Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000
Safaitic is a variety of the South Semitic script used by the nomads of the basalt desert of southern Syria and northern Jordan, the so-called Ḥarrah, to carve rock inscriptions in various dialects of Old Arabic. The Safaitic script is a member of the Ancient North Arabian sub-grouping of the South Semitic script family, the genetic unity of which has yet to be demonstrated. Safaitic inscriptions are named after the area where they were first discovered in 1857: As-Safa, a region of basalt desert to the southeast of Damascus, Syria. Since they have been found over a wide area including south Syria, eastern Jordan and northwestern Saudi Arabia. Isolated examples occur further afield in places such as Palmyra in Syria, in Lebanon, in Wadi Hauran in western Iraq, in Ha'il in north central Saudi Arabia; the largest concentration appears to be in the Harrat al-Shamah, a black basalt desert, stretching south and east from Jabal al-Druze through Jordan and into Saudi Arabia. 30,000 inscriptions have been recorded, although doubtless many hundreds of thousands more remain undiscovered due to the remoteness and inhospitable nature of the terrain in which they are found.
The inscriptions are found on the rocks and boulders of the desert scatter, or on the stones of cairns. In many cases it is unclear whether the inscriptions on the cairns pre- or post-date the construction of the cairns; the Safaitic alphabet comprises 28 letters. Several abecedaries are known, but all are written in different orders, giving strength to the suggestion that the script was casually learned rather than taught systematically; the Safaitic script exhibits considerable variability in letter shapes and writing styles. The inscriptions can be written in nearly any direction and there are no word dividers. There are two primary variants of the script: normal and square; the normal variant exhibits a large degree of variation, depending on the hand of individual authors and writing instrument. The square script appears to be a deliberate stylistic variant, making use of more angular forms of the letters. Inscriptions employ the square variants but mix these shapes with normal letter forms.
A minority of inscriptions exhibit a mix of Safaitic and Hismaic letter shapes. The linguistic classification of the dialects expressed by the Safaitic script continues to be debated; the traditional view held that because the Safaitic inscriptions make use of the definite article ha-, in contrast to Classical Arabic'al, that their language should not be regarded as Arabic proper, but rather as Ancient North Arabian. However, as more inscriptions have come to light, it is clear that the Safaitic dialects make use of a variety of definite article forms, including'al, a simple'a-. Based on this fact, the competing view holds that the dialects attested in the Safaitic script represent a linguistic continuum, on which Classical Arabic and other older forms of the language lie. Most Safaitic inscriptions are graffiti that reflect the current concerns of the author: the availability of grazing for his camel herd, mourning the discovery of another inscription by a person who has since died, or listing his genealogy and stating that he made the inscription.
Others pray for booty, or mention religious practices. A few inscriptions by female authors are known. Inscriptions are sometimes accompanied by rock art, showing hunting or battle scenes and horses and their riders, bedouin camp scenes, or occasional female figures. Apart from the inscriptions and images left behind little is known of the material culture of the Safaitic people. Several factors play a part: the Bedouin of necessity have few belongings and a transient lifestyle and so little will have been preserved in the archaeological record. Al-Jallad, Ahmad. An Outline of the Grammar of the Safaitic Inscriptions. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-28929-1. King, G. "The Basalt Desert Rescue Survey and some preliminary remarks on the Safaitic inscriptions and rock drawings" Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 20:55-78 Macdonald, M. C. A. "Inscriptions, Safaitic" in The Anchor Bible Dictionary Vol 3 Doubleday Macdonald, M. C. A. "Reflections on the linguistic map of pre-Islamic Arabia" Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 11:28–79 Oxtoby, W. G.
Some Inscriptions of the Safaitic Bedouin American Oriental Society, Oriental Series 50. New Haven, Connecticut Winnett, F. V. and Harding, G. L. Inscriptions from Fifty Safaitic Cairns Toronto Information on the Safaitic Database Project Exhibition of Safaitic inscriptions Southern Arabic Writings in Syria - Safaitic, Arab Writers Union in Damascus
An ox known as a bullock in Australia and India, is a bovine trained as a draft animal or riding animal. Oxen are castrated adult male cattle. Cows or bulls may be used in some areas. Oxen are used for plowing, for transport, for threshing grain by trampling, for powering machines that grind grain or supply irrigation among other purposes. Oxen may be used to skid logs in forests in low-impact, select-cut logging. Draft oxen are yoked in pairs. Light work such as carting household items on good roads may only require one pair, while for heavier work, further pairs would be added as necessary. A team used for a heavy load over difficult ground might exceed ten pairs. Oxen are thought to have first been harnessed and put to work around 4000 BC. Working oxen are taught to respond to the signals of the ox-driver; these signals are given by verbal command and body language, reinforced by a goad, whip or a long pole. In pre-industrial times, most teamsters were known for their loud voices and forthright language.
Verbal commands for working animals vary throughout the world. In North America, the most common commands are: Back: back up Gee: turn to the right Get up: go Haw: turn to the left Whoa: stopIn the New England tradition, young castrated cattle selected for draft are known as working steers and are painstakingly trained from a young age, their teamster makes or buys as many as a dozen yokes of different sizes for each animal as it grows. The steers are considered trained at the age of four and only become known as oxen. A tradition in south eastern England was to use oxen as dual-purpose animals: for beef. A plowing team of eight oxen consisted of four pairs aged a year apart; each year, a pair of steers of about three years of age would be bought for the team and trained with the older animals. The pair would be kept for about four years sold at about seven years old to be fattened for beef – thus covering much of the cost of buying that year's new pair. Use of oxen for plowing survived in some areas of England until the early twentieth century.
Pairs of oxen were always hitched the same way round, they were given paired names. In southern England it was traditional to call the near-side ox of a pair by a single-syllable name and the off-side one by a longer one. Ox trainers favor larger animals for their ability to pull heavier loads, they are therefore of larger breeds, are males because they are larger. Females can be trained as oxen, but they are smaller. Bulls are used in many parts of the world as oxen Asia and Africa. Working oxen have oxshoes, which are metal devices nailed into their hooves, used to protect them from excessive wear; the continual strain borne on their feet by the weight they carry may injure and lead to cracking of the hooves, just as with horses. Despite this, in England, not all working oxen were shod. Since their hooves are cloven, two separate parts are required for each hoof, unlike the single shoe of a horse. Oxshoes are of a flat shape with an outline similar to a half-moon or a banana, either have or do not have caulkins, are fitted in symmetrical pairs to the hooves.
Unlike horses, oxen are not able to balance on three legs while a farrier shoes the fourth. In England, shoeing was accomplished by laying the ox on the ground and lashing all four feet to a heavy wooden tripod until the shoeing was complete. A similar technique was used in Serbia and, in a simpler form, in India, where it is still practiced. In Italy, where oxen may be large, shoeing is accomplished using a massive framework of beams in which the animal can be or lifted from the ground by slings passed under the body; such devices may today be of metal. Similar devices are found in France, Germany, Spain and the United States, where they may be called ox slings, ox presses or shoeing stalls; the system was sometimes adopted in England where the device was called a crush or trevis. The shoeing of an ox lifted in a sling is the subject of John Singer Sargent's painting Shoeing the Ox, while A Smith Shoeing an Ox by Karel Dujardin shows an ox being shod standing, tied to a post by the horns and balanced by supporting the raised hoof.
While less efficient and sensibly less prevalent than horses, the riding of cattle as a means of transportation has happened throughout history, the act is sometimes known as ox riding and oxback riding. There are many forms of riding equipment used by oxen, some differ from those used by horses. A wide-girthed saddle is mounted on the ox’s back for the rider to sit on. A bridle may attach to reins. While horses may have a bit, the near-equivalent for cattle is the nose ring, although this procedure is painful to the ox; as mentioned, they are not only controlled by being steered using reins.
A plough or plow is a tool or farm implement used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting to loosen or turn the soil. Ploughs were traditionally drawn by working animals such as oxen and horses, but in modern times are drawn by tractors. A plough may be made of wood, iron, or steel frame with an attached blade or stick used to cut the soil and loosen it, it has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, although despite archeological evidence for its use written references to the plough do not appear in the English language before c. 1100, after which point it is referenced frequently. The plough represents one of the major agricultural inventions in human history; the earliest ploughs were wheelless, the Romans used a wheelless plough called the aratrum, but Celtic peoples began using wheeled ploughs during the Roman era. The primary purpose of ploughing is to turn over the upper layer of the soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface, while burying weeds and the remains of previous crops and allowing them to break down.
As the plough is drawn through the soil it creates. In modern use, a ploughed field is left to dry out, is harrowed before planting. Ploughing and cultivating a soil homogenises and modifies the upper 12 to 25 centimetres of the soil to form a plough layer. In many soils, the majority of fine plant feeder roots can be found in the plough layer. Ploughs were human-powered, but the process became more efficient once animals were pressed into service; the first animal-powered ploughs were undoubtedly pulled by oxen, in many areas by horses and mules, although various other animals have been used for this purpose. In industrialised countries, the first mechanical means of pulling a plough were steam-powered, but these were superseded by internal-combustion-powered tractors. Modern competitions take place for ploughing enthusiasts like the National Ploughing Championships in Ireland. Use of the plough has decreased in some areas those threatened by soil damage and erosion, in favour of shallower ploughing and other less-invasive conservation tillage techniques.
In older English, as in other Germanic languages, the plough was traditionally known by other names, e.g. Old English sulh, Old High German medela, huohilī, Old Norse arðr, Gothic hōha, all referring to the ard; the term plough, as used today, was not common until 1700. The modern word plough comes from Old Norse plógr, therefore Germanic, but it appears late, is thought to be a loanword from one of the north Italic languages. Words with the same root appeared with related meanings: in Raetic plaumorati "wheeled heavy plough", in Latin plaustrum "farm cart", plōstrum, plōstellum "cart", plōxenum, plōximum "cart box"; the word must have referred to the wheeled heavy plough, common in Roman northwestern Europe by the a.d. 5th century. Orel tentatively attaches plough to a PIE stem *blōkó-, which gave Armenian peɫem "to dig" and Welsh bwlch "crack", though the word may not be of Indo-European origin; the diagram shows the basic parts of the modern plough: beam hitch vertical regulator coulter chisel share mouldboardOther parts not shown or labelled include the frog, landside, shin and stilts.
On modern ploughs and some older ploughs, the mouldboard is separate from the share and runner, so these parts can be replaced without replacing the mouldboard. Abrasion destroys all parts of a plough that come into contact with the soil; when agriculture was first developed, soil was turned using simple hand-held digging sticks and hoes. These were used in fertile areas, such as the banks of the Nile where the annual flood rejuvenates the soil, to create drills to plant seeds in. Digging sticks and mattocks were not invented in any one place, hoe-cultivation must have been common everywhere agriculture was practiced. Hoe-farming is the traditional tillage method in tropical or sub-tropical regions, which are characterised by stony soils, steep slope gradients, predominant root crops, coarse grains grown at wide distances apart. While hoe-agriculture is best suited to these regions, it is used in some fashion everywhere. Instead of hoeing, some cultures use pigs to grub the earth; some ancient hoes, like the Egyptian mr, were pointed and strong enough to clear rocky soil and make seed drills, why they are called hand-ards.
However, the domestication of oxen in Mesopotamia and the Indus valley civilization as early as the 6th millennium BC, provided mankind with the draft power necessary to develop the larger, animal-drawn true ard. The earliest evidence of a ploughed field in the world was found at the Indus Valley Civilization site of Kalibangan. Archeological finds in Prague, Czech Republic, push oldest known ploughed field further, to 3500 - 3800 B. C. Institute of Archeology of CAS report A terracotta model of the early ards was found at Banawali, giving historians insight into the form of the tool; the ard remains easy to replace if it were to become easy to find materials to recreate. The earliest was the bow ard, which consists of a draft-pole pierced by a thinner vertical pointed stick called the head, with one end being the stilt and the other a share (cutting bl
Rongorongo is a system of glyphs discovered in the 19th century on Easter Island that appears to be writing or proto-writing. Numerous attempts at decipherment none successfully. Although some calendrical and what might prove to be genealogical information has been identified, none of these glyphs can be read. If rongorongo does prove to be writing and proves to be an independent invention, it would be one of few independent inventions of writing in human history. Two dozen wooden objects bearing rongorongo inscriptions, some weathered, burned, or otherwise damaged, were collected in the late 19th century and are now scattered in museums and private collections. None remain on Easter Island; the objects are tablets shaped from irregular pieces of wood, sometimes driftwood, but include a chieftain's staff, a bird-man statuette, two reimiro ornaments. There are a few petroglyphs which may include short rongorongo inscriptions. Oral history suggests that only a small elite was literate and that the tablets were sacred.
Authentic rongorongo texts are written in alternating directions, a system called reverse boustrophedon. In a third of the tablets, the lines of text are inscribed in shallow fluting carved into the wood; the glyphs themselves are outlines of human, plant and geometric forms. Many of the human and animal figures, such as glyphs 200 and 280, have characteristic protuberances on each side of the head representing eyes. Individual texts are conventionally known by a single uppercase letter and a name, such as Tablet C, the Mamari Tablet; the somewhat variable names may be descriptive or indicate where the object is kept, as in the Oar, the Snuffbox, the Small Santiago Tablet, the Santiago Staff. Rongorongo is the modern name for the inscriptions. In the Rapa Nui language it means "to recite, to declaim, to chant out"; the original name—or description—of the script is said to have been kohau motu mo rongorongo, "lines incised for chanting out", shortened to kohau rongorongo or "lines chanting out".
There are said to have been more specific names for the texts based on their topic. For example, the kohau ta‘u were annals, the kohau îka were lists of persons killed in war, the kohau ranga "lines of fugitives" were lists of war refugees; some authors have understood the ta‘u in kohau ta‘u to refer to a separate form of writing distinct from rongorongo. Barthel recorded that, "The Islanders had another writing which recorded their annals and other secular matters, but this has disappeared." However, Fischer writes that "the ta‘u was a type of rongorongo inscription. In the 1880s, a group of elders invented a derivative'script' called ta‘u with which to decorate carvings in order to increase their trading value, it is a primitive imitation of rongorongo." An alleged third script, the mama or va‘eva‘e described in some mid-twentieth-century publications, was "an early twentieth-century geometric invention". The forms of the glyphs are standardized contours of living organisms and geometric designs about one centimeter high.
The wooden tablets are irregular in shape and, in many instances, with the glyphs carved in shallow channels running the length of the tablets, as can be seen in the image of tablet G at right. It is thought that irregular and blemished pieces of wood were used in their entirety rather than squared off due to the scarcity of wood on the island. Except for a few possible glyphs cut in stone, all surviving texts are inscribed in wood. According to tradition, the tablets were made of toromiro wood. However, Orliac examined seven objects with stereo optical and scanning electron microscopes and determined that all were instead made from Pacific rosewood; this 15-meter tree, known as "Pacific rosewood" for its color and called mako‘i in Rapanui, is used for sacred groves and carvings throughout eastern Polynesia and was evidently brought to Easter Island by the first settlers. However, not all the wood was native: Orliac established that tablets N, P, S were made of South African Yellowwood and therefore that the wood had arrived with Western contact.
Fischer describes P as "a damaged and reshapen European or American oar", as are A and V. Several texts, including O, are carved on gnarled driftwood; the fact that the islanders were reduced to inscribing driftwood, were regardless economical in their use of wood, may have had consequences for the structure of the script, such as the abundance of ligatures and a telegraphic style of writing that would complicate textual analysis. Oral tradition holds that, because of the great value of wood, only expert scribes used it, while pupils wrote on banana leaves. German ethnologist Thomas Barthel believed that carving on wood was a secondary development in the evolution of the script based on an earlier stage of incising banana leaves or the sheaths of the banana trunk with a bone stylus, that the medium of leaves was retained not only for lessons but to plan and compose the texts of the wooden tablets, he found experimentally that the glyphs were quite vi
Pentecost Island is one of the 83 islands that make up the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu. It lies 190 kilometres due north of capital Port Vila. Pentecost Island is known as Pentecôte in Pentikos in Bislama; the island was known in its native languages by names such as Vanu Aroaroa, although these names are not in common use today. Pentecost has been referred to as Raga or Araga, a tribal name that originated in the north but is now applied to the whole island. In old sources it is referred to as Whitsuntide Island. Pentecost is a mountainous island which stretches north to south over some 60 kilometres, it has an area of 490 square kilometres. The mountain range, of which the highest is Mount Vulmat, marks the dividing line between the humid, rainy eastern coast and the more temperate western coast; the coastal plains, cross-cut by small torrents, are very green and ideally suited for plantations and livestock. It was first sighted by the Spanish expedition of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros in April 1606.
Pentecost was again sighted on the day of 22 May 1768, by Louis Antoine de Bougainville. It was sighted by Captain James Cook, during his voyage through the New Hebrides in 1774, it was influenced by successive Christian missionaries but traditional customs there remain strong. Pentecost Island is most famous for being the spiritual birthplace of the extreme sport of bungee jumping, originating in an ages old ritual called the Gol, or land diving. Between April and June every year, men in the southern part of the island jump from tall towers with vines tied to their feet, in a ritual believed to ensure a good yam harvest; the ritual is now used to show acceptance into manhood. Land diving was first given international exposure when David Attenborough and a BBC film crew brought back footage of the ritual during the 1950s, which aired as part of The People of Paradise documentary series. Visitors to Pentecost who witnessed the ceremony include Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II; the north Pentecost village of Laone was the home of Walter Lini, who led Vanuatu to independence in 1980.
Today, the'father of the nation' is commemorated by a statue at the nearby Lini Memorial College. The Turaga indigenous movement, which rejects the Western economic system and instead promotes an alternative based on the "kastom economy", began on Pentecost and is based at Lavatmanggemu in the north-east of the island; the island has a population of 17,000 at the 2009 census. Pentecost's population centres are concentrated along the west coast, although a number of people live inland. Major settlements along the west coast include: Laone, Loltong, Nambwarangiut, Bwatnapni, Ranwadi, Baravet, Hotwata, Wali and Ranputor. Away from the coast, there are major settlements at Nazareth and Atavtabangga in the north, at Enaa, Tanbok, Naruwa and Tansip in the centre of the island. Most of these places have village telephones and one or two inhabitants who own'trucks' or'speedboats', which the villagers use for transport. A couple of these villages have small banks and post offices; the east coast is wild and inaccessible, with large uninhabited areas, although people are moving into uninhabited areas as the island's population increases.
Major villages on the eastern side of the island include Ranwas and Baie Barrier in the south-east, Renbura and Vanrasini further north. There are no real towns on Pentecost. Most islanders live in small rural villages, surviving by subsistence agriculture and growing cash crops. Taro, a root vegetable well-suited to Pentecost's wet climate, is the staple food. Manioc, bananas, coconuts, island cabbage, nakavika, sugar cane, mangoes, pineapples and European vegetables are grown for local consumption. Vegetables are grated into a paste, wrapped in large leaves, baked in an earthen oven and covered with coconut cream to create'laplap', a savoury pudding. Pigs are important in Pentecost society, not only as food but as a traditional item of value, which may be given as payment during marriage ceremonies or as compensation for transgressions. Boars with long, curved tusks are prized. Woven, red-dyed mats are used as a traditional form of currency. Traditionally, copra was Pentecost's main export, but this has now been overtaken by kava, a narcotic root used to prepare a traditional drink.
Kava is grown and drunk on many islands in the South Pacific, but Pentecost is well known for it, much of the kava drunk in Vanuatu's towns and abroad originates on Pentecost. Cattle were once exported from Pentecost to the meat-processing factory at Luganville on neighbouring Santo island. However, most are now slaughtered locally instead. Houses are traditionally constructed from local wood and bamboo, thatched with leaves of natanggura. However, wealthier islanders now build their houses instead using imported cement and corrugated metal. Pentecost Island has two airports, Lonorore Airport in the south-west and Sara Airport in the north, at which small airplanes land two or three times a week. Lonorore was upgraded in 2008-2009 with a new tarmacked airstrip capable of handling larger aircraft and operating in wet conditions. Cargo ships travelling between Port Vila and Luganville supply the island's west coast, a
Avoiuli is a writing system used by the Turaga indigenous movement on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. It was devised by Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua over a 14-year period, based on designs found in traditional sand drawings, intended as a native alternative to the Latin alphabet, it is used for writing in the area's native Raga language, although it can be used for other languages including Apma and English. The Avoiuli alphabet comprises characters equivalent to the letters A-Z, decimal numerals and other symbols, including a range of currency symbols representing the livatu and specific items of traditional value such as pigs and dyed mats. Like the Western orthography used to write Raga language, it represents the velar nasal ng and prenasalised consonant ngg using modified forms of the letters n and g but represents the labiovelar consonants bw, mw and vw using digraphs. Although in some respects it is a straightforward imitation of the Latin alphabet, Avoiuli has a few distinctive features.
Like the sand drawings on which it is based, Avoiuli words are designed to be formed in a single stroke. The script can be written either right-to-left, it is intended to be written in boustrophedon style, with alternating lines of left-to-right and right-to-left writing, but it's common for it to follow the left-to-right convention of the Latin script. Capital letters in Avoiuli are similar to lowercase but are enlarged and drawn around a + shaped'frame', a feature seen in traditional sand drawings. Capital letters are not used much in everyday writing. Students learn to write in Avoiuli at Turaga's traditional school at Lavatmanggemu in north-eastern Pentecost, at affiliated'custom schools', paying substantial school fees for the privilege. Avoiuli is used in record-keeping by the Tangbunia indigenous bank; the letters of Avoiuli script. In the official Latin orthography, the'NG' and'NGG' shown here are written ⟨N̄⟩ and ⟨Ḡ⟩; the Avoiuli digraphs'BW','VW' and'MW' parallel the Latin convention.
There are letters to transliterate the rest of the basic Latin script, as well as additional vowels for other languages of Vanuatu. The digits of Avoiuli script. There are digits for higher numbers