Shan script

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The Shan script is a Brahmic abugida used for writing Shan language which was derived from the Burmese script.[3]

Shan script
လိၵ်ႈတႆး
Shan-liktai2.png
Script type
LanguagesShan language
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Lik-Tai
Unicode
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.
Graphical summary of the development of Tai scripts from a Shan perspective, as reported in Sai Kam Mong's Shan Script book.

HistoryEdit

The old Shan script used until the 1960s did not differentiate all vowels and diphthongs and had only one tone marker and a single form could represent up to 15 sounds. Only the well-trained were able to read Shan. This has been fixed, making the modern Shan alphabet easy to read, with all tones indicated unambiguously.

CharacteristicsEdit

The Shan script is characterised by its circular letters, which are very similar to those of the Mon script. The standard Shan script is an abugida, all letters having an inherent vowel a. Vowels are represented in the form of diacritics placed around the consonants.[3]

VowelsEdit

The representation of the vowels depends partly on whether the syllable has a final consonant. They have been arranged in a manner to show the logical relationships between the medial and the final forms and between the individual vowels and the vowel clusters they help form.

Vowels
Medial Vowels

a (a)

aa (ɑː)

i (i)

e (e)

ae (æ)

u (u)

o (o)

aw/o (ɔ)
ို
eu (ɯ)
ိူ
oe (ə)
[4]
wa (ʷ)
Final Vowels

aa (ɑː)

ii ()

e (e)

ae (æ)

uu ()
ူဝ်
o (o)
ေႃ
aw/o (ɔ)
ိုဝ်
eu (ɯ)
ိူဝ်
oe(ə)

ai (ai)
ၢႆ
aai (aːi)
ုၺ်
ui (ui)
ူၺ်
ohi/uai (oi)
ွႆ
oi/oy (ɔi)
ိုၺ်
uei/uey (ɨi)
ိူၺ်
oei/oey (əi)
ဝ်
aw (au)
ၢဝ်
aaw (aːu)
ိဝ်
iu (iu)
ဵဝ်
eo(eu)
ႅဝ်
aeo (æu)
ႂ်
aɨ ()

ConsonantsEdit

The Shan alphabet is much less complex than the Thai one and lacks the notions of high-class, mid-class and low-class consonants, distinctions which help the Thai alphabet to number some 44 consonants. Shan has only 19 consonants and all tones are clearly indicated with unambiguous tonal markers at the end of the syllable (in the absence of any marker, the default is the rising tone).

The number of consonants in a textbook may vary: there are 19 universally accepted Shan consonants (ၵ ၶ င ၸ သ ၺ တ ထ ၼ ပ ၽ ၾ မ ယ ရ လ ဝ ႁ ဢ) and five more which represent sounds not found in Shan, g, z, b, d and th ([θ] as in "thin"). These five (ၷ ၹ ၿ ၻ ႀ) are quite rare. In addition, most editors include a dummy consonant used to support leading vowels. A textbook may therefore present 18-24 consonants.

Consonants

ka (ka)

kha (kʰa)

nga (ŋa)

tsa (ca)

sa (sa)

nya (ɲa)

ta (ta)

tha (tʰa)

na (na)

pa (pa)

pha (pʰa)

fa (fa)

ma (ma)

ya (ja)

ra (ra)

la (la)

wa (wa)

ha (ha)

a (ʔa)
Final consonants and other symbols
မ်
(m)
ၼ်
(n)
င်
(ŋ)
ပ်
(p)
တ်
(t)
ၵ်
(k)

(ʃa)

(pʰra)

TonesEdit

The tones are indicated by tone markers at the end of the syllable (represented by a dash in the following table), namely:

Sign Name Tone
ယၵ်း (ják) 2
ယၵ်းၸမ်ႈ (ják tsam) 3
ၸမ်ႈၼႃႈ (tsam naː) 4
ၸမ်ႈတႂ်ႈ (tsam tau) 5
ယၵ်းၶိုၼ်ႈ (ják kʰɯn) 6

While the reformed script originally used only four diacritic tone markers, equivalent to the five tones spoken in the southern dialect, the Lashio-based Shan Literature and Culture Association now, for a number of words, promotes the use of the 'yak khuen' to denote the sixth tone as pronounced in the north.

NumeralsEdit

There are differences between the numerals used by the Shan script in China and Myanmar. The numerals in Shan in China are similar to the numbers in Tham script and Tai Le script in China and the numbers in Burmese, while the Shan numerals in Myanmar form their own system, similar to the Burmese Tai Le numerals.

Arabic 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Tham Hora
Chinese Shan
Chinese Tai Le
Burmese
Burmese Shan
Burmese Tai Le    

PunctuationEdit


Comma

Period

Exclamation

Letter reduplication

UnicodeEdit

The Shan script has been encoded as a part of the Myanmar block with the release version of Unicode 3.0.

Myanmar[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+100x က
U+101x
U+102x
U+103x     
U+104x
U+105x
U+106x
U+107x
U+108x
U+109x
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 13.0

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet a key to the history of mankind. p. 411.
  2. ^ Aung-Thwin, Michael A. (2005). The Mon Paradigm and the Origins of the Burma Script. University of Hawai'i Press. pp. 154–178. ISBN 9780824828868. JSTOR j.ctt1wn0qs1.10.
  3. ^ a b Ager, Simon. "Shan alphabet, pronunciation and language". Omniglot. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Data" (PDF). unicode.org. Retrieved 2020-06-22.