The native Asha'ille writing system is a cursive script called the kateinu yîréb. It developed from an angular script, traditionally written vertically and left-to-right on braided strands of grass. Interestingly, this writing order is very uncommon among natural languages: only Mongolian (and its relatives) are written this way, according to Wikipedia.

Below is the entire modern alphabet, the right-hand side version colorized to show each letter's separation from the one on either side of it:

Kateinu Yireb Colorized Kateinu Yireb

The following chart shows the letters' standard Romanization and pronunciation values.

Orth.IPA Orth.IPA Orth.IPA Orth.IPA Orth.IPA Orth.IPA
k, c*k yj mm jhʒ pp 'ʔ
aɑ îɪ ii aiɑi gg mlm͜l
tt rɹ ghx vv shʃ ch
ae, eie eɛ zz lnɫ̃ thθ j
nn bb ll dd dhð
uu ss oo ff o†ɔ

* Romanized c for /k/ occurs when, etymologically speaking, the sound derived from /x/. In the native script, it may be written as the letter k, gh, or the relatively rare c (not shown above), which is similar in form to gh with an added hat on the first semi-circle.

† No longer in use; historical letter only.

For a detailed discussion of each character, see the fonts page.

Young Creseans learn a refrain to help them remember the order of the alphabet. They may also use it as an excuse or apology to a teacher when the class has not finished whatever tasks were assigned:

Kateinu yîréb 'sa migh, zalojhaiv lnad feipám eg shath dhoò, mlchîshe jo.

"Regarding that challenging, instructive alphabet writing assignment, your students — saddened and dreading to admit this — have not completed it, my teacher."

Artistic Uses

The kateinu yîréb is normally written top-to-bottom, left-to-right. However, any of the four major directions are acceptable. In addition to this flexibility, more "artistic" layouts are encouraged for decorative purposes.

This flower image says kr'emeirjhom, which means no flowers. I created this wallpaper over the summer of 2005, when I interned at Microsoft. My boss told me that I should feel free to customize my work machine however I pleased — except that flowery wallpapers were strictly prohibited. British humor. "No flowers!" he said.

So the next day I showed up with this wallpaper, which literally says "No flowers!" He said he could tell that this would be a difficult internship, if I was already acting so disobedient my first week of work. Good times. :)

Then, while doodling at the bookstore in January 2006, I noticed that the Asha'illization of my family name had a nice repetition of double-curved consonants. I spent enough time rearranging Rájerîz until it looked like a four-leaf clover.


See my page about kateinu yîréb fonts.