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Syriac alphabet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Syriac alphabet
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Syriac alphabet is a writing system primarily used to write the Syriac language from the 1st century AD.[1] It is one of the Semitic abjads directly descending from the Aramaic alphabet and shares similarities with the Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic, and the traditional Mongolian alphabets.
Type

Syriac alphabet

Contents
1 General remarks 2 Forms of the Syriac alphabet 2.1 Classical rangl Es 2.2 East Syriac Ma y n 2.3 West Syriac Ser 3 Summary table 4 Contextual forms of letters 4.1 Ligatures 5 Letter alterations 6 Unicode 6.1 Block 6.2 HTML code table 6.2.1 a B l p 6.2.2 Vowels and unique characters 7 See also 8 References 9 Footnotes 10 External links

Abjad

Languages Aramaic (Classical Syriac, Assyrian NeoAramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Turoyo, Christian Palestinian Aramaic), Arabic (Garshuni) Time period Parent systems ~200 BC to the present Proto-Sinaitic alphabet Phoenician alphabet Aramaic alphabet Syriac alphabet Sogdian Orkhon (Turkic) Old Hungarian Old Uyghur Mongolian Nabataean alphabet Arabic alphabet N'Ko alphabet Georgian (disputed) ISO 15924
Sr,15 yc 3 S r ( 3 , sr n v r a t y e 1 8 E a g l ain) Sr (3,Wsenvrat yj 17 etr ain) Sr (3,Esenvrat yn 16 atr ain)

Child systems

General remarks
Syriac is written from right to left. It is a cursive script where some, but not all, letters connect within a word. The alphabet consists of 22 letters, all of which are consonants. The vowel sounds are supplied by the reader's memory or by pointing (a system of diacritical marks to indicate the correct reading).
Direction Unicode alias

Right-to-left Syriac

In fact, three letters act as matres lectionis: rather than being a consonant, they indicate a vowel. a ( ), the first letter, represents a glottal stop, but it can also indicate a vowel at the beginning or the l p end of a word. The letter Waw ( ) is the consonant w, but can also represent the vowels o and u. Likewise, the letter Y ( ) represents the consonant y, but it also stands for the vowels i and e. In addition to the sounds of the language, the letters of the Syriac alphabet can be used to represent numbers in a system similar to Hebrew and Greek numerals. When Arabic began to be the dominant spoken language in the Fertile Crescent, texts were often written in Arabic with the Syriac script. These writings are usually called Karshuni or Garshuni ( ). Garshuni is often used today by Neo-Aramaic speakers in written communication such as letters and fliers.

Note : This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols.

Forms of the Syriac alphabet


There are three major variants of the Syriac alphabet.

Classical Esrangl
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The oldest and classical form of the alphabet is s a g l( E n r ; the name is thought to derive from the Greek adjective (strongyl, 'rounded'),[2] though it has also been suggested to derive from (s r e [3]). Although rangl is no longer used as the main script for writing Syriac, it has received w n y , 'gospel character') e agl Es some revival since the 10th century. It is often used in scholarly publications (for instance, the Leiden University version of the Peshitta), in titles and inscriptions. In some older manuscripts and inscriptions it is possible for any letter to join to the left, and older Aramaic letter forms (especially of eth and the lunate Mem) are found. Vowel marks are usually not used with Esrangl.

East Syriac Many


The East Syriac dialect is usually written in the Ma n ( y , 'Eastern') form of the alphabet. Other names for the script include S ( w y , 'conversational', often translated as 'contemporary', reflecting its use in writing modern Neo-Aramaic), 'Assyrian' (not to be 11th century book in Syriac Ser. confused with the traditional name for the Hebrew alphabet), 'Chaldean', and, inaccurately, 'Nestorian' (a term that was originally used to refer to the Church of the East in the Persian Empire). The Eastern script resembles rangl more closely than the Western script, being Es somewhat a midway point between the two. The Eastern script uses a system of dots above or below letters, based on an older system, to indicate vowels: A dot above and a dot below a letter represent []transliterated as a or ( a, , P ), Two diagonally-placed dots above a letter represent []transliterated as or or ( , , Z q p ), Two horizontally-placed dots below a letter represent []transliterated as e or ( , , R aror r , Z p ; often pronounced [ and transliterated as i in the East Syriac dialect), l m q ] Two diagonally-placed dots below a letter represent []transliterated as ( e, , R k ror ay , Z q l m a y ), A letter Y with a dot beneath it represents [, transliterated as or i ( i ] , ), A letter Waw with a dot below it represents []transliterated as or u ( u, , a or l l , R ), A letter Waw with a dot above it represents []transliterated as or o ( o, , r or w , R w ). A combination of R k r(usually) followed by a letter Y represents [] ay e (possibly *[ Proto-Syriac), e in ] transliterated as or ( , s A s q ). It is thought that the Eastern method for representing vowels influenced the development of the Niqqud markings used for writing Hebrew. In addition to the above vowel marks, transliteration of Syriac sometimes includes or superscript e (or often nothing at all) to represent an original Aramaic schwa that became lost later on at some point in the development of Syriac. Some transliteration schemes find its inclusion necessary for showing spirantization (see below) or for historical reasons. Whether because its distribution is mostly predictable (usually inside a syllable-initial two-consonant cluster) or because its pronunciation was lost, neither the East nor West variants of the alphabet have a sign to represent the schwa.

West Syriac Ser


The West Syriac dialect is usually written in the Sr ( e , 'line') form of the alphabet, also known as the P ( , 'simple'), 'Maronite', or the 'Jacobite' script (although the term Jacobite is considered derogatory). Most of the letters are clearly derived from rangl, but Es are simplified, flowing lines. A cursive, chancery hand is evidenced in the earliest Syriac manuscripts, but important works were written in rangl. From the 8th century, the simpler Es Serstyle came into fashion, perhaps because of
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The opening words of the Gospel of John written in Ser, Many and Esrangl (top to bottom) bri iaw[hy]-[h]w mel, 'in the beginning was the word'.
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its more economical use of parchment. The Nabataean alphabet (which gave rise to the Arabic alphabet) was based on this form of Syriac handwriting. The Western script is usually vowel-pointed with miniature Greek vowel letters above or below the letter which they follow: Capital Alpha () represents []transliterated as a or ( a, , P ), Lowercase Alpha () represents []transliterated as or or ( , , Z pronounced as [] transliterated as qp; o and o in the West Syriac dialect), Lowercase Epsilon () represents both []transliterated as e or , and []transliterated as ( , e, , R ), Capital Eta (H) represents [, transliterated as ( i ] , ), A combined symbol of capital Upsilon () and lowercase Omicron () represents []transliterated as or u ( u, , ). Lowercase Omega (), used only in the vocative interjection ( , 'O!').

Summary table
The Syriac alphabet consists of the following letters, shown in their isolated (non-connected) forms. When isolated, the letters Kp , Mm, and Nn are usually shown with their initial form connected to their final form (see below). The letters a , l p [4]) do not connect to a Dla, H, Waw, Zayn, , R, and Taw (and, in early rangl manuscripts, the letter Semka Es following letter within a word when written. These are marked with an asterisk (*). Name l a * p ( ) B ( ) G ma l ( ) D l* a ( ) H* ( ) Wa * w ( ) Z y* an ( ) ( ) ( ) Y ) Letter Sound Value IPA [ ] or silent Numerical Phoenician Hebrew Arabic Value Equivalent Equivalent Equivalent 1

Esrangl Many Ser Transliteration nothing or

hard: b hard: [] b soft: (also b , soft: [] h v or v , ) [ w] hard: g hard: [] soft: (also g , h soft: [] , ) hard: d hard: [] d soft: (also d , h soft: [] , ) h consonant: w mater lectionis: or (also uor o ) z [] h consonant: [ w] mater lectionis: [] [] u or o [] z [][] , x, or [] [] t

7 8 9

consonant: consonant: y [ j ] mater lectionis: mater lectionis: (also i ) [ or [] i e ]

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Kp ( ) L ma ( ) M m ( ) Nn ( ) S mk e a ( ) ( )

hard: k hard: [] k soft: (also k , h soft: [] x x ) l m n s [ l ] [ m] [] n [] s [ ]

20

30 40 50 60 70

P ( * ( )

hard: p p soft: p(also , hard: [] soft: [ f ] p, f h) q r (also s ) h hard: t soft: (also t, h ) [ s] [] q [ r ] [ ] hard: [ t ] soft: []

80

90 100 200 300

Qp ( ) R * ( ) ( n )

Tw a* ( )

400

Contextual forms of letters

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Esrangl (classical)

Many (eastern)

Letter Normal Final Final Normal Final Final form connected unconnected form connected unconnected lap B Gmal Dla H Waw Zayn Y Kp Lma Mm Nn Semka P Qp R n Taw /
1

1 In the final position following Dla or R,

a takes the normal form rather than the final form. l p

Ligatures
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Name

Unicode Normal Final Final Normal Final Final character(s) form connected unconnected form connected unconnected

Esrangl (classical)

Many (eastern)

Description Lma and lap combined at the end of a word

Lmalap Taw-lap H-Y Taw-Y /

Taw and lap combined at the end of a word H and Y combined at the end of a word Taw and Y combined at the end of a word

Letter alterations
In modern usage, some alterations can be made to represent phonemes not represented in classical orthography. A mark similar in appearance to a tilde, called Majlyn ( ), is placed either above or below a letter in the Many variant of the alphabet to change its phonetic value (see also: Geresh): Added to Gmal: [] [ (voiced postalveolar affricate) to d ] Added to K p[] [] to t(voiceless postalveolar affricate) : k Added to Zayn: [] [] z to (voiced postalveolar fricative) Added to n: [ to [] ] In addition to foreign sounds, a marking system is used to distinguish q ( y , 'hard' letters) from rk k ( , 'soft' letters). The letters B, Gmal, Dla, K p P, and Taw, all plosives ('hard'), are able to be spirantized into , fricatives ('soft'). The system involves placing a single dot underneath the letter to give its 'soft' variant and a dot above the letter to give its 'hard' variant (though, in modern usage, no mark at all is usually used to indicate the 'hard' value):

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Name B q ) (

Plosive

Translit. IPA b

Name

Spirant

Translit. IPA

Notes

[]B a k t b rk

[][] become [ v v has w] or in most modern [ dialects. w] [] [] left d is unspirantized in [] some modern Eastern dialects. [] x

G ma( l ) q

[]G mark l kt a

D l ( q ) a

[]D l rk d a k t a

K p( ) q

[]K prk k k t a

P ( q )

[]P rk p ak t

or

[ is not found in f ] most modern Eastern dialects. Instead, it either is left unspirantized or sometimes appears [ f ] as [ . P is the w] p or only letter in the [ w] Eastern variant of the alphabet that is spirantized by the addition of a semicircle instead of a single dot. [ is left t ] unspirantized in [] some modern Eastern dialects.

T w( a q )

[ a rk t ]T w a k t

The mnemonic b a k ( Begadkefat).

) is often used to remember the six letters that are able to be spirantized (see also:

In the East Syriac variant of the alphabet, spirantization marks are usually omitted when they interfere with vowel marks. The degree to which letters can be spirantized varies from dialect to dialect as some dialects have lost the ability for certain letters to be spirantized. For native words, spirantization depends on the letter's position within a word or syllable, location relative to other consonants and vowels, gemination, etymology, and other factors. Foreign words are not always subject to the rules for spirantization.

Unicode
The Syriac alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in September, 1999 with the release of version 3.0.

Block
The Unicode block for Syriac is U+0700 ... U+074F:

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Syriac[1] Unicode.org chart (http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U0700.pdf) (PDF) 0 U+070x U+071x U+072x U+073x U+074x Notes 1.^ As of Unicode version 6.1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

The Syriac Abbreviation (a type of overline) can be represented with a special control character called the Syriac Abbreviation Mark (U+070F).

HTML code table


Note: HTML numeric character references can be in decimal format (&#DDDD;) or hexadecimal format (&#xHHHH;). For example, ܕ and ܕ (1813 in hexadecimal) both represent U+0715 SYRIAC LETTER DALATH. a B lp

ܕ

ܓ

ܒ

ܐ

ܚ

ܙ

ܘ

ܗ

ܠ

ܟ

ܝ

ܛ

ܥ

ܤ

ܢ

ܡ

ܪ

ܩ

ܨ

ܦ

ܬ Vowels and unique characters

ܫ

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ܲ

ܵ

ܸ

ܹ

ܼ

ܿ

̈

̰

݁

݂

܀

܂

܄

݇

See also
Abjad Alphabet Aramaic alphabet Aramaic language Mandaic language Mongolian script Sogdian alphabet Syriac language Old Uyghur alphabet History of the alphabet List of writing systems

References
Coakley, J. F. (2002). Robinson's paradigms and exercises in Syriac grammar (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-926129-1. Hatch, William (1946). An album of dated Syriac manuscripts. Boston: The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, reprinted in 2002 by Gorgias Press. ISBN 1-931956-53-7. Michaelis, Ioannis Davidis (1784). Grammatica Syriaca. Nestle, Eberhard (1888). Syrische Grammatik mit Litteratur, Chrestomathie und Glossar. Berlin: H. Reuther's Verlagsbuchhandlung. [translated to English as Syriac grammar with bibliography, chrestomathy and glossary, by R. S. Kennedy. London: Williams & Norgate 1889]. Nldeke, Theodor and Julius Euting (1880). Kurzgefasste syrische Grammatik. Leipzig: T.O. Weigel. [translated to English as Compendious Syriac Grammar, by James A. Crichton. London: Williams & Norgate 1904. 2003 edition: ISBN 1-57506-050-7]. Phillips, George (1866). A Syriac grammar. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, & Co.; London: Bell & Daldy. Robinson, Theodore Henry (1915). Paradigms and exercises in Syriac grammar. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19926129-6. Thackston, Wheeler M. (1999). Introduction to Syriac. Bethesda, MD: Ibex Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-936347-98-8.

Footnotes
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1. ^ "Britannica - Syriac alphabet" (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/578972/Syriac-alphabet) . Encyclopdia Britannica Online. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/578972/Syriac-alphabet. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 2. ^ Hatch, William (1946). An album of dated Syriac manuscripts. Boston: The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, reprinted in 2002 by Gorgias Press. p. 24. ISBN 1-931956-53-7. 3. ^ Nestle, Eberhard (1888). Syrische Grammatik mit Litteratur, Chrestomathie und Glossar. Berlin: H. Reuther's Verlagsbuchhandlung. [translated to English as Syriac grammar with bibliography, chrestomathy and glossary, by R. S. Kennedy. London: Williams & Norgate 1889. p. 5]. 4. ^ Coakley, J. F. (2002). Robinson's paradigms and exercises in Syriac grammar (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-19-926129-1.

External links
The Syriac alphabet (http://www.omniglot.com/writing/syriac.htm) at Omniglot.com (http://www.omniglot.com/) The Syriac alphabet (http://ancientscripts.com/syriac.html) at Ancientscripts.com (http://ancientscripts.com/index.html) Unicode Entity Codes for the Syriac Script (http://tlt.psu.edu/suggestions/international/bylanguage/syriacchart.html) Download Syriac fonts (http://www.wazu.jp/gallery/Fonts_Syriac.html) How to write Aramaic - learn the Syriac cursive scripts (http://www.nativlang.com/aramaic-language/aramaic-writingcursive.php) Aramaic and Syriac handwriting (http://www.syriac.talktalk.net/syriac_writing.html) Esrangl (classical) Learn Assyrian (Syriac-Aramaic) OnLine (http://www.learnassyrian.com/aramaic/) Many (eastern) GNU FreeFont (http://www.gnu.org/software/freefont/) Unicode font family with Syriac range in its serif face. The Northwest Semitic abjad

b
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g
3

d
4

h w
5 6

z
7

y
10

k
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l
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m n
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s
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p
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History Phoenician Aramaic Hebrew Syriac Arabic Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Syriac_alphabet&oldid=536994057" Categories: Abjad writing systems Syriac languages Syriac alphabet Fertile Crescent Tur Abdin This page was last modified on 7 February 2013 at 03:47. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

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