It was created in 1840, by a British missionary named James Evans, which was based on the scripts for the blind–James Frere’s alphabet and Thomas Lucas’ shorthand script; and the Devangari script. It was specifically designed for the Ojibwe and the Cree people, whom Evans was sent to convert to the Methodist faith.
As shown above, the abugida characters with the [a] ending were chosen to be transliterated, specifically because they are typically the default characters without any ligatures or modifications. However, the unrounded front secondary vowel [e] is made the standalone [e] character.
As can be expected of a syllabary, every character represents a consonant-vowel cluster. The ways that they differentiate have to do with their rotations. Each rotation depends on which vowel it is. For example, the vowel [e] is rotated at 90 degrees, so a character that has a consonant-[e] value would rotate 90 degrees.
In order to signify an ending consonant, the upper right ligature is the shorter version of the consonant that it ends on.
Unfortunately, there were false accusations imposed upon Evans, which resulted in his extradition to Britain to face trial. Although he was proven innocent, he died shortly after the charges dropped.
It has been used as a script for Native American languages specifically in the Algonquian and Inuit languages. It is mainly used in Canada, which is where a lot of these languages are spoken.
- “Evan, James.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
- Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics
- Devanāgarī (देवनागरी लिपि)
- “Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics.” ScriptSource.
- “Winnipeg Forks – Plains Cree Inscription.” Wikipedia. 2005. CC BY-SA 3.0. Changes include placing image between two images.