Zurvár Language and Culture - The Oksos

The modern oksos (alphabet) was created by the Zurvár scholar Cufár Bekátal Kuváravik (commonly known as Cufár of Bekátalá) in -ST0281. The period from the early -ST0270's to the mid -ST0290's was one of great linguistic enquiry among the Zurvár and Cufár was only one of many researchers and scholars proposing reforms of the language and its written forms. In fact there were at least five other mon oksos created and promoted around the same time, Cufár's system however managed to outperform them all, and was eventually adopted as the official standard for written Zurvár in -ST0109.

There are several reasons for the sucess of Cufár's oksos (the oksos cufárurn). At the time of its creation each mòet or ancestoral house had it's own set of characters for writing. These systems varied from inadequately simple all the way through to ridiculously ornate - very few of them were truly practical. Cufár based his system on the oksos of his mòet (the Kuvár), but simplified the letter forms down to symbols that could be written with no more than two (or in one case three) pen strokes. At the same time he linked each letter to a common object starting with its associated sound and altered the letter forms to somewhat resemble these objects, creating a convenient system of pnemonics for those learning the system (this is more successful in some cases than others - it is quite easy to see the 'y' glyph as a ye'ras or fish spear, but it takes some imagination to see 'r' as a rášár or pennant).

Cufár also had a very good ear for sounds, and the oksos cufárurn distinguished between several phonemes that competing systems bundled together. Most of the other systems collapsed 't' and 'd', and some 'b' and 'p'. Cufár regarded these as distinct sounds and gave each it's own glyph. But the most remarkable feature of Cufár's oksos was the way he handled the vowels.

Most of the traditional mòet alphabets didn't record vowels, resulting in some ambiguity where similar words were concerned. All of the new mon oksos represented vowels in some fashion - most with a distinct symbol for each vowel - but Cufár's system was simple and elegant - if somewhat arbitrary.

He began by defining all the vowel sounds he could recognise in Zurvár, coming up with 15. He chose five of these (represented in the orthography by the English short i,e,a,u and o) as 'basic' vowels. He then assigned the rest of them as 'secondary' vowels - indicated by the basic vowel plus a diacratic line. This system proved remarkably easy to memorise and quickly made the oksos cufárurn a favourite amongst writing teachers and students.

(If there is any fault with the oksos cufárurn it is in the way that the 'secondary' vowels were assigned. Whatever his other linguistic talents Cufár seems to have had a problem with the categorisation of vowel sounds. For instance, it would make sense for the long vowel found in English 'heat' or 'beat' to be assigned to the 'i' glyph - but it is found under 'e'. The long vowel in 'too' and 'through' should probably be assigned to 'u', but Cufár put it under 'o'. He also seems to have remained blissfully unaware of dipthongs, with 'bouy' occuring under 'u' and 'here' not in the vowel system at all, but requiring the addition of an 'r'. This can be partially explained by the fact that vowels were a relatively new field of study at the time, although as gifted a linguist as Cufár appears to have been should have been able to come up with a better system. Why he did not is one of the enduring mysteries of Zurvár linguistsics.)

This page displays the standard modern forms of Cufár's glyphs, which in some cases have drifted quite substantially from his orginals. A strong parity between certain letters and their equivilants in Earth's Roman alphabet will be noted, which is due to at least two factors. Firstly it is known that Cufár researched a number of other alphabets before creating his own, including the Roman. Anecdotal evidence even suggests that he was an admirer of the Roman letter forms, and may have conciously modelled some of his glyphs on them. Secondly when the oksos cufárurn was adopted as the standard Zurvár writing system at the second Wàcurátá conference in -ST0109 some glyphs were modified to strengthen the resemblance. This was an attempt to mollify several factions at the conference who favoured a Roman based orthography for the language - a measure that worked spectacularly as the modified oksos cufárurn was supported almost unanimously in the final vote.


There are five basic voldránì or vowels in the oksos cufárurn, and ten additional or secondary vowels, created with superior and/or inferior diacratic lines. This table displays each glyph, its sound, its representation in the Roman orthography and the pnemonic assigned to it by Cufár.

Oksos Value Orthography Pnemonic
Oksos i bit i isod
Oksos i with upper diacratic bite ì isod
Oksos e bet e etáket
Oksos e with upper diacratic beet è etáket
Oksos a bat a atácan
Oksos a with upper diacratic bay à atácan
Oksos a with lower diacratic bar á atácan
Oksos u hut u u'ret
Oksos u with upper diacratic book ù u'ret
Oksos u with lower diacratic boy î u'ret
Oksos u with both upper and lower diacratic taught â u'ret
Oksos o hot o òprek
Oksos o with upper diacratic boat ò òprek
Oksos o with lower diacratic boot û òprek
Oksos o with both upper and lower diacratic cow ô òprek


There are twenty-five pereþ or consonants in the oksos cufárurn. This table displays each glyph, its sound, its representation in the Roman orthography and the pnemonic assigned to it by Cufár (where this is currently known, some are proving surprisingly difficult to pin down).

Oksos Value Letter Pnemonic
Oksos P pull p Variation on 'b'
Oksos B beet b birit
Oksos W wait w wok
Oksos M meet m márgárkát
Oksos F feet f -
Oksos V very v -
Oksos Edh that ð -
Oksos Th thin þ Variation on 'ð'
Oksos T tooth t talabon
Oksos D deed d dakadá
(Tube Wave)
Oksos S suit s sadár
(Settler's Knife)
Oksos Z zoot z -
Oksos R riot r rášár
Oksos Trilled R riot (trilled) rr Variation on 'r'
Oksos L look l lagaš
Oksos N need n negátul
Oksos Sh shoot š šagaþ
Oksos Ch cheat c câran
(Lifting Frame)
Oksos Y yet y ye'ras
(Fish Spear)
Oksos K kit k karácel
Oksos G get g gamaròdá
Oksos Q loch q Variation on 'k'
Oksos NG sang ñ ungármá
Oksos H heat h hinaket
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