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Bikram Soni , 40, a Master in History, playing stage drama, serving in a court for his livelihood has invented script for Halvi language of Bastar Region of Chhattishgarh. His empirical experience on languages of tribal Bastar is a rich resource for the state to make language planing like using the languages for school education and to use the knowledge of the language for ecology and literacy.Bikram Soni is an amazing personality of capturing the multidimensional aspects of culture which is absent among the practitioners of fragmented disciplines found in the academicia. We discussed with Mr Soni and found his work is compatible to any trained linguist who claim his authority over the theory. But Soni is a person who also knows the grammar of the language while knowing the knowledge of the language. In the context it is maintained. His key article Halvi Schipt is presented to the global audience for an appreciation.

Mahendra Kumar Mishra Folklore Foundation, India

Halbi Script gkych yfif


To create a new script or to accept a new script for any language is not a new matter. In 1925 A.D. a new script 'Ol Chiki' was invented for Santhali language by Pt. Raghunath murmu. Now 'Ol chiki' script is authorized script for Santhali. With this script Santhali has been recognized as a language in eighth schedule of the constitution of India. The old script of Manipuri language Maitei had been forgotten and Manipuri was written with Bangali script until seventh decade of the last century. In 1980 A.D. Maitei script is recognized as authorized script for Manipuri. There are so many scripts invented for tribal languages like Saura, Gondi, kurux etc. Not only in India, but also in other countries this tradition of invention and acceptance of a new script for any language is continuing. In 1928 A.D. Roman script accepted for Turkish language instead of Arabic. Halbi (Hulbie) is an Indo-Aryan language mainly is spoken by about 5,00,000.00 people as mother tongue and about 2,00,000.00 people as second

2 language. Its variations are spoken outside Bastar in Maharashtra, Madhya spoken in seven districts of Bastar region of Chhattisgarh state, India. It is a creole of Marathi, Oriya and Hindi. Halbi has the status of the language of wide communication in Bastar region, where several other Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages/dialects are spoken. It has traditional (oral) and modern (written) literature practices. Modern literature goes back to the 3rd decade of the 20th century. Halbi is written with Devnagari script, because Hindi language is the official language of Chhattisgarh state. Though Halbi is a creole of Marathi, Oriya and Hindi language, it should not be recognized as a dialect of Marathi, Hindi or Oriya as per its present form. It should be recognized as a separate language like Nepali. To develop it as a literary language a separate script Halbi Script has been devised. This script has been designed after linguistic study of old and present scripts of the world and essential elements for an ideal script.

Origin
Why Halbi script? Devnagri script is not used for any particular language/dialect, it is used for several languages of India and Napal; Halbi too is written with Devnagari. In beginning I wanted to use Devnagari script for Halbi, but I found that Devnagari and other syllabic scripts aren't sufficient to write the actual pronunciations of Halbi words. If we use to write actual pronunciation of Halbi words with Devnagari or with other Indic scripts, it causes to use a number of 'halant' vowel lesser signs or 'half' forms/glyphs of consonants to show pure consonants. If we use any Indic script to write a word ends with a consonant, we have to have an inherent vowel 'a' () at the end of a syllable unnecessarily. There are some dialects related to Halbi are spoken in Odisha and Aandhra Pradesh. The speakers of these dialects use Oriya and Telugu scripts to write their dialects. That is why Halbi speakers of various states couldn't communicate in writing with each-others. Another purpose of creating Halbi script is to generate self respect and to promote writing and reading in Halbi amongst the Halbi speakers. No other specific script had been projected for Halbi language before the Halbi Script. I studied many syllabic and alphabetic scripts of Asia, Europe and Africa. I also studied about characters/glyphs of the scripts invented in the last century. I felt a need of a new alphabetic script for Halbi. In 1996 A.D., I roughly created a new script which was totally different from this script. I didn't satisfy with the new script. I worked on the formula:

3 (a) The glyphs of Halbi letters should be modified forms of Devnagari letters, so that the people who know Devnagari script, can learn it easily. (b) Each glyph of the letters and diacritics should be simple drawing and written in a single stroke. That will make ease writing fast. (c) The script should have single type of letters for handwriting and printing, not like Latin and other European scripts. (d) Consonants, Vowels and Vowel diacritics should be written as these are appear in the pronunciation in a word. (e) Each consonant should be written everywhere as it is, but for nasal consonant there should be option to write as 'Anuswar' sign (a point sign) like other Indic scripts. Finally, I created the Halbi script in 2006 A.D.. I used this script to write all the things in Halbi for a year and discussed with Halbi literaters and speakers. After that in 2007 A.D., I redesigned the glyphs. I searched for font makers in India and abroad, but nobody helped me. In 2010 A.D. a young man Mr. Dheeraj Das met me who was a resident of my hometown and proposed to make fonts for Halbi script. He kept his words. Now, he is a good friend of mine. Characteristics of Halbi script are as follows:1. 2. Direction of writing: left to write in horizontal lines. The glyphs of Halbi letters have been derived from Devnagari letters, so that the people who know Devnagari script, can learn it easily. Each glyph of the letters and diacritics is simple drawing and being written in a single stroke. Halbi script has single type of letters for handwriting and printing. In this script people have to learn one sign for one letter, not like Latin /European scripts - four signs/glyphs for each letter. It is an alphabetic script, but it has vowel diacritics (matras) like other Indic script to indicate dependent vowels. These diacritic signs/glyphs of diacritics are unique features of Halbi script. These diacritics marks always appear after the related consonant. This is why the order of pronunciation and spelling of a word matches. Halbi script has eight vowels and thirty two consonants. Vowels and consonants which are not pronounced in Halbi are not included in Halbi script, because the words borrowed from other languages in

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4 Halbi are not pronounced as these are in original. e.g. - f, q and z are always pronounced in Halbi as ph, k and j. 7. There is a short vowel 'a' () also in Halbi, but it could be shown by apostrophe mark if needed. Halbi script has a sign/glyph (Anunasik/Chandrabindu sign) to indicate nasalized vowels like other Indic scripts. Halbi script has also a sign/glyph (Anuswar/Bindu sign) to indicate in short nasal consonants.

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10. There is no conjunct letter sign/glyph in Halbi alphabet. 11. Halbi script has a sign/glyph (Anunasik/Chindrabindu sign) to indicate nasalized vowels. 12. All the punctuation marks are same as in Latin/English. 13. Mathematical symbols (plus, minus, percentage etc.) are also same as in Indo-Arabic. It has its own signs for numerals, but Indo-Arabic numeral signs could be used as option.

Used to write
The Halbi script is being taught to the people. Efforts are being made to publish books in this script.

gkych vdNkjeKyK

(Hlb kchrmala)

Halbi Alphabet

1. LOj Eu
Vowels

(Swar man/Swr mn)

A
a

b
i

"

m
u

,
e

|
o

2. eKrjK pfuK Eu 'd' Laxs


(Matra china man 'k' (ak) sange/Matra china mn 'k' (k) sge) Vowel diacritics with 'k'

dk
k

dK
ka

df
ki

dh
k

dq
ku

dw
k

ds
ke

dS
ko

3. vuquKlfd pfuK

(Anunasik china/nunasik china)

Nasalization sign for vowels

4. vuquKlfd pfuK lOj Ajq eKrjK Eu Laxs


(Anunasik china swar aru matra man sange/ nunasik china swr aru matra mn sge) Nasalization sign with vowels and diacritics

vW kW

AW KW

bW fW

"W hW

mW qW

~W wW

,W sW

|W SW

5. c;kZTu Eu
Consonants

(Byanjan man/Byjn mn)

d
k

[
kh

x
g

?
gh

z
ng

g
h

;
y

akh

ig

ugh

ek

oh

p
ch

N
chh

t
j

>
jh

Z
ny/

l
s

c/t

ach/ath

ij/id

ujh/udh

ec/ e t

os

B
h

<
h

G
/

a h

uh

o/o

r
t

F
th

n
d

/
dh

u
n

j
r

y
l

at

id

ud

ent

or

i
p

Q
ph

c
b

H
bh

e
m

o
w

aph

ib

ubh

emp

ow

6. vuqloKj pfuK

(Anuswar china/nuswar china)

Sign for showing in short the nasal consonants

a
7. Xurf Eu
Numerals (Ganti man/Gnti mn)

0
0
sn
sun

1
1
ek
ek

2
2
di
duy

3
3
teen
tn

4
4
car/ tar

5
5
pa c/ pa t

6
6
chhai
chy/ ty

7
7
saat
sat

8
8
aat
a

9
9
naw
nw

chaar paanch

Sample text

b;K xSB;KmW xSB] gkjfd-mnfe pS] nq[-MkaM pS] Ejuh-thouh pS] xf;Ku-/f;Ku pS] Auf-cKuf pS] AiyS xSB] AiyS HKlK us] eSds yKxS eSpS dSuf AlSr Cyqu.

Transliteration
Iyaa gothhyaaun gothh, harik-udim cho, dukh-dand cho, marni-jiwni cho, giyaan-dhiyaan cho, aani-baani cho, aaplo gothh, aaplo bhaasaa ne, moke laago mocho koni aasot balun.

Translation
Come, let's talk to about pleasure and joy, pain and sorrow, death and birth, knowledge and information and other several matters, our talking, in our language, so that I could feel there is someone of mine.

-- Vikram Kumar Soni e mail : vkrm.soni@rediffmail.com soni.vikramkumar@yahoo.com

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