The study of Star Trek's Vulcans
Thanks so much for documenting this so clearly. Most of the writing in vertical format is strongly evocative (for me) of classical Mongolian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_script), Chinese/Japanese 'grass-hand' (sōsho) calligraphy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_calligraphy) and cursive Tibetan (http://www.asianart.com/exhibitions/calligraphy/intro.html). Several of the glyphs in isolation also come across as vaguely Korean.The religion relationship is also fascinating. Modern Golic vulcan has several vocabulary items that deal with religion and belief systems, but these concepts, where ‘mystical’ in nature, are likely more descriptive of non-traditional (alien) beliefs in relation to the Vulcans we know from the 'contemporary' centuries of the primary Star Trek universe(s). This is not an exhaustive list, but gives some idea of of what it's possible to talk about in the dialect of Gol when Spock was pursuing Kohlinar under the tutelage of T’Sai. I am not sure of the derivation of ekon (deity), however. The source may be entirely non-canonical.- ekon, god- Oekon, God (Honorable-God: Jehova, Allah, etc.)- tehnekonel, sin (action against god)- ekon-shoren, prayer (calling out to god)- ri’ekon-dva, atheism (no-god-belief)- ekon-khausu, pharaoh (divine-ruler)The word for “religion” itself does not reference any deity per se. It is simply odva (honorable/respectable belief). “Devotion”, vaikaya, does not contain a semantic reference to ekon, but does contain the syllable *ka*, which is apparently etymologically related to ka.tra, which is a “collection/group/assmembly of ‘ka’”.It's very interesting to me that you point out that the canonical symbols are produced horizontally on some of the garments, while the standard *default* is clearly vertical. If word-related symbols are designed without regard to spacial orientation (i.e. there are no crucial distinctions like p vs. b or b vs d) then they can be unambiguously legible in any orientation. The writing systems for Golic Vulcan that I've designed based on Michael Okuda's spiraling “calligraphic Vulcan” (inspired by musical notation) can be written horizontally or vertically, left to right or right to left (even spirally) without fear of loss of legibility. (http://community.livejournal.com/vuhlkansu/6998.html)I've also noticed that meditation is very important to the Vulcans as it is to many Terran religions. One of the important practices within the bounds of activities that can be and are commonly done *mindfully* is calligraphy. This can be seen in both the East (very commonly in Zen and esoteric Buddhism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddha%E1%B9%83_script)) and in the illuminated holy texts of the historic Christian West (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Kells) and Islam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_calligraphy).And, even though The Trinity (rata, tafar, tapan - or other variations in similar context) is not featured on Michael Kaplan's Vulcan garb in the Lens Flare universe, Spock is being exposed to ‘calligraphy’ in his pit as a child at the Vulcan Learning Center. This implies that their own writing is important to them even though they are thoroughly inundated with the linguistic standards to the Federation as of the time of Sarek, Amanda and Spock. Roman-alphabet writing is also extremely common in post-WWII Japan and it is the primary foundation for data input on non-phone based keyboards, but it will likely never replace the traditional scripts. I can imagine a similar parallel in T'Pol's and Spock's worlds. Alphabetic text is extremely LOGICAL because of it’s efficiency, but if calligraphy has a strong relationship to traditional Vulcan art and meditative practices (as can be assumed by the walls of P’Jem, et al), I doubt seriously that that FSE would be a serious threat… that is until Vulcan became an endangered language and their way of life and endangered culture at the hand of Nero and his Nerada.