Second Wave Relaunch

100 new scripts and a challenge to solve a puzzle


The Atlas of Endangered and Emerging Alphabets was launched in January 2019 as the first part of our Red List initiative to identify and research every script currently being used in the world, and to assess its vitality or vulnerability.

Global Impact

It was, and still is, the only resource specifically dedicated to this ambition, and this crisis. Within six months it had had a third of a million visitors from more than 150 countries.

The exploration did not stop there. Every few weeks we heard of another script still being used by some minority or marginalized community; every few weeks we learned of another community that had decided to design and adopt its own form of writing for its own spoken language.

A New Holiday

On January 23, World Endangered Writing Day, we’ll launch the Second Wave of Atlas content—another 100 scripts in all, complete with such information as we have been able to gather about them, including:

  • Scripts used, along with special dice, for divination;
  • A new African script whose design is based on the logograms painted on the walls of houses in its community; and
  • A script solely used to write poems to be recited during male circumcision ritual.
Calligraphy by Michael Pangilinan

It is not only 100 new scripts that are being unveiled, though.

Contest and Prize

The expanded Atlas conceals the chance to win an extraordinary prize: the handmade carving that is the basis for the World Endangered Writing Day logo, in the traditional Kulitan script for the islands now known as the Philippines, which translates into English as “writing.”

The profiles of the 100 news scripts are peppered with clues, many of the red fishy variety, that when solved will reveal a 12-word sentence about writing—a sentence that (to give a further clue) also appears in Tim Brookes’ new book Writing Beyond Writing: Lessons from Endangered Alphabets. (ADD LINK) The author of the first correct solution, submitted by email to, will win the carving. Warning: it is not an easy puzzle; but then again, it is not an ordinary prize.

Event Details

The Second Wave reveal will take place at noon EST on January 23rd, 2024.

The third and final wave of the Red List research is scheduled for summer 2024.

For more information, contact

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