Being an Account of the Syllabary Used by the Basimbi, a Brief History, and an Appendix on the subject of numerical notation.
The Kisimbi Syllabary (Ikási “our glyphs”; also Bisóno waBarúme, “Badume symbols”), originally derived from Wasiketian hieroglyphs, is the most commonly-used writing system across the Jungle Federation, in competition with Wasiketian demotic (from which it is derived), the *Zulu umbhalo wotshani or “grass script” (a semanto-phonetic system written with quagga-hair brushes), the *Arabic Third Era Cuneiform, the Vittaurian alphabet, the Nandiguese Block Script (not unlike Hangul), and the *Maori abugida. The original Wasiketian hieroglyphs were painted onto bark books (bimajá) or pottery, and initially this was applied to their Demotic script as well (spelling things out character-by-character with a marker at the beginning to represent the actual word). When the Basimbi moved in, they adopted a similar style, until during the late 4th Millennium it was noted that it was just as easy to scratch markings onto the leaves of palm trees (bibále) when out on jungle expeditions, and they lasted about as long. So the old bark books went out, and palm-leaf scrolls and codexes were in, with the added consequence that the script became far less angular than before (so as not to make holes in the palm leaves). Today, the writing utensil of choice is still the stylus (yao), but the writing material is paper–pulped palm fibres reinforced with ground-up calcium carbonate for choice, although other types of paper are seen as perfectly viable as well.
The Kisimbi version is markedly conservative; other variations across the Jungle Federation have taken to creating interesting ligatures and variations on the letters to better transcribe their languages and the languages of others, but the Basimbi seem content with their system, only using the fancier ligatures when teaching other languages.
The glyphs represent the basic characters of Fourth Millennium Kibungo, with some adjustment for spelling changes over the next two thousand years but not enough that the language would be incomprehensible to a scribe from that time.
Below, a rendition of the “Seven Kills” poem:
And finally, a list of numbers in Kisimbi. The original forms were mere scratches representing the Basimbi habit of counting on the hands (left hand, right index finger touching the others from thumb to little, then a repeat of the same to get to ten), but over time the forms were simplified using a shorthand that appeared during the 44th Century. The number zero (ukárundu) is derived from the -U-glyph. More complicated numerical transactions will be described in the numbers section.
See cardinal numbers for a translation.
A quick note on decimal places: the general policy is to place a ten-marker if there are numbers larger than zero two or more decimal places apart OR one number with an uninterrupted link to the end of the number. So, for example, ba-dóngo “twenty” would be written as 2-10, ba-dóngo-móli“twenty-one” as 2-1, ba-káma-móli “201” as 2-0-1, ba-kútu “2,000” as 2-1K, ba-kútu-móli “2,001” as 2-1K-1, etc. The tens are increased until a million, and then it becomes compulsory to include one at the appropriate place and carry on from there; for example six-billion two-million forty-thousand ninety one (6,002,040,091) would be written 6-1K-2-1M-0-4-10K-9-1.