Bliss Keyboard Character Names
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TUCSON (A-P) — Since the ASCII 7-bit characters are used to write numbers, for punctuation, and to write natural languages in X-SAMPA, those keys and characters found on keyboards are part of Bliss and need names. Keyboards allow about 94 characters to be typed and those are the ones used. If you see "1, 2, 3" and think "ichi, ni, san" that is likely because you were raised in Japan. The problem is there are thousands of other names for them. None are wrong, nor is one better than another, though "un" might be better than "kung!gaõtu" in terms of pronounceability and brevity. For the purposes of Bliss, sounds need to be assigned to each symbol, beginning with the elemental symbols which include those found on keyboards. Drawing from a hat is one option, but for Bliss, logical seems more appropriate.


Latin Letters

For a-z characters use one of the speech sounds associated with them. X-SAMPA has already done the associating. For a e i o u use the X-SAMPA vowel sounds. Consonants modify a vowel, cannot be used alone as a name, and so the naming could be vowel+consonant or consonant+vowel sounds. In English, many names for letters are character+vowel which is often "ee" or X-SAMPA [i] as in Bee, Cee, Dee, Eee,... for [bi, ci, di, ei], so pick one vowel and use it following the assigned consonant sound. Since English is the current lingua franca, any one common vowel sound is as good as another, that suggests [in X-SAMPA]: [a, bi, ci, di, e, fi, gi, hi, i, ji, ki, li, mi, ni, o, pi, qi, ri si, ti, u, vi, wi, xi, y, zi]. (Note: brackets mean [X-SAMPA])

A problem is that not all of the sounds for the X-SAMPA characters are found in any language, so the X-SAMPA pronunciation will require all native language speakers to learn, or attempt to learn, new (to them) speech sounds. Everyone on the planet will and some will have more issues than others. The good news is that if any language is favored, it will be by chance.

For English speakers [ci] is not said with a "c, s, or k" sound. The sound (voiceless palatal plosive) is not used in English, but it sounds like "ch" so as a first approximation say [ci] as "chee" as in cheese. Don't say [ji] as "jee" in jeep. The international "j" is for the sound of "y" in "yea of little faith."

The next is [qi], which is a consonant sound not found in English, but in Bliss the letter "q" is not used (and "c" "x" and "y" are not used either), so it would only be used to spell native language words that use the q letter. To approximate the sound, use [ki] for [qi] as [q] is used when Arabic speakers say "Quran." All native language speakers will speak Bliss with an accent with the exception of a few phonologists or those whose native language happens to include all a-z X-SAMPA sounds.

Another sound not in English is [xi] as [x] is the "ch" in Scottish "loch," Spanish "caja" or German "machen." To the English ear it sounds like a guttural "h" or "ch" sound. Last is [y], which is a vowel not found in English. It is a "rounded high front vowel" close to [i] which is "unrounded." The closest available vowel sound is [I], the "ih" sound in "bit." A universal language isn't going to accommodate everyone, so English speakers, like everyone else, will have to make do, which is doable. Speaking Bliss with a slight accent will work. Spoken Bliss uses the more common speech sounds from the world's languages, only 27, and avoids the less common such as English "th" sound (both of them).

To hear unknown-to-you sounds, go to sounds, go to and click on the "SAMPA" button. The samples for consonant sounds have a speaker say [a?a i?i u?u] where "?" is replaced with the consonant sound, so pay attention to the second syllable of the second word. For [c], listen to [aca ici ucu] and focus on [ci].

With lowercase letters named, saying "uppercase" + lowercase name ("capital A" [k{pit@l a] would work, but let's shorten [k{pit@l] down to [i], and given b = [bi], B could be [ibi] "eebee." So A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z becomes [ia, ibi, ici, idi, ie, ifi, igi, ihi, ii, iji, iki, ili, imi, ini, io, ipi, iqi, iri, isi, iti, iu, ivi, iwi, ixi, iy, izi]. Alright, so 52 letters named (logically). That leaves numbers, punctuation, and a few other symbols.


Hindu–Arabic Numbers

Next to letters comes numbers. Unlike letters which merely stand for speech sounds (more or less as there are hundreds), numbers stand for concepts. If when you see "5" you think "five, fem, cinq, cinco, pięć, πέντε" it is because you speak six languages (making it a logogram), but 5, and other Hindu-Arabic numbers, is an ideograph. They are like Bliss ideographs. It doesn't matter what you call a number or a Bliss ideograph, like the heart (to some) looking symbol, in your native language. The concept is independent of the sound, but all users of Bliss may occasionally need to speak a number's name that they have in common. So 1 (one, uno, ichi, een, unu, eins, odin......) needs a name, one shared name, as do nine others for us base 10 prefering digited apes to use (even though base 16 is so much better).

Bliss uses the Latin letters which are alphabetic. They, by convention, are ordered: a b c d e f g h i j..., which happen to be the first 10 letters. So perhaps the numbers could incorporate the sounds just given above.

a b c d e f g h i j
[a bi ci di e fi gi hi i ji]

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
[an, bin, cin, din, en, fin, gin, in, jin]

So add [n] for numbers to get number names. English speakers will likely say them with an accent, "on, bean, cheen, dean, en, fien, gean, heen, een, yean." If using Esperanto names for numbers seems like a better idea, then the names would be unu, du, tri, kvar, kvin, ses, sep, ok, naŭ, nul. If you know a Latin derived language, a few will be somewhat familiar, but for everyone else on the planet, they look arbitrary. The use of Latin letters, however, is widespread as is the convention of indexing lists alphabetically by them (most books in Chinese have no index). So far, in the Bliss universe, other than the number ideograms, the Latin letters are the only near universals so far considered. Their order is arbitrary, but convention has ordered them, they can be counted, so a b c, [a bi ci] 1 2 3, [an bin, cin].

1 an ([an] rhymes with or sounds like "on")
2 bin ([bean])
3 cin ([cheen])
4 din ([dean])
5 en ([ain] rhymes with "aim")
6 fin ([fien] as in "fiend")
7 gin ([gean] as in "Jean")
8 hin ([heen])
9 in ([een])
0 jin ([yean])

To say 583 you can now say [en hin cin] and 16 is [an fin], but there is another set of numbers in a base 10 system that have merited their own names. There is 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 and so on. One name for 10 is [anjin]. But it is special, we have ten of them, so maybe we could shorten it to [ajin] as it is not so special that it gets an arbitrary name. So ajin is 10, and 100 is 10^2 or 1E2. So 100 is [anEbin] and 1,000 is [anEcin]. So let's see:

10 = 1E1 = ajin
100 = 1E2 = anEbin
1,000 = 1E3 = anEcin
10,000 = 1E4 = anEdin
100,000 = 1E5 = anEen
1,000,000 = 1E6 = anEfin
10,000,000 = 1E7 = anEgin
100,000,000 = 1E8 = anEhin
1,000,000,000 = 1E9 = anEin
10,000,000,000 = 1E10 = anEajin
100,000,000,000 = 1E11 = anEanan

As 1E-2 is 1/100, the name would be [an] "negative" [Ebin] and the name for - will be (wait for it) [p for negative slope], so 1E-1 is 1/10 or [anpajin], and 1E-2 is [anpEbin], 1E-3 is [anpEcin], 1E-4 is [anpEdin] and so on. 1E-4 = 1-E4 in Bliss. Note: [E] is X-SAMPA for the vowel in "bet" [bEt].

Of course math is a consilient diagrammatic language, so 10^11 is easier and shorter to write than to say [anEanan], but sometimes we talk on phones or to present people. Back to 583, you could say [en anEbin finjin cin], but that would be excessive, so say [en hin cin]. Still, to say [an jin jin jin jin jin jin] (one zero zero zero zero zero zero) for [anEfin] (million) would be excessive.


Punctuation Marks

We need names for " ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + { } | : " < > ? ` - = [ ] \ ; ' , . / which looks like an unordered list of symbols that mostly have only one thing in common. They are the remaining typeable keyboard characters. Keyboards are widespread and ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) go with 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 as sort of uppercase alternatives. So a b c [a bi ci], A B C [ia ibi ici] and shift 1 2 3 becomes ! @ # "exclamation mark, at sign, pound sign" or [ian ibin icin] which may look and sound "funny" but at least the names are shorter. So far we have names for a to z, A to Z, 1 to 0, so:

! ian
@ ibin
# icin
$ idin
% ien
^ ifin
& igin
* ihin
( iin
) ijin

The above derive their names from keyboard association still common in the 21st century and may still be used for some time, perhaps a significant time. Still, when you get to the bottom of the logic barrel, you go with what's left. So for the remaining characters, can they be associated in some way with keyboard characters that already have a name? Well, of course.

In the upper left corner we have ` and ~. The upper left letter is q. Also the ` key is before 1 which could be the zero [jin] position if you start counting from zero. So ` is qijin and ~ is iqijin. Marginally logical if you're looking at a keyboard, which is likely. Remember, the international pronunciation of "j" is the English "y" sound as in "you, yet, yea" so [jin] sounds like "yean" (rhymes with Jean) which is an Old English word referring to the act of a sheep or goat giving birth to a lamb or kid.

` qijin
~ iqijin

On the other end of the numbers are - and = characters that are above the [ ] and \ keys. We just shifted q up and over, so how about shifting y and u up and over the other way for - and =, and use i o p for [ ] \. If you start counting from zero, then the `~ key should be the 0 [jin] key which is how we came up with [qijin] and [iqijin]. So if we start with the corresponding letter name, what logically goes next? Well, logically nothing, zero, nada, zero... oh, wait, we used zero [jin] for `~ names, so....

- yjin
= ujin
[ ijin
] ojin
\ pijin

And shifted:

_ iyjin
+ iujin
{ iijin
} iojin
| ipijin

To carry on, there remains ; and ' so use k and l:

; kijin
' lijin

And shifted:

: ikijin
" ilijin

Only three more to go:

, bijin
. nijin
/ mijin

And shifted:

< ibijin
> inijin
? imijin

That leaves a lot of sounds left to name the Bliss ideograph elements. The ideographs are made up of 32 elemental symbols that can combine to make all other current symbols and all possible ones to come too. A given ideograph is composed of a distinct set of elemental shapes of several orientations and sizes. Each element must have a name and the name of an ideograph could be composed of the sounds given to the elements that make it up. So the names for the elements should be short and sweet. Putting together all the sounds of all the elements that make up each unique ideograph would create a unique name for it.


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