New Tai Lue
Xishuangbanna Dai
Script type
Time period
since 1950s
DirectionLeft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesTai Lü
Related scripts
Parent systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Talu (354), ​New Tai Lue
Unicode alias
New Tai Lue
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
China Post logo with New Tai Lü script reading hoŋ⁴ faːk¹ haːi¹ tsoŋ⁵ ko⁶ in Mohan, Yunnan.

New Tai Lue script, also known as Xishuangbanna Dai[4] and Simplified Tai Lue, is an abugida used to write the Tai Lü language. Developed in China in the 1950s, New Tai Lue is based on the traditional Tai Tham alphabet developed c. 1200. The government of China promoted the alphabet for use as a replacement for the older script; teaching the script was not mandatory, however, and as a result many are illiterate in New Tai Lue. In addition, communities in Burma, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam still use the Tai Tham alphabet.



Similar to the Thai and Lao scripts, consonants come in pairs to denote two tonal registers (high and low).[4]

IPA /ʔa/ /ka/ /xa/ /ŋa/ /t͡sa/ /sa/ /ja/ /ta/ /tʰa/ /na/ /pa/
IPA /pʰa/ /ma/ /fa/ /va/ /la/ /da/ /ba/ /ha/ /kʷa/ /xʷa/ /sʷa/


Final consonants do not have an inherent /a/ vowel.[4] They are modified forms of initials with a virama-like hook:

Final no final with
IPA /k̚/ /t̚/ /p̚/ /ŋ/ /n/ /m/ /w/ /ʔ/


Consonants have a default vowel of /a/. In the table below, '◌' represents a consonant and is used to indicate the position of the various vowels:

      Short vowels             Long vowels       Diphthongs with i
Letters IPA Letters IPA Letters IPA
not present /a/ ᦺ◌ /aj/
◌ᦰ /aʔ/ ◌ᦱ /aː/ ◌ᦻ /aːj/
◌ᦲᦰ /iʔ/ ◌ᦲ /i(ː)/
ᦵ◌ᦰ /eʔ/ ᦵ◌ /e(ː)/
ᦶ◌ᦰ /ɛʔ/ ᦶ◌ /ɛ(ː)/
◌ᦳ /u(ʔ)/ ◌ᦴ /uː/ ◌ᦼ /uj/
ᦷ◌ᦰ /oʔ/ ᦷ◌ /o(ː)/ ◌ᦽ /oj/
◌ᦸᦰ /ɔʔ/ ◌ᦸ /ɔ(ː)/ ◌ᦾ /ɔj/
◌ᦹᦰ /ɯʔ/ ◌ᦹ /ɯ(ː)/ ◌ᦿ /ɯj/
ᦵ◌ᦲᦰ /ɤʔ/ ᦵ◌ᦲ /ɤ(ː)/ ᦵ◌ᧀ /ɤj/

In some words, the symbol is just used for distinguishing homonyms or displaying onomatopoeiae.

Generally, vowels in open syllables (without final) become long whereas ones in closed syllables become short (except /aː/ and /uː/).


New Tai Lue has two tone marks which are written at the end of a syllable: and .[4] Because consonants come in pairs to denote two tonal registers, the two tone marks allow for representation of six specific tones:

High register Low register
Shown with k ᦂᧈ ᦂᧉ ᦅᧈ ᦅᧉ
IPA /ka˥/ /ka˧˥/ /ka˩˧/ /ka˥˩/ /ka˧/ /ka˩/
Transcription ka¹ ka² ka³ ka⁴ ka⁵ ka⁶


Two letters are used only for abbreviations:


New Tai Lue has its own set of digits:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

An alternative glyph for one () is used when might be confused with the vowel .[4]


Main article: New Tai Lue (Unicode block)

New Tai Lue script was added to the Unicode Standard in March, 2005 with the release of version 4.1.

In June 2015, New Tai Lue was changed from an ISCII-style logical ordering (where vowel modifiers are always encoded after the base consonants which they modify), as used for most Indic scripts in Unicode, to a TIS-620-style visual ordering model (where a vowel modifier will be encoded before the base consonant if it appears before it in the line, or after it otherwise), as used for the Thai and Lao scripts. This change was made since visual ordering for New Tai Lue was found to be more widespread in practice than the previously-prescribed logical ordering.[4][6][7][8] This change affected the four vowel letters which appear to the left of the initial consonant.

The Unicode block for New Tai Lue is U+1980–U+19DF:

New Tai Lue[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+19Bx ᦿ
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.1
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also


  1. ^ a b Diringer, David (1948). Alphabet a key to the history of mankind. p. 411.
  2. ^ Hartmann, John F. (1986). "The spread of South Indic scripts in Southeast Asia". Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 3 (1): 6–20. JSTOR 40860228.
  3. ^ Penth, Hans (1986). "On the History of Thai scripts" (PDF). ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e f "The Unicode Standard, Chapter 16.6: New Tai Lue" (PDF). Unicode Consortium. March 2020.
  5. ^ "Dai Lue Dictionary ᦈᦹᧈ ᦶᦑᧃ ᦺᦑ ᦟᦹᧉ 傣泐词典 » ᦂᦱᧃᧉ ᦅᧄ".
  6. ^ Moore, Lisa (2014-11-10). "L2/14-250: UTC #141 Minutes".
  7. ^ Hosken, Martin (2014-04-23). "L2/14-090: Proposal to Deprecate and add 4 characters to the New Tai Lue block" (PDF).
  8. ^ Pournader, Roozbeh (2014-08-05). "L2/14-195: Data on the usage of left-side spacing marks in New Tai Lue".