Shavian Alphabet


George Bernard Shaw, known as Bernard Shaw by his own insistence, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist, and political activist. He was an advocate for the reform of the English alphabet and writing system. He provided posthumous funding for the creation of a new English alphabet, with Kingsley Read as the author.

In 1960, a new alphabet consisting of 40 letters was developed and named Shavian in honor of Bernard Shaw. However, due to disputes over Shaw's will, the trust responsible for the development of the new alphabet could only afford to publish one book: a bi-alphabetic edition of Shaw's play “Androcles and the Lion,” featuring both conventional and Shavian spellings (1962 Penguin Books, London). Copies of this book were sent to major libraries in English-speaking countries.

Attempts were made to teach this new alphabet in schools. However, similar to the alphabet, it did not gain popularity and failed to replace the Latin alphabet.