Tai Le alphabet

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Dehong Dai/Tai Le
德宏傣文 比丘比喻经.JPG
Type
Time period
ca. 1200 CE – present
Direction Left-to-right
ISO 15924 Tale, 353
Unicode alias
Tai Le
U+1950–U+197F

Tai Le (ᥖᥭᥰᥘᥫᥴ, [tai˦.lə˧˥]), or the Dehong Dai script, is a script used to write the Tai Nüa language of south central Yunnan, China. (The language is also known as Nɯa, Dehong Dai, and Chinese Shan.) It is written in horizontal lines from left to right, with spaces only between clauses and sentences.

Tai Le script has a long history (700–800 years) and has used several different orthographic conventions.[1] Between 1952 and 1988, the script went through four reforms,[2] the third reform (1963/1964) used diacritics to represent tones, while the fourth reform (1988-present) uses standalone tone letters.[1][2]

Letters[edit]

In modern Tai Le orthographies, initial consonants precede vowels, vowels precede final consonants, and tone marks, if present, follow the entire syllable.[1] Consonants have an inherent vowel /a/ unless followed by a dependent vowel sign. When vowels occur initially in a word or syllable, they are preceded by the vowel carrier ᥟ.

Tai Le writing system[2]
Initials (IPA in brackets)

[k]

[x]

[ŋ]

[ts]

[s]

[j]

[t]

[tʰ]

[l]

[p]

[pʰ]

[m]

[f]

[v]

[h]

[ʔ]

[kʰ]

[tsʰ]

[n]
Finals (IPA in brackets)

[a]

[i]

[e]

[ɛ], [ia]

[u]
ᥨᥝ
[o]

[ɔ], [ua]

[ɯ]

[ə]

[aɯ]

[ai]
ᥣᥭ
[aːi]
ᥧᥭ
[ui]
ᥨᥭ
[oi]
ᥩᥭ
[ɔi]
ᥪᥭ
[ɯi]
ᥫᥭ
[əi]
-ᥝ
[au]
ᥣᥝ
[aːu]
ᥤᥝ
[iu]
ᥥᥝ
[eu]
ᥦᥝ
[ɛu]
ᥪᥝ
[ɯu]
ᥫᥝ
[əu]
-ᥛ
[am]
ᥣᥛ
[aːm]
ᥤᥛ
[im]
ᥥᥛ
[em]
ᥦᥛ
[ɛm]
ᥧᥛ
[um]
ᥨᥛ
[om]
ᥩᥛ
[ɔm]
ᥪᥛ
[ɯm]
ᥫᥛ
[əm]
-ᥢ
[an]
ᥣᥢ
[aːn]
ᥤᥢ
[in]
ᥥᥢ
[en]
ᥦᥢ
[ɛn]
ᥧᥢ
[un]
ᥨᥢ
[on]
ᥩᥢ
[ɔn]
ᥪᥢ
[ɯn]
ᥫᥢ
[ən]
-ᥒ
[aŋ]
ᥣᥒ
[aːŋ]
ᥤᥒ
[iŋ]
ᥥᥒ
[eŋ]
ᥦᥒ
[ɛŋ]
ᥧᥒ
[uŋ]
ᥨᥒ
[oŋ]
ᥩᥒ
[ɔŋ]
ᥪᥒ
[ɯŋ]
ᥫᥒ
[əŋ]
-ᥙ
[ap]
ᥣᥙ
[aːp]
ᥤᥙ
[ip]
ᥥᥙ
[ep]
ᥦᥙ
[ɛp]
ᥧᥙ
[up]
ᥨᥙ
[op]
ᥩᥙ
[ɔp]
ᥪᥙ
[ɯp]
ᥫᥙ
[əp]
-ᥖ
[at]
ᥣᥖ
[aːt]
ᥤᥖ
[it]
ᥥᥖ
[et]
ᥦᥖ
[ɛt]
ᥧᥖ
[ut]
ᥨᥖ
[ot]
ᥩᥖ
[ɔt]
ᥪᥖ
[ɯt]
ᥫᥖ
[ət]
-ᥐ
[ak]
ᥣᥐ
[aːk]
ᥤᥐ
[ik]
ᥥᥐ
[ek]
ᥦᥐ
[ɛk]
ᥧᥐ
[uk]
ᥨᥐ
[ok]
ᥩᥐ
[ɔk]
ᥪᥐ
[ɯk]
ᥫᥐ
[ək]
Tone letters (current usage)
(unmarked)
mid-level

high-level

low-level

mid-fall

high-fall

mid-rise
Tone diacritics (1963 orthography)
(unmarked)
mid-level
◌̈
high-level
◌̌
low-level
◌̀
mid-fall
◌̇
high-fall
◌́
mid-rise

Note that old orthography tone diacritics combine with short letters (as in /ka²/ ᥐ̈) but appear to the right of tall letters (as in /ki²/ ᥐᥤ̈).[1]

Unicode[edit]

Tai Le script was added to the Unicode Standard in April, 2003 with the release of version 4.0.

The Unicode block for Tai Le is U+1950–U+197F:

Tai Le[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+195x
U+196x
U+197x
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 10.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

The tone diacritics used in the old orthography (specifically the third reform) are located in the Combining Diacritical Marks Unicode block:

  • U+0300 ◌̀ COMBINING GRAVE ACCENT
  • U+0301 ◌́ COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT
  • U+0307 ◌̇ COMBINING DOT ABOVE
  • U+0308 ◌̈ COMBINING DIAERESIS
  • U+030C ◌̌ COMBINING CARON

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Everson, Michael (2001-10-05). "L2/01-369: Revised proposal for encoding the Tai Le script in the BMP of the UCS" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b c Zhou, Minglang (2003). Multilingualism in China: The Politics of Writing Reforms for Minority Languages, 1949-2002. De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3110178968. 

External links[edit]