The classification of scripts and writing systems can be difficult. Some relationships and derivations are well-documented and accepted, but others are less clear. Many scripts also seem to have no particular relationship to any other script, other than hints of influence.

At the risk of over-simplification, ScriptSource uses a region-oriented family structure, where scripts are grouped mainly by where they were developed. Some consideration is also given to obvious similarities - Brahmic origin, writing direction, and others.

We would like to use a more robust and valid classification system in the future, and are very open to your suggestions.

FamilyDescriptionExamples
African Scripts of indigenous African origin and heritage. Some have been influenced by Arabic writing, but most are unique inventions with interesting histories. Ethiopic, Tifinagh, Vai
American Scripts invented in the Americas and Caribbean, mostly for Native American languages. Cherokee, Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, Mayan Hieroglyphs
Artificial Scripts created for scientific, technical or fictional use. Except in the case of Braille, there are no groups that use them as a sole or primary writing system. Shavian, Tengwar, Braille
Central Asian Scripts from the heart of Asia, separate from, but influenced by semitic scripts to the west, Indic to the south and Chinese to the east. Tibetan, Mongolian
East Asian Scripts that share a heritage in ancient Chinese writing, or are unique to East Asia. Japanese, Korean, Yi
European Scripts of Europe, particularly those related to ancient Greek and non-semitic Mediterranean writing systems, but also including unique systems. These typically share a left-to-right writing direction. Latin, Cyrillic, Runic
Indic Scripts of the Indic subcontinent that are mostly descended from, or influenced by, the ancient Brahmi script. Devanagari, Telugu, Bengali
Insular Southeast Asian Scripts of Indonesia and the Philippines. Some of these have a distant Brahmic history or influence. Batak, Balinese, Tagalog
Middle Eastern Scripts originating in the region between the Eastern Mediterranean and India, many of which share a semitic heritage and are abjads written from right-to-left. Arabic, Hebrew
Pacific Scripts originating on one of the approximately 25,000 islands lying south of the Tropic of Cancer in the Pacific Ocean, including Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Rongorongo
Signed Language Scripts used to encode the positions and movements of signed languages. SignWriting, Stokoe Notation
Southeast Asian Scripts developed in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam. Almost all have Brahmic origins. Thai, Khmer
[unspecified] Other classifications of symbols, which do not form 'scripts' in the conventional sense. Mathematical Notation, Code for Inherited Script