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Learning ClaWrite

The goal of this page is to make learning (American English) ClaWrite a painless process. To do that, we'll break it down into a few separate elements.

If you followed an outside link directly to this page, start here for an overview.

 * 1. Vowels

Vowels are one of the most frustrating parts of ClaWrite if you don't know the trick -- and one of the easiest parts if you do.

Take a look at the vowels, pulled out of the rest of the alphabet and lined up side by side:

| - || = | |
a e i o u
Notice a few things about them.

 * 2. Consonants

ClaWrite's consonants are straightforward; they were designed to resemble their English counterparts as closely as possible. I'll simply list them here, noting oddities when necessary.
b c d f g h j k
At first glance, you might be tempted to confuse "d" with the English letter "o". But remember, vowels' lines all go in a single direction! The "d" character has both horizontal and vertical slashes, so it's a consonant.

l m n p qu r s t v
Since "q" is (almost) always followed by a "u" in English, ClaWrite's "q" character is actually a "qu." This not only saves you a little effort, but also reduces the syntactic ambiguity of vowels being stacked next to each other. Of course, if you're so used to writing the "u" that you can't bear to leave it out, go ahead and add it. People will know what you mean.

Also, don't confuse the "v" character for a "u". Remember, vowels' lines go in a single direction!

w x y z          
... And that's pretty much that.

 * 3. Capitalization

ClaWrite has no separate capital letters. However, the triple-horizontal-bar character signifies that the following letter is capitalized:
[triple-horizontal-bar] - -
E e

 * 4. Basic Punctuation

The most commonly used punctuation in ClaWrite all follows the same pattern: Two horizontal, two vertical slashes lined up to draw a "corner."

In informal use, the "corner" grids can be reduced to a single, curved slash in the appropriate corner. In formal use, the whole character is used. I've reprinted both characters below.

. , ? !
"Full stop." Reading left to right, the horizontal lines lead you into a wall. "Pause." Reading left to right, you hit a wall, but the horizontal lines lead you forward. This is the one that looks like a question mark. The corner is on top, but it doesn't look like a question mark. :)

The ellipsis ("...") deserves special mention, as it's one of only two common uses of diagonal slashes in ClaWrite: rather than abbreviating three consecutive periods as ",,," -- which would require individual attention to each of the curved strokes -- many folks prefer to use "///", which can be drawn with a single slash of the claws.

On the other hand, some people prefer to use diagonal strokes for numeric digits, and the /// ellipsis conflicts with that. So it's your choice whether to do this or not.

 * 5. Other Punctuation

Other punctuation marks are a mixed bag, but still stay reasonably close to their English counterparts.

“ ” ( ) ; :
From left to right:

 * 6. Miscellany

We're done! But as a reward for making it all the way here, I'm going to give you two other little tidbits used in other ClaWrite variations that you may enjoy inserting into your writing.

First: is the symbol for th. In other languages, this is used to draw a distinction between hard-stop (t') and soft (th) pronunciations. But in English, you can simply use it to save yourself a few characters for a common letter pair.

Second: You may notice that we haven't yet seen the character where every position in the grid is filled --

There's no single character that uses all of the slashes. This makes it available for such uses as section breaks, if you need to switch thoughts mid-line, or to set off important material.

Alternatively -- and informally -- ClaWrite users can use this as a one-character curse word. Consider it the claw-slash equivalent of mashing both hands down on the keyboard to produce a gibberish expletive like "DSVOPIH!"

And on that dignified note, let's put to use the skills we've just learned. Why not go decipher a classic poem rewritten in ClaWrite?

Up to ClaWrite index

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