The Xi'an alphabet ( Xi'an: kyexiin (Proper); literally script / alphabetic letter; ) is a writing system to write the Xi'an language.
The alphabet has over 200 "letters", symbols or glyphs. A letter is referred to as a kyexiin, which translates as "written symbol" Each letter has more than one form (basic, block, corner). The Xi'an writing system also has a hyphen, 'comma' (epentheses and pause), quotation and a period (full stop) mark. Proper nouns are also marked in the Xi'an script. There are a special glyph for vowel muting and a glyph equal to the ampersand (&).
Some glyphs can occur in different shapes or variants. Glyphs are grouped into blocks which form individual syllables. Often a single syllable represents an 'elemental' concept in the language, and is thus called a tai ( Xi'an: tai (Proper); ). Multiple tai can combine to form compound words. The block format is always:
VC, Vowel - Consonant
CV, Consonant - Vowel
CVC, Consonant - Vowel - Consonant
Only a certain set of consonants (denoted below as those that have a 'corner form') are permitted to come at the end of a syllable. This applies to both CVC and VC syllables. Occasionally, and particularly within proper names, syllables will be compressed into a minimised number of blocks. An example of this is the word Xi'an, which in-lore has historically been written as ( Xi'an: 9xi2an (Proper); ) but is now most commonly written as ( Xi'an: 9xyan2 (Proper); ).
It is important to note that pitch diacritics can fundamentally change the meaning of a word. It can be sometimes very tricky to distinguish these diacritics from each other.