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Tai Tham alphabet

For the Unicode block, see Tai Tham (Unicode block).
Tai Tham
150px
Type
Languages Northern Thai, Tai Lü, Khün
Time period
c. 1300–present
Parent systems
ISO 15924 Lana, 351
Direction Left-to-right
Unicode alias
Tai Tham
U+1A20–U+1AAF

The Tai Tham script (Northern Thai: ᨲᩫ᩠ᩅᨾᩮᩬᩥᨦ, Northern Thai pronunciation: [tǔa.mɯ̄aŋ] About this sound listen, tua mueanɡ; Tai Lü: ᦒᧄ , Tham, "scripture"), also known as the Lanna script or Tua Mueang, is used for three living languages: Northern Thai (that is, Kham Mueang), Tai Lü and Khün. In addition, the Lanna script is used for Lao Tham (or old Lao) and other dialect variants in Buddhist palm leaves and notebooks. The script is also known as Tham or Yuan script.

The Northern Thai language is a close relative of Thai and member of the Chiang Saeng language family. It is spoken by nearly 6,000,000 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.[1]

There are 670,000 speakers of Tai Lü of whom those born before 1950 are literate in Lanna script.[citation needed] The script has also continued to be taught in the monasteries. There are 120,000 speakers of Khün for which Lanna is the only script.

File:Lanna cm2.jpg
Name board outside a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai written with Lanna characters: Wat Mokhamtuang (and street number 119 in Thai)

Consonants

Consonants are divided into two groups: main consonants (พยัญชนะหลัก) and added consonants (พยัชนะเติม). 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
20px

/k/
hiɡh
20px
khá
/x/
hiɡh
20px
khá
/x/
hiɡh
20px
ka᷇
/k/
low
20px
kha᷇
/x/
low
20px
kha᷇
/x/
low
20px
nga᷇
/ŋ/
low
20px
chá
/t͡ɕ/
hiɡh
20px

/s/
hiɡh
20px
cha᷇
/t͡ɕ/
low
20px
sa᷇
/s/
low
20px, 20px
sa᷇
/s/
low
20px
nya᷇
/ɲ/
low
20px
la tá
/t/
hiɡh
20px, 20px
la thá
/tʰ/
hiɡh
20px
da᷇
/d/
mid
20px
la tha᷇
/tʰ/
low
20px
la na᷇
/n/
low
20px

/t/
hiɡh
20px
thá
/tʰ/
hiɡh
20px
ta᷇
/t/
low
20px
tha᷇
/tʰ/
low
20px
na᷇
/n/
low
20px

/b/
mid
20px

/p/
hiɡh
20px
phá
/pʰ/
hiɡh
20px

/f/
hiɡh
20px
pa᷇
/p/
low
20px
fa᷇
/f/
low
20px
pha᷇
/pʰ/
low
20px
ma᷇
/m/
low
Uncategorized
20px
nya᷇
/ɲ/
low
20px

/j/
mid
20px
ha᷇
/h/
low
20px
la᷇
/l/
low
20px
wa᷇
/w/
low
20px

/s/
hiɡh
20px

/s/
hiɡh
20px

/s/
hiɡh
20px

/h/
hiɡh
20px
la᷇
/l/
low
20px, 20px
á
/ʔ/
mid
20px
ha᷇
/h/
low
20px, 30px
lāe
/lɛ̄ː/
20px

/nāː/
30px
sǒr sǒnɡ ho᷇nɡ
/sɔ̌ː sɔ̌ːŋ hɔ᷇ːŋ/
30px
nya᷇ nya᷇
/ɲa᷇ʔ ɲa᷇ʔ/
30px
ra rōnɡ
/la᷇.hōːŋ/
20px
lu᷇e
/lɯ᷇ʔ/
20px
lūe
/lɯ̄ː/

Vowels

File:Tai Tham script on stone Chiangmai.JPG
Northern Thai language written in Tai Tham script in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Vowels are written at various locations around their consonant, like Thai.[2] There are special letters for initial vowels, and many vowel combinations.

Pali vowels

Tai Tham 20px - 10px 20px 25px 20px 25px 20px 10px -10px
-ᩣ -ᩮᩣ,-ᩮᩤ,
IPA /ʔáʔ/ /ʔāː/ /ʔíʔ/ /ʔīː/ /ʔúʔ/ /ʔūː/ /ʔēː/ /ʔōː/

Tonal markers

20px
mai yo
/máj.jɔ́ʔ/
40px
mai kho chang
/máj.xɔ̌ː.t͡ɕáːŋ/

Tai Tham and Other Scripts

Categorized letters

Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/ká/ 20px -᩠ᨠ က
/xá/ 20px -᩠ᨡ
/xá/ 20px -
/ka᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨣ
/xa᷇/ 20px -
/xa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨥ 10px
/ŋa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨦ
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/t͡ɕá/ 20px -᩠ᨧ
/sá/ 20px -᩠ᨨ 10px
/t͡ɕa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨩ
/sa᷇/ 20px -
/sa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨫ 10px
/ɲa᷇/
/ja᷇/[3]
20px -᩠ᨬ 10px
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/tá/ 20px -᩠ᨭ 10px
/tʰá/ 20px -᩠ᨮ 10px
/dá/ 20px -᩠ᨯ ฑ,ด 10px,ດ
/tʰa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨰ 10px
/na᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨱ 10px
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/tá/ 20px -᩠ᨲ
/tʰá/ 20px -᩠ᨳ
/ta᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨴ
/tʰa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨵ 10px
/na᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨶ
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/bá/ 20px -᩠ᨷ
/pá/ 20px -
/pʰá/ 20px -᩠ᨹ
/fá/ 20px -
/pa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨻ
/fa᷇/ 20px -
/pʰa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨽ 10px
/ma᷇/ 20px -᩠ᨾ

Uncategorized letters

Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/ɲa᷇/
/ja᷇/[3]
20px ᨿ -᩠ᨿ ย ต่ำ
/já/ 20px - ย กลาง, อย
/há/
/lá/
20px -᩠ᩁ
/lɯ́ʔ/ 20px -
/la᷇/ 20px -᩠ᩃ
/lɯ̄ː/ 20px -
/wa᷇/ 20px -᩠ᩅ
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer
IPA Alphabet Subs.
/sá/ 20px -᩠ᩆ 10px
/sá/ 20px -᩠ᩇ 10px
/sá/ 20px -᩠ᩈ
/há/ 20px -᩠ᩉ
/la᷇/ 20px -᩠ᩊ 10px
/ʔá/ 20px -᩠ᩋ
/ha᷇/ 20px -

Numerals

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 Pali

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.

Plosives (วัคค์ ᩅᩢᨣ᩠ᨣ᩼ vagga)

class unaspirated
unvoiced
สิถิลอโฆษะ
aspirated
ธนิตอโฆษะ
unaspirated
voiced
สิถิลโฆษะ
aspirated
voiced
ธนิตโฆษะ
nasal
นาสิก
velar 20px[ka] 20px khá [kha] 20px ka᷇ [ga] 20px kha᷇ [gha] 20px nga᷇ [ṅa]
palatal 20px[ca] 20px[cha] 20px ca᷇ [ja] 20px sa᷇ [jha] 20px nya᷇ [ña]
retroflex 20px[ṭa] 20px thá [ṭha] 20px da᷇ [ḍa] 20px tha᷇ [ḍha] 20px na᷇ [ṇa]
dental 20px[ta] 20px thá [tha] 20px ta᷇ [da] 20px tha᷇ [dha] 20px na᷇ [na]
labial 20px[pa] 20px phá [pha] 20px pa᷇ [ba] 20px pha᷇ [bha] 20px ma᷇ [ma]
tone class H L

Non-plosives (อวัคค์ ᩋᩅᩢᨣ᩠ᨣ᩼ avagga)

glottal palatal retroflex dental labial tonal class
20px nya᷇ [ya] 20px ha᷇ [ra] 20px la᷇ [la] 20px wa᷇ [va] L
20px[śa] 20px[ṣa] 20px[sa] H
20px[ha]

Unicode

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

Block

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 7.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Fonts

There are currently a few fonts that support this range.[4] 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.

References

  1. ^ Natnapang Burutphakdee (October 2004). Khon Muang Neu Kap Phasa Muang [Attitudes of Northern Thai Youth towards Kammuang and the Lanna Script] (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 2013-06-14. 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. 
  2. ^ see examples of syllabic vowels in Ian James' rendition of Lanna, New Lanna at SkyKnowledge.com
  3. ^ a b In Tai Lue
  4. ^ Tai Tham fonts, Southeast Asian Unicode fonts for Windows computers, Alan Wood’s Unicode Resources

External links