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An abugida (, from Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...
in which consonant-vowel sequences are written as a unit; each unit is based on a
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of d ...
letter, and
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
notation is secondary. This contrasts with a full
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

alphabet
, in which vowels have status equal to consonants, and with an
abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to th ...

abjad
, in which vowel marking is absent,
partial Partial may refer to: Mathematics *Partial derivative In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in ...
, or optional (although in less formal contexts, all three types of script may be termed alphabets). The terms also contrast them with a
syllabary In the linguistic Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
, in which the symbols cannot be split into separate consonants and vowels. Related concepts were introduced independently in 1948 by James Germain Février (using the term ) and
David Diringer David Diringer (1900–1975) was a British linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign ...
(using the term ''semisyllabary''), then in 1959 by Fred Householder (introducing the term ''pseudo-alphabet''). The Ethiopic term "abugida" was chosen as a designation for the concept in 1990 by Peter T. Daniels. In 1992 Faber suggested "segmentally coded syllabically linear phonographic script", in 1992 Bright used the term ''alphasyllabary'', and Gnanadesikan and Rimzhim, Katz, & Fowler have suggested ''aksara'' or ''āksharik''. Abugidas include the extensive
Brahmic family of scripts The Brahmic scripts, also known as Indic scripts, are a family of abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing systems#Se ...
of Tibet, South and Southeast Asia,
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...

Semitic
Ethiopic scripts, and Canadian Aboriginal syllabics. As is the case for syllabaries, the units of the writing system may consist of the representations both of syllables and of consonants. For scripts of the Brahmic family, the term ''
akshara Aksara (also ''akshara'', Devanagari अक्षर, IAST ''akṣara'') is a Sanskrit term translating to "imperishable, indestructible, fixed, immutable" (i.e. from अ, ''Privative a, a-'' "not" and क्षर्, ''kṣar-'' "melt away, peri ...
'' is used for the units.


Terminology

In several languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, ''abugida'' traditionally meant letters of the Ethiopic or Ge‘ez script in which many of these languages are written. Ge'ez is one of several segmental writing systems in the world, others include Indic/Brahmic scripts and Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics. The word abugida is derived from the four letters, ''ä, bu, gi,'' and ''da'', in much the same way that ''
abecedary An abecedarium (also known as an abecedary or simply an ABC) is an inscription Epigraphy ( grc, ἐπιγραφή, "inscription") is the study of inscriptions, or epigraphs, as writing Writing is a medium of human communication that in ...
'' is derived from Latin letters ''a be ce de'', ''
abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to th ...

abjad
'' is derived from the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
''a b j d'', and ''
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

alphabet
'' is derived from the names of the two first letters in the
Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the first alphabetic script in history to have distinct letters for vowels ...

Greek alphabet
, ''alpha'' and ''beta''. ''Abugida'' as a term in linguistics was proposed by Peter T. Daniels in his 1990
typology Typology is the study of types or the systematic classification of the types of something according to their common characteristics. Typology is the act of finding, counting and classification facts with the help of eyes, other senses and logic. Typ ...
of
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...
s. As Daniels used the word, an abugida is in contrast with a
syllabary In the linguistic Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
, where letters with shared consonants or vowels show no particular resemblance to one another, and also with an
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

alphabet
proper, where independent letters are used to denote both consonants and vowels. The term ''alphasyllabary'' was suggested for the Indic scripts in 1997 by
William Bright William Bright (August 13, 1928 Oxnard, California – October 15, 2006 Louisville, Colorado) was an American linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by huma ...
, following South Asian linguistic usage, to convey the idea that "they share features of both alphabet and syllabary."


General description

The formal definitions given by Daniels and Bright for abugida and alphasyllabary differ; some writing systems are abugidas but not alphasyllabaries, and some are alphasyllabaries but not abugidas. An abugida is defined as "a type of writing system whose basic characters denote consonants followed by a particular vowel, and in which diacritics denote other vowels". (This 'particular vowel' is referred to as the ''inherent'' or ''implicit'' vowel, as opposed to the ''explicit'' vowels marked by the 'diacritics'.) An alphasyllabary is defined as "a type of writing system in which the vowels are denoted by subsidiary symbols not all of which occur in a linear order (with relation to the consonant symbols) that is congruent with their temporal order in speech". Bright did not require that an alphabet explicitly represent all vowels. ʼPhags-pa is an example of an abugida that is not an alphasyllabary, and modern
Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * Something of, from, or related to Laos, a country in Southeast Asia * Lao people (people from Laos, or of Lao descent) * The Lao language * Lao script, the writing system used to write the Lao language ** Lao (Un ...
is an example of an alphasyllabary that is not an abugida, for its vowels are always explicit. This description is expressed in terms of an abugida. Formally, an alphasyllabary that is not an abugida can be converted to an abugida by adding a purely formal vowel sound that is never used and declaring that to be the inherent vowel of the letters representing consonants. This may formally make the system ambiguous, but in practice this is not a problem, for then the interpretation with the never-used inherent vowel sound will always be a wrong interpretation. Note that the actual pronunciation may be complicated by interactions between the sounds apparently written just as the sounds of the letters in the English words ''wan, gem'' and ''war'' are affected by neighbouring letters. The fundamental principles of an abugida apply to words made up of consonant-vowel (CV) syllables. The syllables are written as a linear sequences of the units of the script. Each syllable is either a letter that represents the sound of a consonant and its inherent vowel or a letter modified to indicate the vowel, either by means of
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s or by changes in the form of the letter itself. If all modifications are by diacritics and all diacritics follow the direction of the writing of the letters, then the abugida is not an alphasyllabary. However, most languages have words that are more complicated than a sequence of CV syllables, even ignoring tone. The first complication is syllables that consist of just a vowel (V). This issue does not arise in some languages because every syllable starts with a consonant. This is common in Semitic languages and in languages of mainland SE Asia; for such languages this issue need not arise. For some languages, a
zero consonant In orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the pai ...
letter is used as though every syllable began with a consonant. For other languages, each vowel has a separate letter that is used for each syllable consisting of just the vowel. These letters are known as ''independent vowels'', and are found in most Indic scripts. These letters may be quite different from the corresponding diacritics, which by contrast are known as ''dependent vowels''. As a result of the spread of writing systems, independent vowels may be used to represent syllables beginning with a , even for non-initial syllables. The next two complications are sequences of consonants before a vowel (CCV) and syllables ending in a consonant (CVC). The simplest solution, which is not always available, is to break with the principle of writing words as a sequence of syllables and use a unit representing just a consonant (C). This unit may be represented with: *a modification that explicitly indicates the lack of a vowel (
virama Virama ( ्) is a Sanskrit phonological concept to suppress the inherent vowelAn inherent vowel is part of an abugida . ''May Shiva, Śiva protect those who take delight in the language of the gods.'' (Kalidasa) An abugida (, from Ge'ez lan ...
), *a lack of vowel marking (often with ambiguity between no vowel and a default
inherent vowel An inherent vowel is part of an abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing systems#Segmental writing system, writing system in w ...
), *vowel marking for a short or neutral vowel such as ''
schwa In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as t ...
'' (with ambiguity between no vowel and that short or neutral vowel), or *a visually unrelated letter. In a true abugida, the lack of distinctive marking may result from the diachronic loss of the inherent vowel, e.g. by
syncope Syncope may refer to: * Syncope (medicine), also known as fainting * Syncope (phonology), the loss of one or more sounds, particularly an unstressed vowel, from the interior of a word * Syncopation, a musical effect caused by off-beat or otherwise ...
and
apocope In phonology, apocope () is the loss (elision) of a word-final vowel. In a broader sense, it can refer to the loss of any final sound (including consonants) from a word. Etymology ''Apocope'' comes from the Greek language, Greek () from () "cut ...
in Hindi. When not handled by decomposition into C + CV, CCV syllables are handled by combining the two consonants. In the Indic scripts, the earliest method was simply to arrange them vertically, but the two consonants may merge as a
conjunct consonant File:ब्राम्हि जोडाक्षरे.jpg, upright=0.8, Some major conjunct consonants in the Brahmi script. Conjunct consonants are a type of letters, used for example in Brahmi script, Brahmi or Brahmi derived modern scripts s ...
letters, where two or more letters are graphically joined in a
ligature Ligature may refer to: * Ligature (medicine), a piece of suture used to shut off a blood vessel or other anatomical structure ** Ligature (orthodontic), used in dentistry * Ligature (music), an element of musical notation used especially in the med ...
, or otherwise change their shapes. Rarely, one of the consonants may be replaced by a gemination mark, e.g. the
Gurmukhi Gurmukhī ( pa, ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ, , Shahmukhi: ) or Punjabi script is an abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing sy ...

Gurmukhi
'' addak''. When they are arranged vertically, as in or Khmer, they are said to be 'stacked'. Often there has been a change to writing the two consonants side by side. In the latter case, the fact of combination may be indicated by a diacritic on one of the consonants or a change in the form of one of the consonants, e.g. the half forms of Devanagari. Generally, the reading order is top to bottom or the general reading order of the script, but sometimes the order is reversed. The division of a word into syllables for the purposes of writing does not always accord with the natural phonetics of the language. For example, Brahmic scripts commonly handle a phonetic sequence CVC-CV as CV-CCV or CV-C-CV. However, sometimes phonetic CVC syllables are handled as single units, and the final consonant may be represented: *in much the same way as the second consonant in CCV, e.g. in the
Tibetan Tibetan may mean: * of, from, or related to Tibet * Tibetan people, an ethnic group * Tibetan language: ** Classical Tibetan, the classical language used also as a contemporary written standard ** Standard Tibetan, the most widely used spoken dialec ...

Tibetan
, Khmer and Tai Tham scripts. The positioning of the components may be slightly different, as in Khmer and Tai Tham. *by a special dependent consonant sign, which may be a smaller or differently placed version of the full consonant letter, or may be a distinct sign altogether. *not at all. For example, repeated consonants need not be represented, homorganic nasals may be ignored, and in
Philippine scriptsSuyat is the modern collective name of the indigenous scripts of various ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines prior to History of the Philippines (1521–1898), Spanish colonization in the 16th century up to the independence era in the 21st cent ...
, the syllable-final consonant was traditionally never represented. More complicated unit structures (e.g. CC or CCVC) are handled by combining the various techniques above.


Family-specific features

There are three principal families of abugidas, depending on whether vowels are indicated by modifying consonants by ''diacritics, distortion,'' or ''orientation.'' *The oldest and largest is the
Brahmic The Brahmic scripts, also known as Indic scripts, are a family of abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing systems#Se ...
family of India and Southeast Asia, in which vowels are marked with
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s and syllable-final consonants, when they occur, are indicated with ligatures, diacritics, or with a special vowel-canceling mark. *In the Ethiopic family, vowels are marked by modifying the shapes of the consonants, and one of the vowel-forms serves additionally to indicate final consonants. *In Canadian Aboriginal syllabics, vowels are marked by rotating or flipping the consonants, and final consonants are indicated with either special diacritics or superscript forms of the main initial consonants. Tāna of the
Maldives Maldives (, ; dv, ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ, translit=Dhivehi Raajje IPA: ), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country in the Indian subcontinent of Asia, situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and ...

Maldives
has dependent vowels and a zero vowel sign, but no inherent vowel.


Indic (Brahmic)

Indic scripts originated in
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
and spread to
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
. All surviving Indic scripts are descendants of the
Brahmi alphabet Brahmi (; ISO 15919: Brāhmī ) is the modern name Quote: " Until the late nineteenth century, the script of the Aśokan (non-Kharosthi) inscriptions and its immediate derivatives was referred to by various names such as “lath” or “Lat, ...
. Today they are used in most languages of
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia cov ...

South Asia
(although replaced by
Perso-Arabic The Persian alphabet ( fa, الفبای فارسی, Alefbā-ye Fārsi) is a writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classica ...
in
Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonpr ...

Urdu
, and some other languages of
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
and
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
), mainland
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
(
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
,
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
,
Laos , national_anthem = "Pheng Xat Lao "Pheng Sat Lāo" () is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...

Laos
, and
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...

Cambodia
), and
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
n archipelago (,
Balinese Balinese may refer to: *Bali, an Indonesian island *Balinese art *Balinese dance *Balinese people *Balinese language **Balinese script **Balinese (Unicode block) *Balinese mythology *Balinese cat, a cat breed *Balinese Gamelan, local music *Balinese ...
, , etc.). The primary division is into North Indic scripts used in Northern India, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, and Southern Indic scripts used in
South India South India is a region consisting of the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

South India
,
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
and
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
. South Indic letter forms are very rounded; North Indic less so, though
Odia Odia, also spelled Oriya or Odiya, may refer to: * Odia people in Odisha, India * Odia language, an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family * Odia alphabet, a writing system used for the Odia language ...

Odia
, Golmol and Litumol of Nepal script are rounded. Most North Indic scripts' full letters incorporate a horizontal line at the top, with Gujarati and
Odia Odia, also spelled Oriya or Odiya, may refer to: * Odia people in Odisha, India * Odia language, an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family * Odia alphabet, a writing system used for the Odia language ...

Odia
as exceptions; South Indic scripts do not. Indic scripts indicate vowels through dependent vowel signs (diacritics) around the consonants, often including a sign that explicitly indicates the lack of a vowel. If a consonant has no vowel sign, this indicates a default vowel. Vowel diacritics may appear above, below, to the left, to the right, or around the consonant. The most widely used Indic script is
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida, based on the ancient Brahmi script, ''Brāhmī'' sc ...

Devanagari
, shared by
Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, North India. Hindi has been described as a Standard la ...

Hindi
,
Bhojpuri Bhojpuri (;Bhojpuri entry, Oxford Dictionaries
, Oxford Un ...

Bhojpuri
,
Marathi Marathi may refer to: *Marathi people, an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group of Maharashtra, India *Marathi language, the Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people *Palaiosouda, also known as Marathi, a small island in Greece See also

...
, Konkani, , and often
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
. A basic letter such as in Hindi represents a syllable with the default vowel, in this case ''ka'' (). In some languages, including Hindi, it becomes a final closing consonant at the end of a word, in this case ''k''. The inherent vowel may be changed by adding vowel mark (
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s), producing syllables such as कि ''ki,'' कु ''ku,'' के ''ke,'' को ''ko.'' In many of the Brahmic scripts, a syllable beginning with a cluster is treated as a single character for purposes of vowel marking, so a vowel marker like ि ''-i,'' falling before the character it modifies, may appear several positions before the place where it is pronounced. For example, the game
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
in
Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, North India. Hindi has been described as a Standard la ...

Hindi
is क्रिकेट ''cricket;'' the diacritic for appears before the
consonant cluster In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
, not before the . A more unusual example is seen in the
Batak alphabet The Batak script, natively known as ''surat Batak'', ''surat na sampulu sia'' (the nineteen letters), or ''si-sia-sia'', is a writing system used to write the Austronesian languages, Austronesian Batak languages spoken by several million people on ...

Batak alphabet
: Here the syllable ''bim'' is written ''ba-ma-i-(virama)''. That is, the vowel diacritic and virama are both written after the consonants for the whole syllable. In many abugidas, there is also a diacritic to suppress the inherent vowel, yielding the bare consonant. In
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida, based on the ancient Brahmi script, ''Brāhmī'' sc ...

Devanagari
, क् is ''k,'' and ल् is ''l''. This is called the '' virāma'' or ''halantam'' in Sanskrit. It may be used to form
consonant cluster In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
s, or to indicate that a consonant occurs at the end of a word. Thus in Sanskrit, a default vowel consonant such as क does not take on a final consonant sound. Instead, it keeps its vowel. For writing two consonants without a vowel in between, instead of using diacritics on the first consonant to remove its vowel, another popular method of special
conjunct {{For, the linguistic and logical operation of conjunction, Logical conjunction In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...
forms is used in which two or more consonant characters are merged to express a cluster, such as Devanagari: क्ल ''kla.'' (Note that some fonts display this as क् followed by ल, rather than forming a conjunct. This expedient is used by
ISCII Indian Script Code for Information Interchange (ISCII) is a coding scheme for representing various writing systems of India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and depe ...
and South Asian scripts of
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
.) Thus a closed syllable such as ''kal'' requires two ''aksharas'' to write. The Róng script used for the
Lepcha language Lepcha language, or Róng language (Lepcha: ; ''Róng ríng''), is a Himalayish language spoken by the Lepcha people in Sikkim, India and parts of West Bengal, Nepal and Bhutan. Population Lepcha is spoken by minorities in the Indian states of ...
goes further than other Indic abugidas, in that a single ''akshara'' can represent a closed syllable: Not only the vowel, but any final consonant is indicated by a diacritic. For example, the syllable would be written as something like s̥̽, here with an underring representing and an overcross representing the diacritic for final . Most other Indic abugidas can only indicate a very limited set of final consonants with diacritics, such as or , if they can indicate any at all.


Ethiopic

In Ethiopic or Ge'ez script, ''fidels'' (individual "letters" of the script) have "diacritics" that are fused with the consonants to the point that they must be considered modifications of the form of the letters. Children learn each modification separately, as in a syllabary; nonetheless, the graphic similarities between syllables with the same consonant is readily apparent, unlike the case in a true
syllabary In the linguistic Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
. Though now an abugida, the Ge'ez script, until the advent of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
(''ca.'' AD
350 __NOTOC__ Year 350 (Roman numerals, CCCL) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Sergius and Nigrinianus (or, less frequentl ...

350
), had originally been what would now be termed an ''
abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to th ...

abjad
''. In the Ge'ez abugida (or ''fidel''), the base form of the letter (also known as ''fidel'') may be altered. For example, ሀ ''hä'' (base form), ሁ ''hu'' (with a right-side diacritic that doesn't alter the letter), ሂ ''hi'' (with a subdiacritic that compresses the consonant, so it is the same height), ህ ''hə'' or (where the letter is modified with a kink in the left arm).


Canadian Aboriginal syllabics

In the family known as Canadian Aboriginal syllabics, which was inspired by the
Devanagari script Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (''Nāgarī'', ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida (alphasyllabary), based on the ancient B ...

Devanagari script
of India, vowels are indicated by changing the orientation of the
syllabogramSyllabograms are sign A sign is an object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder i ...

syllabogram
. Each vowel has a consistent orientation; for example,
Inuktitut Inuktitut (; , Inuktitut syllabics, syllabics ; from , "person" + , "like", "in the manner of"), also Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, is one of the principal Inuit languages of Canada. It is spoken in all areas north of the tree line, including part ...

Inuktitut
ᐱ ''pi,'' ᐳ ''pu,'' ᐸ ''pa;'' ᑎ ''ti,'' ᑐ ''tu,'' ᑕ ''ta''. Although there is a vowel inherent in each, all rotations have equal status and none can be identified as basic. Bare consonants are indicated either by separate diacritics, or by superscript versions of the ''aksharas''; there is no vowel-killer mark.


Borderline cases


Vowelled abjads

Consonantal scripts ("
abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to th ...

abjad
s") are normally written without indication of many vowels. However, in some contexts like teaching materials or
scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of ...
s,
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
and
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
are written with full indication of vowels via diacritic marks (''
harakat The Arabic script has numerous diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) ...
'', ''
niqqud In Hebrew language, Hebrew orthography, niqqud or nikud ( or ) is a system of diacritical signs used to represent vowels or distinguish between alternative pronunciations of letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Several such diacritical systems were ...
'') making them effectively alphasyllabaries. The Brahmic and Ethiopic families are thought to have originated from the Semitic abjads by the addition of vowel marks. The Arabic scripts used for Kurdish in Iraq and for
UyghurUyghur may refer to: * Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia * Uyghur language, a Turkic language spoken primarily by the Uyghurs ** Uyghur alphabets, any of four systems used to write the language * Uyghur Khaganate, a T ...

Uyghur
in
Xinjiang Xinjiang (),, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as Sinkiang officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region An autonomous ...

Xinjiang
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
, as well as the Hebrew script of
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...
, are fully vowelled, but because the vowels are written with full letters rather than diacritics (with the exception of distinguishing between /a/ and /o/ in the latter) and there are no inherent vowels, these are considered alphabets, not abugidas.


Phagspa

The imperial Mongol script called Phagspa was derived from the Tibetan abugida, but all vowels are written in-line rather than as diacritics. However, it retains the features of having an inherent vowel /a/ and having distinct initial vowel letters.


Pahawh

Pahawh Hmong Pahawh Hmong ( RPA: ''Phaj hauj Hmoob'' , Pahawh: ; known also as ''Ntawv Pahawh, Ntawv Keeb, Ntawv Caub Fab, Ntawv Soob Lwj'') is an indigenous semi-syllabic script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing syste ...
is a non-segmental script that indicates
syllable onset A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...
s and
rime Rime may refer to: *Rime ice Rime ice forms when supercooled water liquid droplets freeze onto surfaces. Meteorology, Meteorologists distinguish between three basic types of ice forming on vertical and horizontal surfaces by deposition of superco ...
s, such as consonant clusters and vowels with final consonants. Thus it is not segmental and cannot be considered an abugida. However, it superficially resembles an abugida with the roles of consonant and vowel reversed. Most syllables are written with two letters in the order rime–onset (typically vowel-consonant), even though they are pronounced as onset-rime (consonant-vowel), rather like the position of the vowel in Devanagari, which is written before the consonant. Pahawh is also unusual in that, while an inherent rime (with mid tone) is unwritten, it also has an inherent onset . For the syllable , which requires one or the other of the inherent sounds to be overt, it is that is written. Thus it is the rime (vowel) that is basic to the system.


Meroitic

It is difficult to draw a dividing line between abugidas and other segmental scripts. For example, the
Meroitic script The Meroitic script consists of two alphasyllabaric scripts developed to write the Meroitic language at the beginning of the Meroitic Period (3rd century BC) of the Kingdom of Kush The Kingdom of Kush (; Egyptian: 𓎡𓄿𓈙 𓈉 ''kꜣš' ...
of ancient
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It borders the countries of Central African Republ ...

Sudan
did not indicate an inherent ''a'' (one symbol stood for both ''m'' and ''ma,'' for example), and is thus similar to Brahmic family of abugidas. However, the other vowels were indicated with full letters, not diacritics or modification, so the system was essentially an alphabet that did not bother to write the most common vowel.


Shorthand

Several systems of
shorthand Shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed and brevity of writing as compared to longhand{{Short pages monitor