letters (A, U, V, and W) – All four of these letters feature a triangular shape.
  • Inside connection letters (S and Z) – Both of these letters connect to the syllable line on the right-hand side for a letter above the syllable line and the left-hand side for a letter below the syllable line.
  • Letter isolate (X) – This letter does not neatly fit into the above categories.

Here’s some basic rules for syllabic characters:

  • Syllabic characters are read from left to right, with a zig-zag pattern in multi-letter syllables.
  • If the first letter in a syllable should be uppercase (first syllable of proper nouns, the article “I”, etc.), the syllable begins with a letter above the syllable line (i.e., an upperline letter).
  • If the first letter in a syllable should be lowercase, the syllable begins with a letter below the syllable line (i.e., a lowerline letter).
  • The first letter is written with the left edge of the letter being one-quarter of a letter width from
  • The second letter of a syllable is written with the left edge of the second letter being one-quarter of a letter width from the right edge of the first letter, and the second letter is written on the other side of the syllable line from the first letter.
  • The third letter of a syllable is written with the left edge of the third letter being one-quarter of a letter width from the right edge of the second letter, and the third letter is written on the same side of the syllable line as the first letter.
  • Fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. letters of syllables alternate sides of the syllable line.
  • The syllable line extends from one-quarter of a letter width to the left of the first letter within the syllable to one-quarter of a letter width to the right of the last letter within the syllable. Should a syllable only consist of one letter, the lone letter counts as both the first letter and the last letter for this purpose.
  • Between syllables within a word, a short space of one-quarter of a letter width is used.
  • Between words, a long space of one-half of a letter width is used.
  • Letters are never written directly above or below each other, with one exception: Acronyms are treated as a single syllable (even if not pronounced as a single syllable), and each letter of the acronym is written both above and below the syllable line (i.e., a double letter), with each double letter being read as a single letter.
  • Although a non-standard use of the syllabic characters, writing all letters in a syllable above the syllable line can be used to represent shouting, and writing all letters in a syllable below the syllable line can be used to represent whispering.
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