Please help me identify this language, it is hand drawn and I would like to know which language describes it the best. Thanks

writing sample

  • 3
    Where did you find this?
    – fdb
    Jan 7, 2015 at 23:24
  • 5
    The question is essentially unanswerable without more information, since it could be made up (not representing a real language), or really sloppy writing. www.omniglot.com has a ton of writing systems which you could look at.
    – user6726
    Jan 9, 2015 at 3:08

2 Answers 2


Given that you have not given a source or at least an explanation how you got to this and the snippet you gave is tiny makes the question virtually impossible to answer - if an answer actually exists.

However, I can demonstrate that it is highly likely that no answer exists (though the short length of the example makes this argument not as thorough and certain as it could be with a longer example):

  1. Word boundaries and repetitions of glyphs indicate that this is not simply a listing of the letters of the "alphabet" but is supposed to be a valid sentence of the language. Hence I will continue to treat it as something supposed to be a sentence.
  2. The repetition count of individual glyphs does not obey Zipf's law: for example, in English <e> is the most common letter, and even e.g. an alphasyllabary has a similar distribution on their glyphs. Of course, just like one can come up with English sentences without <e>, this is also possible in other languages: in a short example the distribution may be quite far off, but this is beyond what is statistically likely even for this length.
  3. The glyphs are not as distinctive as expected from an actual language: writing is torn between ease of writing (as few strokes as possible) and ease of comprehension (as clear as possible) - while both discourages overly complex characters, ease of writing demands a lower complexity than ease of comprehension would like to see. While we see some more complex glyphs at the end, distinctiveness is not actually given. Contrast, for example, how the Latin alphabet has e.g. <A O L K S W> or Devanagari has <अ एी पॆ ऌ ऋॎ>. Similarly, I don't think it could be a shorthand system (like e.g. this) since those are usually far more distinctive and far easier to write.
  4. The distribution of individual glyphs across the word is unrealistic: the glyphs of the last three "words" are completely different from the rest. Specificially they have significantly more complex glyphs than the rest. A similar distribution in the Latin alphabet would be "dbcea sop likx wrtz": one can certainly come up with an English language sentence with such a pattern, but it's going to be hard. Or maybe you have given us two examples in one image, not one?
  5. The overbar in e.g. Devanagari serves to mark words as a prosodic unit (compare how English uses spaces for that). The distribution of word lengths usually obeys Zipf's law, which is not the case here, so as marker of word boundary it would be weird. If the line were an integral part of the characters (which the style of writing seems to indicate - note how e.g. the second "word" consists only of broken bars) a different distribution of characters without overbar would be likely.
  6. As a commenter mentioned, sloppy writing might be imaginable - but I don't consider it likely due to the above characteristics. As per 3, even sloppy writing will first cut down on complex characters rather than on essential information. As per 5, the overbar would be lost before the part below it. Compare how when you write sloppy English you would fail to dot your i's and cross your t's. If the example here were sloppy writing, it would like writing only the dots of <i> and crosses of <t> in English and omitting all the rest (which, actually, would distinguish <t> and <l> better).

Hence it is highly likely that this is actually no language at all and even if it were it is virtually certain that your snippet is not actually a sensible sentence. Even if it were the equivalent of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", a different pattern would be expected - even moreso for legetimate sentences of a language. Contrast the Voynich manuscript which has all the characteristics of real writing - except nobody can read it.

By the way: there aren't just alphabets (for example, Devanagari, the writing system that most likely inspired this, is an alphasyllabary) and writing system does not equal language (since one language may have several writing systems and a writing system can be used in multiple languages).

  • 1
    As well as resembling Devanagari it also resembles upside-down Arabic. Jan 13, 2015 at 15:00
  • 1
    And the Mongolian script, rotated 90 degrees. Very few scripts developed independently. I'd say this is clearly inspired by Devanagari etc, but I think this answer presents solid arguments to say it's made up.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 16, 2015 at 5:05

If you turn it upside down it looks like a derivative of Arabic writing. Check out the various examples of adapted Arabic script here: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/arabic.htm

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