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Distinguishing features --- ThstHNKMhzhN fIjdS

The shapes Unspell uses are put together based on some very simple rules, making them easy to learn. In the Latin alphabet, a "G" is distinguished from a "C" by adding a little line to it. It was first added by a Roman named Gaius, who was sick of being called Caius. A "Q" is distinguished from an "O" by adding a little tail that isn't found on any other letter (nobody remembers who added the tail). And so it goes.

But Unspell doesn't have any of that at all. There are just 8 distinguishing features to pay attention to.

1. Unspell symbols all hang from a baseline. They don't stand on a line, as with Latin; they hang from it. This is very important; if you try to write Unspell by standing the symbols on a line, you will end up very confused.

2. Most Unspell symbols have a body which is a horizontal line that goes along the baseline. The most common vowel sound in the English language, the "i" sound in "kit," is just a dash.

3. Some Unspell symbols have an arm which is attached to the body, either on the left or on the right side.

4. Some Unspell symbols have a bar. It is just like the body but is drawn above it. Symbols with bars represent sounds that are related to the symbols without bars. For example, adding a bar to an "i" sound in "kit" changes it to an "ee" sound in "beer".

5. Some Unspell symbols have a stroke. It is a diagonal line drawn above the body. The stroke means that the sound is made using one's voice box. For example, it changes a "p" sound to a "b" sound.

6. Most Unspell symbols also have a foot. It is attached to the body either in the middle or to the right. Feet can be straight or hooked.

7. Bodies can be narrow or wide. Stressed vowels are always wide.

8. Finally, feet can be short or long. All consonants have long feet.

Next: The 13 Basic Shapes