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Batak alphabet

Surat Batak
250px
Type
Languages Batak languages
Time period
c. 1300–present
Parent systems
Origins of Brahmi script unclear. On Aramaic origin hypothesis: Proto-Sinaitic alphabet
Sister systems

Direct family relationships unclear. Sister scripts on hypothesis of common Kawi origin:

Balinese
Baybayin
Kulitan
Buhid
Hanunó'o
Javanese
Lontara
Old Sundanese
Rencong
Rejang
Tagbanwa
ISO 15924 Batk, 365
Direction Left-to-right
Unicode alias
Batak
U+1BC0–U+1BFF

The Batak script, natively known as surat Batak, surat na sapulu sia (the nineteen letters), or si-sia-sia, is an abugida used to write the Austronesian Batak languages spoken by several million people on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The script may derived from the Kawi and Pallava script, ultimately derived from the Brahmi script of India, or from the hypothetical Proto-Sumatran script influenced by Pallava.[1]

History

In most Batak communities, only the priests, or datu were able to use the Batak script, and used it mainly for magical texts and calendars. After the arrival of Europeans in the Batak lands, first German missionaries and, from 1878 onwards, the Dutch, the Batak script was, alongside the Roman script, taught in the schools, and teaching and religious materials were printed in the Batak script. Soon after the first World War the missionaries decided to discontinue printing books in the Batak script.[citation needed] The script soon fell out of use and is now only used for ornamental purposes.

Origin

The Batak script was probably derived from Pallava and Old Kawi alphabets, which ultimately were derived from the Brahmi alphabet, the root of almost all the Indic and Southeast Asian abugidas.

Structure

Batak is written from up to down within one line, and left to right for lines. Like most abugidas, each consonant has an inherent vowel of /a/, unless there is a diacritic (in Toba Batak called pangolat) to indicate the lack of a vowel. Other vowels, final ŋ, and final velar fricative [x] are indicated by diacritics, which appear above, below, or after the letter. For example, ba is written ba (one letter); bi is written ba.i (i follows the consonant); bang is written baŋ (ŋ is above the consonant); and bing is baŋ.i. Final consonants are written with the pangolat (here represented by "#"): bam is ba.ma.#. However, bim is written ba.ma.i.#: the first diacritic belongs to the first consonant, and the second belongs to the second consonant, but both are written at the end of the entire syllable. Unlike most Brahmi-based scripts, Batak does not form consonant conjuncts.

Letters

Letters are called sia. Each consonant has an inherent vowel of /a/. The script varies by region and language. The major variants are between Karo, Mandailing, Pakpak/Dairi, Simalungun/Timur, and Toba:

Sia (Letters)
IPA a ha ka ba pa na wa ga dʒa da ra ma ta sa ja ŋa la ɲa tʃa nda mba i u
Transcription a ha ka ba pa na wa ga ja da ra ma ta sa ja nga la nya ca nda mba i u
Karo 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px1 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px5 30px 30px
Mandailing 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px4 30px 30px 30px 30px
Pakpak 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px
Toba 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px2 30px 30px 30px 30px3 30px 30px 30px 30px
Simalungun 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px 30px6

</center> Alternate forms:
^1 20px (used in Mandailing) ^2 20px ^3 20px ^4 20px ^5 20px ^6 20px

Diacritics

Diacritics are used to change the pronunciation of a letter. They can change the vowel from the inherent /a/, mark a final [velar nasal] /ŋ/, mark a final velar fricative /x/, or indicate a final consonant with no vowel:

Latin
Trans.
Batak Diacritics      Latin
Trans.
Batak Diacritics with /ka/
Karo Mand. Pakp. Sima. Toba Karo Mand. Pakp. Sima. Toba
-a ka 33px 33px 33px 30px 30px
-e 40px
40px
40px 40px
40px
40px 40px ke 40px
40px
40px 40px
40px
40px 40px
-i 40px
40px
40px 40px 40px 40px ki 40px
40px
40px 40px 40px 40px
-o 40px
40px
40px 40px 40px 40px ko 40px
40px
40px 40px 40px 40px
-ou 40px kou 40px
-u 40px 40px 40px 40px 40px ku 40px 40px 40px 40px 40px
-ng 40px 40px 40px 40px 40px kang 40px 40px 40px 40px 40px
-h 40px 40px 40px kah 40px 40px 40px
40px 40px 40px 40px 40px k 33px 48px 36px 36px 36px

Ligatures with U

The diacritic for U used by Mandailing, Pakpak, Simalungun, and Toba can form ligatures with its base letter:

Batak Script Description
30px  + 30px 30px  a + -u = u
30px  + 30px 30px a + -u = u (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  ha + -u = hu (Mandailing)
30px  + 30px 35px  ha + -u = hu (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 35px  ha + -u = hu
30px  + 30px 40px  ka + -u = ku (Mandailing)
30px  + 30px 30px  ba + -u = bu
30px  + 30px 30px  pa + -u = pu (Mandailing)
30px  + 30px 30px  pa + -u = pu (Pakpak, Toba)
30px  + 30px 30px  pa + -u = pu (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  na + -u = nu
30px  + 30px 30px  na + -u = nu (Mandailing)
30px  + 30px 30px  wa + -u = wu (Mandailing, Toba)
30px  + 30px 30px  wa + -u = wu (Pakpak, Toba)
30px  + 30px 30px  wa + -u = wu (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  ga + -u = gu
30px  + 30px 30px  ga + -u = gu (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  ja + -u = ju
Batak Script Description
30px  + 30px 30px  da + -u = du
30px  + 30px 30px  ra + -u = ru
30px  + 30px 30px  ra + -u = ru (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  ma + -u = mu
30px  + 30px 30px  ma + -u = mu (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  ta + -u = tu
30px  + 30px 30px  ta + -u = tu
30px  + 30px 30px  sa + -u = su (Pakpak)
30px  + 30px 30px  sa + -u = su (Mandailing)
30px  + 30px 30px  sa + -u = su (Mandailing)
30px  + 30px 30px  sa + -u = su (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  ya + -u = yu
30px  + 30px 30px  ya + -u = yu (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  nga + -u = ngu
30px  + 30px 30px  la + -u = lu
30px  + 30px 30px  la + -u = lu (Simalungun)
30px  + 30px 30px  nya + -u = nyu
30px  + 30px 30px  ca + -u = cu (Mandailing)

Tompi

In Mandailing, the diacritic tompi can be used to change the sound of some letters:

ha  + tompi ka sa  + tompi ca
30px  + 33px 30px  30px  + 33px 30px 
30px  + 33px 30px  30px  + 33px 30px 
30px  + 33px 30px  30px  + 33px 30px 

Placement of diacritics for Ng and H

The diacritics for Ng (30px) and H (30px) are usually written above spacing vowel diacritics instead of above the base letter.
Examples: 30px ping, 30px pong, 30px peh, and 30px pih.

Diacritic reordering for closed syllables

Vowel diacritics are reordered for closed syllables (that is, syllables where the final consonant has no vowel). Consonants with no vowel are marked by the Batak pangolat or panongonan diacritic, depending on the language. When they are used for a closed syllable (like "tip"), both the vowel diacritic and the pangolat/panongonan are written at the end of the syllable.

Examples of closed syllables using pangolat:

ta  +  vowel  +  pa  +  pangolat  =  syllable
30px + 30px + 30px = 70px
ta + pa + pangolat = tap
30px + 30px + 30px + 30px = 70px
ta + e + pa + pangolat = tep
30px + 30px + 30px + 30px = 80px
ta + e + pa + pangolat = tep
30px + 30px + 30px + 30px = 84px
ta + i + pa + pangolat = tip
30px + 30px + 30px + 30px = 86px
ta + o + pa + pangolat = top
30px + 30px + 30px + 30px = 70px
ta + u + pa + pangolat = tup

Punctuation and Ornaments

Batak is normally written without spaces or punctuation (as scriptio continua). However special marks or bindu are occasionally used. They vary greatly in size and design from manuscript to manuscript.

Examples Name Function

Bindu na metek (small bindu) Begins paragraphs and stanzas
Bindu panarboras (rice-shaped bindu) Variant of bindu na metek, serves same function
Bindu judul (title bindu) Separates a title from the body of the text
Bindu pangolat Trailing punctuation

Unicode

Batak script was added to the Unicode Standard in October 2010 with the release of version 6.0.

Block

Main article: Batak (Unicode block)

The Unicode block for Batak is U+1BC0–U+1BFF:

Batak[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+1BCx
U+1BDx
U+1BEx
U+1BFx ᯿
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 7.0</br>
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points</br>

Rendering

Unicode fonts for Batak must handle several requirements to properly render text:

Rendering Requirements Examples
Latin Trans. Image Unicode Text
Correct placement of one or more diacritics  ke 33px ᯂᯩ
ke (Mand.) 36px ᯄ᯦ᯩ
ping 30px ᯇᯪᯰ
reng 30px ᯓᯩᯰ
Ligatures with U hu (Mand.) 30px ᯄᯮ
hu (Sima.) 35px ᯃᯮ
gu 30px ᯎᯮ
lu 30px ᯞᯮ
Diacritic reordering for closed syllables tip 80px ᯖᯪᯇ᯲

Gallery

Citations

  1. ^ Uli Kozok. "Sejarah Aksara Batak". Retrieved 17 May 2014. 

Sources

  • Kozok, Uli (January 2009). Surat Batak: Sejarah Perkembangan Tulisan Batak : Berikut Pedoman Menulis Aksara Batak Dan Cap Si Singamangaraja XII (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Gramedia. ISBN 979-9101-53-0. 
  • Kozok, Uli. [dead link] "Kursus Kilat Aksara Batak (Quick Course in Batak Script)" (in Indonesian). Retrieved 20 April 2011. 

External links