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Eastern Nagari script, Bengali script, Assamese script, Bengali- Assamese script
Assamese script
or Purbi script is the basis of the Bengali alphabet and the Assamese alphabet. Its usage is associated with the two main languages: Bengali and Assamese. Beside these two, the script has throughout history been used as writing system of other languages such as Bishnupriya Manipuri, Meitei Manipuri and Kokborok. Many other languages like Khasi, Bodo, Karbi, Mising etc. were also written in this script in the past.[1] Modern Sylheti is often written using this script as well. Hence, this script is the 5th most widely used writing system in the world.

Silver tanka of Danujamarddana issued at Chatigram (Chittagong) in the year Saka 1339 (= 1417 CE). Legends are in letters of medieval Bengali; obverse: sri sri danujamarddana deva, reverse: sri chandi charana parayana.

Contents

1 Description 2 Script

2.1 Vowels 2.2 Consonants 2.3 Digits

3 Eastern Nagari in Unicode 4 External links 5 Notes 6 References

Description[edit]

Eastern Nagari script
Eastern Nagari script
was written on 3rd temple of Beguniya, Barakar, 1546 AD

Silver coin issued during the reign of Rudra Simha with Eastern Nagari inscriptions. The text in the left says, in IAST: "Śrī-Śrī-mat-Svargadeva-Rūdra-Siṁhasya-śāke-1622", in modern Assamese alphabet
Assamese alphabet
and romanisation: "শ্ৰীশ্ৰীমত্স্বৰ্গদেৱৰূদ্ৰসিংহস্যশাকে১৬২২" Sri-Sri-mot-Sorgodew-Rudro-Xiṅhoisso-xake-1622

The text says: "শ্রীশ্রীমত্‌শিৱসিংহমহাৰাজা" "Sri Sri Mot Xiwo Xiṅho Moharaza" (in Assamese) (see also Siva Singha). Here a dotted "র" (wo/vo) is used instead of the modern "ৱ" ("wo" in Assamese during Ahom rules) in this 18th-century manuscript, with the same phonetic value.

Eastern Nagari is less blocky and present a more sinuous shaping. Eastern Nagari is derived from the precursor script Siddham. The modern Eastern Nagari script
Eastern Nagari script
was formalized in 1778 when it was first typeset by Charles Wilkins. In addition to differences in how the letters are pronounced in the different languages, there are some minor typographical differences between the version of the script used for Assamese and Bengali languages. The Eastern Nagari script
Eastern Nagari script
was originally not associated with any particular regional language, but was prevalent as the main script in the eastern regions of Medieval India. The script was also used to write Sanskrit. Epics of Hindu
Hindu
scripture, including the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
or Ramayana, were written in older versions of the Eastern Nagari script in this region. After the medieval period, the use of Sanskrit
Sanskrit
as the sole written language gave way to Pali, and the vernacular dialects of Pali eventually evolved into Bengali, Assamese and other related languages. Sankardev
Sankardev
used the script in the 15th and 16th centuries to compose his oeuvre in Assamese and Brajavali the language of the Bhakti
Bhakti
poets; and before him, Madhava Kandali used it to write the Assamese Ramayana
Ramayana
in the 14th century. It was also used by the later Ahom kings to write the Buranjis, the Ahom chronicles, in the Assamese language. There is a rich legacy of East sub-continental literature written in this script, which is still occasionally used to write Sanskrit
Sanskrit
today. Clusters of consonants are represented by different and sometimes quite irregular characters; thus, learning to read the script is complicated by the sheer size of the full set of characters and character combinations, numbering about 500. While efforts at standardizing the script for the Bengali language
Bengali language
continue in such notable centers as the Bangla Academy
Bangla Academy
at Dhaka
Dhaka
(Bangladesh) and Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi
Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi
at Kolkata
Kolkata
(West Bengal, India). It is still not quite uniform as yet, as many people continue to use various archaic forms of letters, resulting in concurrent forms for the same sounds. Among the various regional variations within this script, only the Bengali and Assamese variations exist today in the formalized system. It seems likely that the standardization of the script will be greatly influenced by the need to typeset it on computers. Work has been underway since around 2001 to develop Unicode
Unicode
fonts, and it seems likely that it will split into two variants, traditional and modern. Script[edit] Main article: Bengali alphabet Main article: Assamese alphabet In this and other articles on dealing with the Assamese and Bengali languages, a Romanization scheme used by linguists specializing in Assamese and Bengali phonology
Bengali phonology
is included along with IPA
IPA
transcription. Vowels[edit]

Assamese Vowels Bengali Vowels Maithili Vowels

The script presently has a total of 11 vowel letters, used to represent the seven vowel sounds of Bengali and eight vowel sounds of Assamese, along with a number of vowel diphthongs. All of these vowel letters are used in both Assamese and Bengali. Some of the vowel letters have different sounds depending on the word, and a number of vowel distinctions preserved in the writing system are not pronounced as such in modern spoken Bengali or Assamese. For example, the script has two symbols for the vowel sound [i] and two symbols for the vowel sound [u]. This redundancy stems from the time when this script was used to write Sanskrit, a language that had a short [i] and a long [iː], and a short [u] and a long [uː]. These letters are preserved in the script with their traditional names of "short i" and "long i", etc., despite the fact that they are no longer pronounced differently in ordinary speech. Two additional modified Vowels, অ' and অ্যা, are not considered letters of the Eastern Nagari script, but are often used in Assamese and Bengali (respectively) to represent certain vowels when the intended pronunciation would otherwise be ambiguous.

Vowel Table

Vowels Vowel Diacritic symbol Assamese Bengali Bishnupriya Manipuri Meitei Manipuri [1] Sylheti Hajong

অ - ô ô/o ô ô/a o o

অ’ ’ o - - - - -

আ া a a a a: a a

অ্যা/এ্যা ্যা - æ - - - -

অৗ ৗ - - - - - â

ই ি i i i i i i

ঈ ী i i i - ī -

উ ু u u u u u u

ঊ ূ u u u - ū -

ঋ ৃ ri ri ri - ri -

ৠ ৄ rii rii - - - -

ঌ ৢ li li - - - -

ৡ ৣ lii lii - - - -

এ ে ê e/ê e e e e

এ’ ে’ e - - - - -

ঐ ৈ ôi ôi ôi ei oi oi

ও ো û u/o u o/ô - ô

ঔ ৌ ôu ôu ôu ou ou ôu

Vowel signs can be used in conjunction with consonants to modify the pronunciation of the consonant (here exemplified by ক, kô). When no vowel Diacritic symbol is written, then the vowel "অ" (ô) is the default inherited vowel for the consonant. To specifically denote the absence of a vowel, a hôsôntô (্) may be written underneath the consonant. Consonants[edit] The names of the consonant letters in Eastern Nagari are typically just the consonant's main pronunciation plus the inherent vowel "অ" ô. Since the inherent vowel is assumed and not written, most letters' names look identical to the letter itself (e.g. the name of the letter "ঘ" is itself ঘ ghô, not gh). Some letters that have lost their distinctive pronunciation in Modern Assamese and Bengali are called by a more elaborate name. For example, since the consonant phoneme /n/ can be written ন, ণ, or ঞ (depending on the spelling of the particular word), these letters are not simply called nô; instead, they are called "dental nô", "cerebral nô" and niô. Similarly, the phoneme /ʃ/ in Bengali and /x/ in Assamese can be written as "palatal shô/xhô" শ , "cerebral shô/xhô" ষ, or "dental sô/xô" স, depending on the word.

Consonant Table

Consonant Assamese Bengali Bishnupriya Manipuri Meitei Manipuri Sylheti Hajong

ক kô kô kô kô xo ko

খ khô khô khô khô xo kho

গ gô gô gô gô go go

ঘ ghô ghô ghô ghô go gho

ঙ ungô ngô ngô ngô - ngo

চ sô cô/sô cô cô so -

ছ sô chô chô - so so

জ zô jô jô jô zo jo

ঝ zhô jhô jhô jhô zo jho

ঞ niô nô nô - - -

ট tô ţô ţô - to -

ঠ thô ţhô ţhô - to -

ড dô đô đô - do -

ড় rô ŗô ŗô - ŗo -

ঢ dhô đhô đhô - do -

ঢ় rhô ŗhô ŗhô - ro -

ণ nô nô nô - no -

ত tô tô tô tô ṭo to

থ thô thô thô thô ṭo tho

দ dô dô dô dô ḍo do

ধ dhô dhô dhô dhô ḍo dho

ন nô nô nô nô no no

প pô pô pô pô fo po

ফ fô fô fô fô fo fo

ব bô bô bô bô bo bo

ভ bhô bhô bhô bhô bo bho

ম mô mô mô mô mo mo

য zô jô jô - zo -

য় yô yô yô yô - yo

র (wô) rô rô rô ro -

ৰ rô (rô) - - ro ro

ল lô lô lô lô lo lo

ৱ wô - wô wô o wo

শ xô şô şô - - -

ষ xô şşô şşô - - -

স xô şô sô sô şo -

হ hô hô hô hô ho ho

Digits[edit]

Digits

Western Arabic numerals 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Eastern Nagari numerals ০ ১ ২ ৩ ৪ ৫ ৬ ৭ ৮ ৯

Assamese names xuinno ek dui tini sari pas soy xat ath no

শূন্য এক দুই তিনি চাৰি পাচ ছয় সাত আঠ ন

Bengali names shunyô æk dui tin char pãch chhôy sat aţ nôy

শূন্য এক দুই তিন চার পাঁচ ছয় সাত আট নয়

Meitei names shunya ama ani ahum mari manga taruk taret nipa:n ma:pan

শুন‍্য অমা অনি অহুম মরি মঙা তরূক তরেৎ নীপান মাপন

Sylheti names shuinno ex dui tin sair fas soe shat/hat aŧ noe

ꠡꠥꠁꠘ꠆ꠘ꠩ ꠄꠇ ꠖꠥꠁ ꠔꠤꠘ ꠌꠣꠁꠞ ꠙꠣꠌ ꠍꠄ ꠡꠣꠔ/ꠢꠣꠔ ꠀꠐ ꠘꠄ

Eastern Nagari in Unicode[edit] Main article: Bengali ( Unicode
Unicode
block) The Unicode
Unicode
block for Eastern Nagari script, called Bengali, is U+0980–U+09FF:

Bengali[1][2] Official Unicode
Unicode
Consortium code chart (PDF)

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

U+098x ঀ ঁ ং ঃ

অ আ ই ঈ উ ঊ ঋ ঌ

U+099x ঐ

ও ঔ ক খ গ ঘ ঙ চ ছ জ ঝ ঞ ট

U+09Ax ঠ ড ঢ ণ ত থ দ ধ ন

প ফ ব ভ ম য

U+09Bx র

শ ষ স হ

় ঽ া ি

U+09Cx ী ু ূ ৃ ৄ

ে ৈ

ো ৌ ্ ৎ

U+09Dx

ড় ঢ়

U+09Ex ৠ ৡ ৢ ৣ

০ ১ ২ ৩ ৪ ৫ ৬ ৭ ৮ ৯

U+09Fx ৰ ৱ ৲ ৳ ৴ ৵ ৶ ৷ ৸ ৹ ৺ ৻ ৼ ৽

Notes

1.^ As of Unicode
Unicode
version 10.0 2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

External links[edit]

Omniglot – Assamese Alphabet Omniglot – Bengali Alphabet

Notes[edit]

^ Prabhakara, M S Scripting a solution, The Hindu, 19 May 2005.

References[edit]

Bora, Mahendra (1981). The Evolution of Assamese Script. Jorhat, Assam: Assam Sahitya Sabha. 

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