Tai Tham script

The Tai Tham script (Tham meaning "scripture"), also historically known simply as Tua Tham (Northeastern Thai: ตัวธรรม /tùa tʰám/, cf. Lao: ຕົວທຳ/ຕົວທັມ BGN/PCGN toua tham) or 'dharma letters', also known as Lanna script (Thai: อักษรธรรมล้านนา RTGSAkson Tham Lan Na; Burmese: လန်နအက္ခရာ RTGS: Lanna Akara) or Tua Mueang (ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᨾᩮᩥᩬᨦ, Northern Thai pronunciation: [tǔa.mɯ̄aŋ] About this soundlisten, ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᨵᨾ᩠ᨾ᩼), is a writing system used for Northern Thai (i.e., Kham Mueang), Tai Lü, and Khün, all three belonging to the group of Southwestern Tai languages. In addition, the Lanna script is used for Lao Tham (or Old Lao) and other dialect variants in Buddhist palm-leaf manuscripts and notebooks. The script is also known as Tham or Yuan script.[5]

Tai Tham
Lanna
Tai Tham script sample.png
Script type
Time period
c. 1300–present
Directionleft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesNorthern Thai, Tai Lü, Khün, Isan and Lao
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
New Tai Lue
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Lana, 351 Edit this on Wikidata, ​Tai Tham (Lanna)
Unicode
Unicode alias
Tai Tham
U+1A20–U+1AAF
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

The Northern Thai language is a close relative of (standard) Thai. It is spoken by nearly 6 million people in Northern Thailand and several thousand in Laos of whom few are literate in Lanna script. The script is still read by older monks. Northern Thai has six linguistic tones and Thai only five, making transcription into the Thai alphabet problematic. There is some resurgent interest in the script among younger people, but an added complication is that the modern spoken form, called Kammuang, differs in pronunciation from the older form.[6]

There are 670,000 speakers of Tai Lü, some of those born before 1950 are literate in Tham, also known as Old Tai Lue.[citation needed] The script has also continued to be taught in the monasteries. The New Tai Lue script is derived from Tham. There are 120,000 speakers of Khün for which Lanna is the only script.

HistoryEdit

 
Nameboard of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai written with Lanna: Wat Mokhamtuang (and street number 119 in Thai)

The Tai Tham script shows a strong similarity to the Mon script used by the Mon kingdom of Haripunjaya around the 13th century CE, in the present-day Lamphun Province of Northern Thailand. The oldest known document containing the Tai Tham script is dated to 1376 CE and was found in Sukhothai. The document is a bilingual inscription on a gold folio, containing one line of Pali written in the Tai Tham script, while the vernacular is written in the Siamese language, using the Sukhothai script. The Tai Tham script was adapted to write vernacular languages not later than the 15th century CE, most probably in Chiang Mai, in the Lan Na Kingdom.[7] The script spread from Lan Na to surrounding areas such as modern day Laos, Isan, Shan State and Sipsong Panna. Numerous local variants developed, such as the Lue variant (Sipsong Panna), the Khuen variant (Shan State) and the Tham Lao variant (Laos and Isan). The variants differ only slightly in appearance, and the system of writing has remained the same.[8] As the name suggests, the use of the Tham (Dharma) script in Lao was restricted to religious literature, either used to transcribe Pali, or religious treatises written in Lao intended solely for the clergy. Religious instructional materials and prayer books dedicated to the laity were written in Tai Noi instead. As a result, only a few people outside the temples were literate in the script. In Isan, evidence of the script includes two stone inscriptions, such as the one housed at Wat Tham Suwannakhuha in Nong Bua Lamphu, dated to 1564, and another from Wat Mahaphon in Maha Sarakham from the same period.[9]

Most of the script is recorded on palm-leaf manuscripts, many of which were destroyed during the 'Thaification' purges of the 1930s; contemporaneously this period of Thai nationalisation also ended its use as the primary written language in Northern Thailand.[10] Although no longer in use in Isan, the alphabet is enjoying a resurgence in Northern Thailand, and is still used as the primary written script for the Tai Lü and Tai Khün languages spoken in the 'Golden Triange' where Thailand, Laos, Burma and southern China meet. Its use is rather limited to the long-term monks in Laos and most materials published today are in the modern Lao script.[10]

CharacteristicsEdit

Although both the ancient forms of the Mon and Khmer script are different, they are both abugidas that descend from the Brahmic scripts introduced via contacts with South Indian traders, soldiers, merchants and Brahmans. As a Mon-derived script, Tai Tham has many similarities with the writing systems for Burmese, Shan, Rakhine and modern Mon and rounder letter forms compared to the angled letters of Khmer.[10] Letters can be stacked, sometimes with special subscript forms, similar to 'ຼ' which was used in Tai Noi and also in modern Lao as the subscript version of 'ຣ' /r/ or 'ລ' /l/ as in Lao: ຫຼວງພຼະບາງ/ຫລວງພຣະບາງ. Letters also are more circular or rouded than the typically angled style of Khmer.[9]

ConsonantsEdit

Consonants are divided into two groups: main consonants (พยัญชนะหลัก) and added consonants (พยัญชนะเติม). There are 33 main consonants, and there are 15 added consonants. The main consonants are those from Pali. The main consonant group is further divided into two groups: categorized (พยัญชนะวัคค์, vagga) and uncategorized consonants (พยัญชนะอวัคค์, avagga). There are 25 categorized consonants, and there are 8 uncategorized consonants. The added consonant group consists of consonants that have been added to write Tai sounds that do not occur in Pali.

Categorized
Obstruents Nasals
main added main added main added main
 

kǎ ก๋ะ
/k/
high
 

khǎ ข๋ะ
/kʰ/, /x/
high
( )
(ฃ)
(khǎ) (ฃ๋ะ, ข๋ะ)
/x/
high, obsolete[dubious ]
 

ka᷇ ก๊ะ
/k/
low
 

kha᷇ ฅะ, คะ
/x/
low
 

kha᷇ ฆะ
/x/
low
 

nga᷇ งะ
/ŋ/
low
 

chǎ จ๋ะ
/t͡ɕ/
high
 

chhǎ ฉ๋ะ
/t͡ɕʰ/
high
 

cha᷇ จ๊ะ
/t͡ɕ/
low
 

sa᷇ ซะ
/s/
low
 ,  

chha᷇ ฌะ
/t͡ɕʰ/
low
 

nya᷇ ญะ
/ɲ/
low
 
la tǎ
/t/
high
 ,  
la thǎ
/tʰ/
high
 

/d/
mid
 
la tha᷇
/tʰ/
low
 
la na᷇
/n/
low
 

/t/
high
 
thǎ
/tʰ/
high
 
ta᷇
/t/
low
 
tha᷇
/tʰ/
low
 
na᷇
/n/
low
 

/b/
mid
 

/p/
high
 
phǎ
/pʰ/
high
 

/f/
high
 
pa᷇
/p/
low
 
fa᷇
/f/
low
 
pha᷇
/pʰ/
low
 
ma᷇
/m/
low
Uncategorized
 
nya᷇
/ɲ/
low
 

/j/
mid
 
ha᷇
/h/
low
 
la᷇
/l/
low
 
wa᷇
/w/
low
 

/s/
high
 

/s/
high
 

/s/
high
 

/h/
high
 
la᷇
/l/
low
 ,  
ǎ
/ʔ/
mid
 
ha᷇
/h/
low
 ,  
lāe
/lɛ̄ː/
 

/nāː/
 
sǒr sǒng ho᷇ng
/sɔ̌ː sɔ̌ːŋ hɔ᷇ːŋ/
 
nya᷇ nya᷇
/ɲa᷇ʔ ɲa᷇ʔ/
 
ra rōng
/la᷇.hōːŋ/
 
lu᷇e
/lɯ᷇ʔ/
 
lūe
/lɯ̄ː/

VowelsEdit

 
Northern Thai written in Tai Tham script in Chiang Mai

Vowel characters come in two forms: as stand-alone letters for writing initial vowels or as diacritics that can be attached to all sides of the consonant letters. However, Lanna excels in terms of the number of diacritics used. Some vowel sounds can be written with a combination of as many as four diacritics: one on each side of the consonant.[11][12]

Single or independent vowels
Independent Diacritic (with ) Sound
ᨠᩡ ᨠᩢ /a/
ᩋᩣ ᨠᩣ ᨠᩤ /aː/
ᨠᩥ /i/
ᨠᩦ /iː/
ᨠᩧ /ɯ/
ᨠᩨ /ɯː/
ᨠᩩ /u/
ᨠᩪ /uː/
ᨠᩮ /eː/
ᨠᩯ /ɛː/
ᨠᩰ /oː/
ᨠᩱ ᨠᩲ /aj/
ᨠᩭ /ɔj/
ᨠᩴ ᨠᩘ /aŋ/
Complex vowels
Diacritics (with ) Sound
ᨠᩮᩡ /e/
ᨠᩯᩡ /ɛ/
ᨠᩰᩡ ᨠ᩠ᩅ /o/
ᨠᩮᩣ /oː/
ᨠᩰᩬᩡ /ɔ/
ᨠᩬᩴ ᨠᩬ /ɔː/
ᨠᩮᩬᩥᩡ ᨠᩮᩬᩧᩡ /ə/
ᨠᩮᩬᩥ ᨠᩮᩬᩧ /əː/
ᨠᩱ᩠ᨿ ᨠᩢ᩠ᨿ /aj/
ᨠᩴᩣ ᨠᩴᩤ /am/
Diphthongs
Diacritics (with ) Sound
ᨠ᩠ᨿᩮᩡ /ia/
ᨠ᩠ᨿᩮ ᨠ᩠ᨿ /iːa/
ᨠᩮᩬᩥᩋᩡ ᨠᩮᩬᩧᩋᩡ /ɯa/
ᨠᩮᩬᩥᩋ ᨠᩮᩬᩧᩋ /ɯːa/
ᨠ᩠ᩅᩫᩡ /ua/
ᨠ᩠ᩅᩫ /uːa/

Short vowels are followed by a glottal stop /ʔ/ if they are followed by another consonant.

Pali vowelsEdit

Tai Tham   -  ,               - ,   
-ᩣ -ᩮᩣ,-ᩮᩤ,
IPA /ʔáʔ/ /ʔāː/ /ʔíʔ/ /ʔīː/ /ʔúʔ/ /ʔūː/ /ʔēː/ /ʔōː/

Tonal markersEdit

 
mai yo
/máj.jɔ́ʔ/
 
mai kho chang
/máj.xɔ̌ː.t͡ɕáːŋ/

Tai Tham and other scriptsEdit

Consonants in Lanna have two sets of glyphs: the base form and the subjoined form. The sakot is used to trigger the subjoined forms.[5][13]

Categorized lettersEdit

Tai Tham New Tai Lue Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/ká/   -᩠ᨠ က
/xá/   -᩠ᨡ
/xá/   - -
/ka᷇/   -᩠ᨣ
/xa᷇/   -
/xa᷇/   -᩠ᨥ -   (modern: ຄ)
/ŋa᷇/   -᩠ᨦ
Tai Tham New Tai Lue Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/t͡ɕá/   -᩠ᨧ
/sá/   -᩠ᨨ -   (modern: ສ)
/t͡ɕa᷇/   -᩠ᨩ
/sa᷇/   -
/sa᷇/   -᩠ᨫ -   (modern: ຊ)
/ɲa᷇/
/ja᷇/[14]
  -᩠ᨬ -   (modern: ຍ)
Tai Tham New Tai Lue Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/tá/   -᩠ᨭ -   (modern: ຕ)
/tʰá/   -᩠ᨮ -   (modern: ຖ)
/dá/   -᩠ᨯ ฑ,ด   (modern: ທ,ດ)
/tʰa᷇/   -᩠ᨰ -   (modern: ທ)
/na᷇/   -᩠ᨱ -   (modern: ນ)
Tai Tham New Tai Lue Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/tá/   -᩠ᨲ
/tʰá/   -᩠ᨳ
/ta᷇/   -᩠ᨴ
/tʰa᷇/   -᩠ᨵ   (modern: ທ)
/na᷇/   -᩠ᨶ
Tai Tham New Tai Lue Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/bá/   -᩠ᨷ
/pá/   -
/pʰá/   -᩠ᨹ
/fá/   -
/pa᷇/   -᩠ᨻ
/fa᷇/   -
/pʰa᷇/   -᩠ᨽ   (modern: ພ)
/ma᷇/   -᩠ᨾ

Uncategorized lettersEdit

Tai Tham New Tai Lue Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/ɲa᷇/
/ja᷇/[14]
  ᨿ -᩠ᨿ ย ต่ำ
/já/   - ย กลาง, อย
/ha᷇/
/la᷇/
  -᩠ᩁ ຣ (modern: ລ)
/lɯ́ʔ/   - -
/la᷇/   -᩠ᩃ
/lɯ̄ː/   - -
/wa᷇/   -᩠ᩅ
Tai Tham New Tai Lue Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/sá/   -᩠ᩆ -   (modern: ສ) (modern: သ) (modern: ស)
/sá/   -᩠ᩇ -   (modern: ສ) (modern: သ) (modern: ស)
/sá/   -᩠ᩈ
/há/   -᩠ᩉ
/la᷇/   -᩠ᩊ -   (modern: ລ)
/ʔá/   -᩠ᩋ
/ha᷇/   - -

NumeralsEdit

Lanna has two sets of numerals. The first set, Lek Nai Tam, is reserved for liturgical purposes. The other set, Lek Hora, is used in everyday life.[15]

Arabic numerals 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Hora digits
Tham digits
Thai numerals
Lao numerals
Burmese numerals
Khmer numerals

Sanskrit and PaliEdit

The Tai Tham script (like all Indic scripts) uses a number of modifications to write Pali and related languages (in particular, Sanskrit). When writing Pali, only 33 consonants and 12 vowels are used.

Categorized (วัคค์ ᩅᩢᨣ᩠ᨣ᩼ vagga)Edit

class unaspirated
unvoiced
สิถิลอโฆษะ
aspirated
ธนิตอโฆษะ
unaspirated
voiced
สิถิลโฆษะ
aspirated
voiced
ธนิตโฆษะ
nasal
นาสิก
velar  [ka]   khá [kha]   ka᷇ [ga]   kha᷇ [gha]   nga᷇ [ṅa]
palatal  [ca]  [cha]   ca᷇ [ja]   sa᷇ [jha]   nya᷇ [ña]
retroflex  [ṭa]   thá [ṭha]   da᷇ [ḍa]   tha᷇ [ḍha]   na᷇ [ṇa]
dental  [ta]   thá [tha]   ta᷇ [da]   tha᷇ [dha]   na᷇ [na]
labial  [pa]   phá [pha]   pa᷇ [ba]   pha᷇ [bha]   ma᷇ [ma]
tone class H L

Uncategorized (อวัคค์ ᩋᩅᩢᨣ᩠ᨣ᩼ avagga)Edit

glottal palatal retroflex dental labial tonal class
  nya᷇ [ya]   ha᷇ [ra]   la᷇ [la]   wa᷇ [va] L
 [śa]  [ṣa]  [sa] H
 [ha]

UnicodeEdit

Tai Tham script was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2.

BlockEdit

The Unicode block for Tai Tham is U+1A20–U+1AAF:

Tai Tham[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1A2x
U+1A3x ᨿ
U+1A4x
U+1A5x  ᩖ  ᩘ  ᩙ  ᩚ  ᩛ  ᩜ  ᩝ  ᩞ
U+1A6x   ᩠   ᩢ  ᩥ  ᩦ  ᩧ  ᩨ  ᩩ  ᩪ  ᩫ  ᩬ
U+1A7x  ᩳ  ᩴ  ᩵  ᩶  ᩷  ᩸  ᩹  ᩺  ᩻  ᩼  ᩿
U+1A8x
U+1A9x
U+1AAx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 13.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

FontsEdit

 
Lanna Alif vs Lanna Unicode UI

There are currently a few fonts that support this range. Thai people are used to typing the Thai script by placing a front vowel before a consonant; this might cause incorrect input method for Tai Tham script because the consonant must be always typed before the associated vowel, regardless of the relative written position of the vowel, similar to typing the Khmer, Myanmar or Tamil script.

  • A Tai Tham KH New – 244 characters in version 1.000 September 15, 2016
    • Ranges: Basic Latin (100); Tai Tham (144)
    • OpenType layout tables: Default
    • Family: Sans-serif
    • Styles: Regular
    • Availability: Free download[16]
  • A Tai Tham KH – 239 characters in version 2.000 February 27, 2016
    • Ranges: Basic Latin (95); Tai Tham (144)
    • OpenType layout tables: Default
    • Family: Sans-serif
    • Styles: Regular
    • Availability: Free download[16]
  • Tai Tham LN – 244 characters in version 1.000 November 15, 2014
    • Ranges: Basic Latin (100); Tai Tham (144)
    • OpenType layout tables: Default
    • Family: Sans-serif
    • Styles: Regular
    • Availability: Free download
  • Chiangsaen Alif – 318 characters (376 glyphs) in version 1.00 February 24, 2010, initial release
    • Ranges:   Basic Latin (96); Tai Tham (127); Geometric Shapes (1)
    • OpenType layout tables:   Latin
    • Family:   Sans-serif
    • Styles:   Regular
    • Availability:   Free download[17]
  • Lanna Alif – 318 characters (376 glyphs) in version 1.00 February 24, 2010, initial release
    • Ranges:   Basic Latin (96); Tai Tham (127); Geometric Shapes (1)
    • OpenType layout tables:   Latin
    • Family:   Sans-serif
    • Styles:   Regular
    • Availability:   Free download[17]
  • Lanna Unicode UI – 374 characters (487 glyphs) in version 0.40 July 14, 2010
    • Ranges:   Basic Latin (25); Latin-1 Supplement (5); Greek and Coptic (1); Tai Tham (127); Mathematical Operators (1); Geometric Shapes (1)
    • OpenType layout tables:   Latin
    • Family:   Sans-serif
    • Styles:   Regular
    • Availability:   Free download[18]
  • Alan Wood's Tai Tham test page[19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet a key to the history of mankind. p. 411.
  2. ^ "Proposal for encoding characters for Myanmar minority languages in the UCS" (PDF). International Organization for Standardization. 2006-04-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-07-23. Retrieved 2006-07-09.
  3. ^ Hartmann, John F. (1986). "The spread of South Indic scripts in Southeast Asia". Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 3 (1): 6–20. JSTOR 40860228.
  4. ^ Penth, Hans (1986). "On the History of Thai scripts" (PDF). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ a b Everson, Michael, Hosken, Martin, & Constable, Peter. (2007). Revised proposal for encoding the Lanna script in the BMP of the UCS.
  6. ^ Natnapang Burutphakdee (October 2004). Khon Muang Neu Kap Phasa Muang [Attitudes of Northern Thai Youth towards Kammuang and the Lanna Script] (PDF) (M.A. Thesis). Presented at 4th National Symposium on Graduate Research, Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 10–11, 2004. Asst. Prof. Dr. Kirk R. Person, adviser. Chiang Mai: Payap University. P. 7, digital image 30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-09. Retrieved June 8, 2013. The reason why they called this language ‘Kammuang’ is because they used this language in the towns where they lived together, which were surrounded by mountainous areas where there were many hill tribe people.
  7. ^ Hundius, Harald; Wharton, David (2010). "The Digital Library of Lao Manuscripts". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Iijima, Akiko (2009-03-31). "Preliminary Notes on "the Cultural Region of Tham Script Manuscripts"". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ a b ธวัช ปุณโณทก (Punnothek, T.) อักษรโบราณอีสาน: อักขรวิทยาอักษรตัวธรรมและไทยน้อย. กรุงเทพฯ: สยามเพรส แมเนจเม้นท์, ๒๕๔๐, ๕๔
  10. ^ a b c McDaniel, J. (2005). Notes on the lao influence on northern thai buddhist literature. The literary heritage of Laos: Preservation, dissemination, and research perspectives. Vientiane, Laos: Lao National Archives.
  11. ^ Everson, Michael; Hosken, Martin; Constable, Peter (March 21, 2007). "Lanna Unicode: A Proposal" (PDF). Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Burutphakdee, Natnapang (October 2004). "Khon Muang Neu Kap Phasa Muang: Attitudes of Northern Thai Youth towards Kammuang and the Lanna Script" (PDF). SIL International. pp. 32–61. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2015.
  13. ^ Chew, P., Saengboon, P., & Wordingham, R. (2015). "Tai Tham: A Hybrid Script that Challenges Current Encoding Models". Presented at the Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC 39).
  14. ^ a b In Tai Lue
  15. ^ Omniglot. Lanna alphabet (Tua Mueang). Retrieved 28 April 2019
  16. ^ a b "Tai Tham Fonts". Kengtung.org. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017.
  17. ^ a b Silpachai, Alif. "SIMs Heart". Tai Tham (Lanna) Unicode Font. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Download: Tai Tham Fonts (Lanna)". Octra Bond's World. Archived from the original on 2010-11-22. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  19. ^ Wood, Alan. "Test for Unicode support in Web browsers: Tai Tham". Alan Wood’s Unicode Resources. Archived from the original on 14 January 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2016.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  • ISO/IEC 10646:2003/Amd.5:2008 Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS) -- Amendment 5: AMENDMENT 5: Tai Tham, Tai Viet, Avestan, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, CJK Unified Ideographs Extension C, and other characters