Tai Tham
ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᨵᩢᨾ᩠ᨾ᩼, Tua Tham
Tai Tham script sample.svg
Script type
Time period
c. 1300–present
Directionleft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesNorthern Thai, Tai Lü, Khün, Isan and Lao
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
New Tai Lue, Tham Lao
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Lana (351), ​Tai Tham (Lanna)
Unicode
Unicode alias
Tai Tham
U+1A20–U+1AAF
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.
 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.

The Tai Tham script (Tham meaning "scripture") is an artificial ethnonym given to an abugida writing system used mainly for a group of Southwestern Tai languages i.e., Northern Thai, Tai Lü, Khün and Lao; as well as the liturgical languages of Buddhism i.e., Pali and Sanskrit. It is historically known as Tua Tham (​ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᨵᨾ᩠ᨾ᩼​ or ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᨵᩢᨾ᩠ᨾ᩼). In Thailand and Myanmar, the script is often referred to as Lanna script (Thai: อักษรธรรมล้านนา RTGSAkson Tham Lan Na; Burmese: လန်နအက္ခရာ RTGS: Lanna Akara) in relation to the historical kingdom of Lan Na situating in the Northern region of modern day Thailand and a part of Shan state in Myanmar.[4] Local people in Northern Thailand also call the script as Tua Mueang (ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᨾᩮᩥᩬᨦ, Northern Thai pronunciation: [tǔa.mɯ̄aŋ] listen) in parallel to Kam Mueang, a local name for Northern Thai language.[4] In Laos and Isan region of Thailand, a variation of Tai Tham script, often dubbed Lao Tham, is also known by the locals as To Tham Lao (Northeastern Thai: โตธรรมลาว /toː˩.tʰam˧˥.laːw˧/, cf. Lao: ໂຕທຳ/ໂຕທັມ BGN/PCGN to tham) or Yuan script.[5] Tai Tham script is traditionally written on a dried palm leaf as a palm-leaf manuscript.[4]

The Northern Thai language is a close relative of (standard) Thai. It is spoken by nearly 6 million people in Northern Thailand and several thousand in Laos of whom few are literate in Lanna script. The script is still read by older monks. Northern Thai has six linguistic tones and Thai only five, making transcription into the Thai alphabet problematic. There is some resurgent interest in the script among younger people, but an added complication is that the modern spoken form, called Kam Muang, differs in pronunciation from the older form.[6]

There are 670,000 speakers of Tai Lü, some of those born before 1950 are literate in Tham, also known as Old Tai Lue.[citation needed] The script has also continued to be taught in the monasteries. The New Tai Lue script is derived from Tham. There are 120,000 speakers of Khün for which Lanna is the only script.

History

Nameboard of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai written with Lanna: Wat Mokhamtuang (and street number 119 in Thai)
Nameboard of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai written with Lanna: Wat Mokhamtuang (and street number 119 in Thai)
Northern Thai inscription in Tai Tham script in Chiang Mai
Northern Thai inscription in Tai Tham script in Chiang Mai

The Tai Tham script shows a strong similarity to the Mon script used by the Mon kingdom of Haripunjaya around the 13th century CE, in the present-day Lamphun Province of Northern Thailand. The oldest known document containing the Tai Tham script is dated to 1376 CE and was found in Sukhothai. The document is a bilingual inscription on a gold folio, containing one line of Pali written in the Tai Tham script, while the vernacular is written in the Siamese language, using the Sukhothai script. The Tai Tham script was adapted to write vernacular languages not later than the 15th century CE, most probably in Chiang Mai, in the Lan Na Kingdom.[7] The script spread from Lan Na to surrounding areas such as modern day Laos, Isan, Shan State and Sipsong Panna. Numerous local variants developed, such as the Lue variant (Sipsong Panna), the Khuen variant (Shan State) and the Tham Lao variant (Laos and Isan). The variants differ only slightly in appearance, and the system of writing has remained the same.[8] As the name suggests, the use of the Tham (Dharma) script in Lao was restricted to religious literature, either used to transcribe Pali, or religious treatises written in Lao intended solely for the clergy. Religious instructional materials and prayer books dedicated to the laity were written in Tai Noi instead. As a result, only a few people outside the temples were literate in the script. In Isan, evidence of the script includes two stone inscriptions, such as the one housed at Wat Tham Suwannakhuha in Nong Bua Lamphu, dated to 1564, and another from Wat Mahaphon in Maha Sarakham from the same period.[9]

A palm-leaf manuscript written in Tai Tham script. Collection of the Museum of Ethnology, Minzu University of China.
A palm-leaf manuscript written in Tai Tham script. Collection of the Museum of Ethnology, Minzu University of China.

Most of the script is recorded on palm-leaf manuscripts, many of which were destroyed during the 'Thaification' purges of the 1930s; contemporaneously this period of Thai nationalisation also ended its use as the primary written language in Northern Thailand.[10] Although no longer in use in Isan, the alphabet is enjoying a resurgence in Northern Thailand, and is still used as the primary written script for the Tai Lü and Tai Khün languages spoken in the 'Golden Triangle' where Thailand, Laos, Burma and southern China meet. Its use is rather limited to the long-term monks in Laos and most materials published today are in the modern Lao script.[10]

Characteristics

Although both the ancient forms of the Mon and Khmer script are different, they are both abugidas that descend from the Brahmic scripts introduced via contacts with South Indian traders, soldiers, merchants and Brahmans. As a Mon-derived script, Tai Tham has many similarities with the writing systems for Burmese, Shan, Rakhine and modern Mon and rounder letter forms compared to the angled letters of Khmer.[10] Letters can be stacked, sometimes with special subscript forms, similar to 'ຼ' which was used in Tai Noi and also in modern Lao as the subscript version of 'ຣ' /r/ or 'ລ' /l/ as in Lao: ຫຼວງພຼະບາງ/ຫລວງພຣະບາງ. Letters also are more circular or rounded than the typically angled style of Khmer.[9]

Consonants

There are 43 Tai Tham consonants. They are divided into three groups: categorized consonants (ᨻ᩠ᨿᩢᨬ᩠ᨩᨶᨶᩲᩅᩢᨣ᩠ᨣ᩼, payanjana​ nai wak), non-categorized consonants (ᨻ᩠ᨿᩢᨬ᩠ᨩᨶᩋᩅᩢᨣ᩠ᨣ᩼, payanjana awak), and additional consonants (ᨻ᩠ᨿᩢᨬ᩠ᨩᨶᨲᩮᩬᩥ᩵ᨾ, payanjana tueam). Categorized consonants and non-categorized consonants are those derived from Old Mon script used for Pali and Sanskrit languages. Similar to Devanagari, Pallava script, and Burmese script, categorized consonants are divided into 5 subgroups called wak (ᩅᩢᨣ᩠ᨣ᩼) i.e., wak ka (ᨠ), wak ja​ (ᨧ), wak rata (ᨭ), wak ta (ᨲ), and wak pa (ᨷ). The additional consonants are the consonants invented to write Tai sounds that are originally not found in Pali. In a dictionary, letter ᩂ​ and ᩄ are often put in the consonant list following the letter ᩁ and ᩃ respectively. However, they are a syllabary (also a vowel) and not a consonant letter.

Consonant chart

There are 25 categorized consonants, 10 non-categorized consonants, and 8 additional consonants. Similar to Khmer, Tai Tham also has a subjoined form called haang (ᩉᩣ᩠ᨦ), tua joeng (ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᨩᩮᩬᩥᨦ), or tua hoy (ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᩉᩬ᩠ᨿ᩶). In the Unicode input method, sakot sign (᩠​​​ U1A60) is used to trigger the subjoined forms.[5][11] The additional consonants are shown in yellow. These consonants have the characteristics of lacking the subjoined form. Similar to Thai script and Lao script, consonants in Tai Tham can be classified into high, mid, and low classes regarding to the tone rules.

Group Letter Subjoined

form

Name Transliteration IPA Tone

Class

Translit. IPA Initial Final Initial Final
1. Wak Ka
Lanna-1.png
-᩠ᨠ ka [kǎ] k k [k] [k̚] high
Lanna-2.png
-᩠ᨡ xa, kha [xǎ] x, kh k [x] [k̚] high
[a]
Lanna-3.png
 – xa, kha [xǎ] x, kh  – [x] [k̚] high
Lanna-4.png
-᩠ᨣ ka [ka᷇] k k [k] [k̚] low
[a]
Lanna-5.png
 – xa, kha [xa᷇] x, kh  – [x] [k̚] low
Lanna-6.png
-᩠ᨥ xa, kha [xa᷇] x, kh k [x] [k̚] low
Lanna-7.png
-᩠ᨦ nga [ŋa᷇] ng ng [ŋ] [ŋ] low
2. Wak Ja
Lanna-8.png
-᩠ᨧ ja, ca [t͡ɕǎ] j, c t [t͡ɕ] [t̚] high
Lanna-9.png
-᩠ᨨ sa, cha [sǎ] s, ch  – [s] high
Lanna-10.png
-᩠ᨩ ja, ca [t͡ɕa᷇] j, c t [t͡ɕ] [t̚] low
[a]
Lanna-11.png
 – sa [sa᷇] s t [s] [t̚] low
Lanna-jh-Lue.png
,
Lanna-12.png
-᩠ᨫ sa, cha [sa᷇] s, ch t [s] [t̚] low
Lanna-13.png
-᩠ᨬ nya [ɲa᷇] ny, y n [ɲ], [j][b] [n] low
3. Wak Rata
Lanna-14.png
-᩠ᨭ rata [lǎ.tǎ] t t [t] [t̚] high
Lanna-15.png
,
Lanna-ratha-Lue.png
-᩠ᨮ , -ᩛ ratha [lǎ.tʰǎ] th t [tʰ] [t̚] high
Lanna-17.png
-᩠ᨯ da [dǎ] d, th[c] t [d], [tʰ][c] [t̚] mid
Lanna-15-5.png
-᩠ᨰ ratha [lǎ.tʰa᷇] th t [tʰ] [t̚] low
Lanna-16.png
-᩠ᨱ rana [lǎ.na᷇] n n [n] [n] low
4. Wak Ta
Lanna-18.png
-᩠ᨲ ta [tǎ] t t [t] [t̚] high
Lanna-19.png
-᩠ᨳ tha [tʰǎ] th t [tʰ] [t̚] high
Lanna-20.png
-᩠ᨴ ta [ta᷇] t t [t] [t̚] low
Lanna-21.png
-᩠ᨵ tha [tʰa᷇] th t [tʰ] [t̚] low
Lanna-22.png
-᩠ᨶ na [na᷇] n n [n] [n] low
5. Wak Pa
Lanna-23.png
-᩠ᨷ , -ᩝ ba [bǎ] b p [b][d] [p̚] mid
-᩠ᨷ pa[e] [pǎ] p p [p][e][12][13] [p̚] high[13][12]
[a][f]
Lanna-24.png
 – pa [pǎ] p p [p] [p̚] high
Lanna-25.png
-᩠ᨹ pha [pʰǎ] ph  – [pʰ]  – high
[a]
Lanna-26.png
 – fa [fǎ] f  – [f]  – high
Lanna-27.png
-᩠ᨻ , -ᩛ pa [pa᷇] p p [p] [p̚] low
[a]
Lanna-28.png
 – fa [fa᷇] f p [f] [p̚] low
Lanna-29.png
-᩠ᨽ pha [pʰa᷇] ph p [pʰ] [p̚] low
Lanna-30.png
-᩠ᨾ , -ᩜ ma [ma᷇] m m [m] [m] low
6. Awak ᨿ
Lanna-31.png
-᩠ᨿ nya [ɲa᷇] ny, y  – [ɲ], [j][b]  – low
[a]
Lanna-44.png
 – ya [jǎ] y  – [j]  – mid
Lanna-32.png
-᩠ᩁ , -ᩕ ra, la [la᷇] r,[g] l, h n [r],[c] [l],[c] [h] [n] low
Lanna-33.png
-᩠ᩃ​ , -ᩖ la [la᷇] l n [l] [n] low
Lanna-34.png
-᩠ᩅ wa [wa᷇] w [w] low
Lanna-35.png
-᩠ᩆ sa [sǎ] s t [s] [t̚] high
Lanna-36.png
-᩠ᩇ sa [sǎ] s t [s] [t̚] high
Lanna-37.png
-᩠ᩈ , -ᩞ sa [sǎ] s t [s] [t̚] high
Lanna-38.png
-᩠ᩉ ha [hǎ] h  – [h]  – high
Lanna-39.png
-᩠ᩊ la [la᷇] l n [l] [n] low
Lanna-40.png
,
Lanna-a.png
-ᩬ a [ʔǎ]  –  – [ʔ]  – mid
[a]
Lanna-41.png
 – ha [ha᷇] h  – [h]  – low
Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Added consonant invented for Tai sound, as an extension to the original chategorized Pali 'vagga' consonants. These consonants have the characteristics of lacking the subjoined form.
  2. ^ a b In Tai Lue language
  3. ^ a b c d Influence from Thai, Pali, and Sanskrit languages.
  4. ^ When used to write Tai words.
  5. ^ a b When used to write Pali-Sanskrit derived words.
  6. ^ Used only for Tai words, not for Pali.
  7. ^ Often transliterated as 'r' to preserve the semantics for Thai and Pali-Sanskrit words.

Consonant combinations and ligatures

Consonant digraph with Ha

Certain consonants in the low-class group lack their high-class counterpart. These consonants are sometimes called the single low-class consonants. Their high-class counterparts are created by the combination with letter high Ha (ᩉ) as a digraph, called Ha Nam (ᩉ​ ᨶᩣᩴ).[14]

Letter Name Transliteration IPA Tone

Class

Translit. IPA Initial Final Initial Final
ᩉ᩠ᨦ nga [ŋǎ] ng  – [ŋ]  – high
ᩉ᩠ᨶ na [nǎ] n  – [n]  – high
ᩉ᩠ᨾ ma [mǎ] m  – [m]  – high
ᩉ᩠ᨿ nya [ɲǎ] ny  – [ɲ], [j][a]  – high
ᩉᩕ ra, la, ha [rǎ], [lǎ], [hǎ] r,[b] l, h  – [r],[c] [l],[c] [h]  – high
ᩉᩖ​, ᩉ᩠ᩃ la [lǎ] l  – [l]  – high
ᩉ᩠ᩅ wa [wǎ] w  – [w]  – high
Notes
  1. ^ In Tai Lue language
  2. ^ Often transliterated as 'r' to preserve the semantics for Thai and Pali-Sanskrit words.
  3. ^ a b Influence from Thai, Pali, and Sanskrit languages.

Special letters

Letter Name Phonetic value

(IPA)

Comments
Tham Translit. IPA
Southern Lanna LAE.svg, Northern Lanna LAE.svg[a] ᩃᩯᩡ,​ ᩃᩯ lae [lɛ̄ː] [lɛʔ], [lɛ̄ː] Ligature of letter ᩃ (la) and superscript vowel sign ᩮ​ (e).
ᨶᩣ Lanna NAA.svg ᨶᩣ naa [nāː] [nāː] Ligature of letter ᨶ (na) and vowel sign ᩣ (a).
ᨬ᩠ᨬ Lanna geminate NYA.svg ᨬᨬ nya nya [ɲa᷇ʔ ɲa᷇ʔ] [n.ɲ] Ligature of letter ᨱ​ (rana) and ᨬ​ (nya), used in lieu of double ᨬ.
Lanna Double SA Conjunct.svg ᩈ​​​ ᩈᩬᨦᩉᩬ᩶ᨦ sa song hong [sǎː sɔ̌ːŋ hɔ᷇ːŋ] [t̚.s], [s̚.s] Ligature of double ᩈ​​ (high sa).
Lanna medial RA.svg ᩁᩁᩰᩫ᩠ᨦ rarong, rahong [la᷇.hōːŋ] [r], [l], [ʰ] Subjoined form of letter ᩁ (ra) for a consonant cluster such as ᨷᩕ​ (pra) ᨻᩕ​ (pra) as opposed to the subjoined form -᩠ᩁ​​ used as a final consonant. Traditionally considered as a special letter.
Notes
  1. ^ Khuen/Lue style.

Vowels

Vowel characters come in two forms: as stand-alone letters for writing initial vowels or as diacritics that can be attached to all sides of the consonant letters. However, Lanna excels in terms of the number of diacritics used. Some vowel sounds can be written with a combination of as many as four diacritics: one on each side of the consonant.[15][16]

Dependent vowels

Short vowels[a]
(with consonant ᨠ)
Long vowels
(with consonant ᨠ)
IPA No final
consonant
With final
consonant (ᨦ)[b]
IPA No final
consonant
With final
consonant (ᨦ)[b]
Simple vowels
/a/ ᨠ​, ᨠᩡ ᨠᩢ᩠ᨦ /aː/ ᨠᩣ[c] ᨠᩣ᩠ᨦ
/i/ ᨠᩥ ᨠᩥ᩠ᨦ /iː/ ᨠᩦ ᨠᩦ᩠ᨦ
/ɯ/ ᨠᩧ ᨠᩧ᩠ᨦ /ɯː/ ᨠᩨ ᨠᩨ᩠ᨦ
/u/ ᨠᩩ ᨠᩩᨦ,​ ᨠᩩᨦ᩼ /uː/ ᨠᩪ ᨠᩪᨦ,​ ᨠᩪᨦ᩼
/e/ ᨠᩮᩡ, ᨠᩮᩬᩡ ᨠᩮᩢ᩠ᨦ, ᨠᩮᩬᨦᩡ /eː/ ᨠᩮ ᨠᩮ᩠ᨦ
/ɛ/ ᨠᩯᩡ, ᨠᩯᩬᩡ ᨠᩯᩢ᩠ᨦ,​​ ᨠᩯᩬᨦᩡ /ɛː/ ᨠᩯ ᨠᩯ᩠ᨦ
/o/ ᨠᩰᩡ ᨠᩫ᩠ᨦ /oː/ ᨠᩰ,ᨠᩮᩣ[c][d] ᨠᩰᩫ᩠ᨦ,​ ᨠᩰ᩠ᨦ
/ɔ/ ᨠᩰᩬᩡ ᨠᩬᩢᨦ,​ ᨠᩬᨦᩡ /ɔː/ ᨠᩬᩴ, ᨠᩳ[e] ᨠᩬᨦ, ᨠᩬᨦ᩼
/ɤ/ ᨠᩮᩬᩥᩡ ᨠᩮᩥᩢ᩠ᨦ,​ ᨠᩮᩥ᩠ᨦᩡ /ɤː/ ᨠᩮᩬᩥ ᨠᩮᩥ᩠ᨦ
Diphthongs
/iaʔ/ ᨠ᩠ᨿᩮᩡ ᨠ᩠ᨿᩢᨦ, ᨠ᩠ᨿᨦᩡ /ia/ ᨠ᩠ᨿᩮ ᨠ᩠ᨿᨦ
/ɯaʔ/ ᨠᩮᩬᩥᩋᩡ ᨠᩮᩬᩥᩢᨦ,​ ᨠᩮᩬᩥᨦᩡ /ɯa/ ᨠᩮᩬᩥᩋ ᨠᩮᩬᩥᨦ
ᨠᩮᩬᩨᩋᩡ ᨠᩮᩬᩨᩢᨦ,​ ᨠᩮᩬᩨᨦᩡ ᨠᩮᩬᩨᩋ ᨠᩮᩬᩨᨦ
/uaʔ/ ᨠ᩠ᩅᩫᩡ ᨠ᩠ᩅᩢᨦ,​ ᨠ᩠ᩅᨦᩡ /ua/ ᨠ᩠ᩅᩫ ᨠ᩠ᩅᨦ,​ ᨠ᩠ᩅᨦ᩼
Phonetic diphthongs[f]
/au/ ᨠᩮᩢᩣ,[c] ᨠᩳ[g] -
/aj/ ᨠᩱ, ᨠᩲ, ᨠᩱ᩠ᨿ, ᨠᩱᨿ᩠ᨿ,[17] ᨠᩢ᩠ᨿ[13] -
/ɔːj/ ᨠᩭ,[e] ᨠᩬ᩠ᨿ -
Extra vowels
/aŋ/ ᨠᩴ,[d] ᨠᩘ[d] -
/am/ ᨠᩣᩴ[c] -
/lɯ/ - /lɯː/ ,[h] [i][13] -
Notes
  1. ^ Short vowels are followed by a glottal stop /ʔ/ if they are followed by another consonant.
  2. ^ a b Hypothetical spelling for demonstrating the consonant and vowel positions.
  3. ^ a b c d Symbol ᩤ may be used instead for narrow consonants such as ᨣ​ ᨧ​ ᨵ​ ᨰ​ ᨴ​ ᨷ​ ᩅ to increase legibility.
  4. ^ a b c Only used for Pali words.
  5. ^ a b Used in Khuen and Lue spelling conventions.
  6. ^ Only shows the diphthongs with special diacritic symbols.
  7. ^ Used in Lanna spelling convention, called Mai Kao Ho Nueng (ᨾᩱ᩶ᨠᩮᩢᩣᩉᩬᩴ᩵ᩉ᩠ᨶᩧ᩶ᨦ)
  8. ^ Equivalent to Thai script ฤา.
  9. ^ Equivalent to Thai script ฦา.

Independent vowels

Independent vowels are mainly reserved for writing Pali words, except for ᩐᩣ /ʔau/ which is used as a special vowel sign and not for Pali words.[18]

Tai Tham
Lanna-40.png
Lanna letter aa.svg
Lanna-Pali-i.png
Lanna-Pali-ii.png
Lanna-Pali-u.png
Lanna-Pali-uu.png
Lanna-Pali-e.png
Lanna letter o.svg
Lanna aau.jpg
ᩋᩣ ᩐᩣ
IPA /ʔáʔ/ /ʔāː/ /ʔíʔ/ /ʔīː/ /ʔúʔ/ /ʔūː/ /ʔēː/ /ʔōː/ /ʔau/

Tone marks

Further information: Northern Thai language § Tones

Tone marks Name Comments
Tham Transliteration IPA
Lanna-tone1.png
ᨾᩱ᩶ᩀᩢ᩠ᨠ,[13]ᨾᩱ᩶ᩀᩰᩬᩡ[13] mai yak,

mai yo

/máj.jǎk/,

/máj.jɔ́ʔ/

Lanna-tone2.png
ᨾᩱ᩶ᨡᩬᩴᨩ᩶ᩣ᩠ᨦ,[13]ᨾᩱ᩶ᨪᩢ᩠ᨯ[19] mai kho jang,

mai sat

/máj.xɔ̌ː.t͡ɕáːŋ/,

/máj.sát/

Lanna Khuen tone 3.svg
ᨾᩱ᩶​ᨠᩳ​ᩉ᩠ᨶᩮᩬᩥᩋ[20] mai ko nuea /máj.kɔ̌.nɯa̯/ Invented for Khuen language, shape like vowel sign -ᩳ (mai ko).[19]
Lanna Khuen tone 4.svg
ᨾᩱ᩶​ᩈᩬᨦᩉ᩠ᨶᩮᩬᩥᩋ[20] mai song nuea /máj.sɔ̌ːŋ.nɯa̯/ Invented for Khuen language, shape like ᪂​ (Hora digit 2).[19]
Lanna Khuen tone 5.svg
ᨾᩱ᩶​ᩈᩣ᩠ᨾ​ᩉ᩠ᨶᩮᩬᩥᩋ[20] mai sam nuea /máj.sǎːm.nɯa̯/ Invented for Khuen language, shape like ᪃ (Hora digit 3).[19]
Lanna Lao tone 4.svg
- - - Borrowed from Thai script "Mai Chattawa" into Khuen language.
Interchangeable with mai song nuea.[19]
Lanna Khuen tone 2.svg
- - - Borrowed from Thai script "Mai Tho" into Khuen language.
Interchangeable with mai sam nuea.[19]

Numerals

Lanna has two sets of numerals. The first set, Lek Nai Tham, is reserved for liturgical purposes. The other set, Lek Hora, is used in everyday life.[21]

Arabic numerals 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Hora digits
Tham digits
Thai numerals
Lao numerals
Burmese numerals
Khmer numerals

Relation with other scripts

Tai Tham is very similar in shape to Burmese script since both are derived from Old Mon script. New Tai Lue is a descendant of Tai Tham with its shape simplified and many consonants are removed. Thai script looks distinctive to Tai Tham but covers all equivalent consonants including the 8 additional consonants as Thai is the closest sister language to Northern Thai, Khuen, and Lue languages. A variation of Thai script (Sukhothai script) called Fakkham script was also used in Lan Na to write Northern Thai, Khuen, and Lue during the 14th century, influencing the development of the modern Tai Tham script.[22][4]

Group Tai Tham Burmese New Tai Lue Khmer Thai Lao
Unicode Lanna style
1. Wak Ka
Lanna-1.png
က
Lanna-2.png
Lanna-3.png
 –  –  –  –
Lanna-4.png
Lanna-5.png
 –  –  –
Lanna-6.png
 –
Lao-Pali-gh.png

(modern: ຄ)

Lanna-7.png
2. Wak Ja
Lanna-8.png
Lanna-9.png
 –
Lao-Pali-ch.png

(modern: ສ)

Lanna-10.png
Lanna-11.png
 –  –  –
Lanna-12.png
 –
Lao-Pali-jh.png

(modern: ຊ)

Lanna-13.png
 –
Lao-Pali-ny.png

(modern: ຍ)

3. Wak Rata
Lanna-14.png
 –
Lao-Pali-T.png

(modern: ຕ)

Lanna-15.png
 –
Lao-Pali-Th.png

(modern: ຖ)

Lanna-17.png
ฑ, ฎ, ด
Lao-Pali-D.png

(modern: ທ, ດ)

Lanna-15-5.png
 –
Lao-Pali-Dh.png

(modern: ທ)

Lanna-16.png
 –
Lao-Pali-N.png

(modern: ນ)

4. Wak Ta
Lanna-18.png
Lanna-19.png
Lanna-20.png
Lanna-21.png
Lao-Pali-dh.png

(modern: ທ)

Lanna-22.png
5. Wak Pa
Lanna-23.png
Lanna-24.png
 –  –
Lanna-25.png
Lanna-26.png
 –  –
Lanna-27.png
Lanna-28.png
 –  –
Lanna-29.png
Lao-Pali-bh.png

(modern: ພ)

Lanna-30.png
6. Awak ᨿ
Lanna-31.png
Lanna-44.png
 –  – อย
Lanna-32.png

(modern: ລ)

Lanna-33.png
Lanna-34.png
Lanna-35.png

(modern: သ)

 –

(modern: ស)

Lao-Sanskrit-sh.png

(modern: ສ)

Lanna-36.png

(modern: သ)

 –

(modern: ស)

Lao-Sanskrit-S.png

(modern: ສ)

Lanna-37.png
Lanna-38.png
Lanna-39.png
 –
Lao-Pali-L.png

(modern: ລ)

Lanna-40.png
Lanna-41.png
 –  –  –
7. Special
Lanna-42.png
 –  –
Lanna-43.png
 –  –

Sanskrit and Pali

The Tai Tham script (like all Indic scripts) uses a number of modifications to write Pali and related languages (in particular, Sanskrit). When writing Pali, only 33 consonants and 12 vowels are used.

Pali consonants in Tai Tham script

Voiceless plosive Voiced plosive Nasal Approximant Frictive
Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Central Lateral
Velar
Lanna-1.png

[ka]

Lanna-2.png

[kha]

Lanna-4.png

[ga]

Lanna-6.png

[gha]

Lanna-7.png

[ṅa]

Palatal
Lanna-8.png

[ca]

Lanna-9.png

[cha]

Lanna-10.png

[ja]

Lanna-12.png

[jha]

Lanna-13.png

[ña]

Lanna-31.png

[ya]

Retroflex
Lanna-14.png

[ṭa]

Lanna-15.png

[ṭha]

Lanna-17.png

[ḍa]

Lanna-15-5.png

[ḍha]

Lanna-16.png

[ṇa]

Lanna-32.png

[ra]

Lanna-39.png

[ḷa]

Dental
Lanna-18.png

[ta]

Lanna-19.png

[tha]

Lanna-20.png

[da]

Lanna-21.png

[dha]

Lanna-22.png

[na]

Lanna-33.png

[la]

Lanna-37.png

[sa]

Labial
Lanna-23.png

[pa]

Lanna-25.png

[pha]

Lanna-27.png

[ba]

Lanna-29.png

[bha]

Lanna-30.png

[ma]

Lanna-34.png

[va]

Glottal
Lanna-38.png

[ha]

Sanskrit consonants in Tai Tham script

Phonetics → Plosive Nasal Approximant Frictive
Voicing → Voiceless Voiced Voiced Voiced Voiceless
Aspiration → Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Aspirated Unaspirated Unaspirated Aspirated
Guttural
Lanna-1.png

[ka]

Lanna-2.png

[kha]

Lanna-4.png

[ga]

Lanna-6.png

[gha]

Lanna-7.png

[ṅa]

Lanna-38.png

[ha]

Palatal
Lanna-8.png

[ca]

Lanna-9.png

[cha]

Lanna-10.png

[ja]

Lanna-12.png

[jha]

Lanna-13.png

[ña]

Lanna-31.png

[ya]

Lanna-35.png

[śa]

Retroflex
Lanna-14.png

[ṭa]

Lanna-15.png

[ṭha]

Lanna-17.png

[ḍa]

Lanna-15-5.png

[ḍha]

Lanna-16.png

[ṇa]

Lanna-32.png

[ra]

Lanna-36.png

[ṣa]

Dental
Lanna-18.png

[ta]

Lanna-19.png

[tha]

Lanna-20.png

[da]

Lanna-21.png

[dha]

Lanna-22.png

[na]

Lanna-33.png

[la]

Lanna-37.png

[sa]

Labial
Lanna-23.png

[pa]

Lanna-25.png

[pha]

Lanna-27.png

[ba]

Lanna-29.png

[bha]

Lanna-30.png

[ma]

Lanna-34.png

[va]

Unicode block

Tai Tham script was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2.

Main article: Tai Tham (Unicode block)

The Unicode block for Tai Tham is U+1A20–U+1AAF:

Tai Tham[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+1A2x
U+1A3x ᨿ
U+1A4x
U+1A5x  ᩖ  ᩘ  ᩙ  ᩚ  ᩛ  ᩜ  ᩝ  ᩞ
U+1A6x   ᩠   ᩢ  ᩥ  ᩦ  ᩧ  ᩨ  ᩩ  ᩪ  ᩫ  ᩬ
U+1A7x  ᩳ  ᩴ  ᩵  ᩶  ᩷  ᩸  ᩹  ᩺  ᩻  ᩼  ᩿
U+1A8x
U+1A9x
U+1AAx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Fonts

Lanna Alif vs Lanna Unicode UI
Lanna Alif vs Lanna Unicode UI

Supports for Tai Tham Unicode font in Microsoft Windows and Microsoft office are still limited[23] causing the widespread use of non-Unicode fonts. Fonts published by the Royal Society of Thailand and Chiang Mai University are also non-Unicode due to this problem and to maximize the ability to transcribe and display the ancient Tai Tham text, which frequently contains various special ligatures and symbols not supported by Unicode.[24][25] Non-Unicode fonts often use a combination of Thai script and Latin Unicode ranges to resolves the incompatibility problem of Unicode Tai Tham in Microsoft office. However, these fonts may encounter a display problem when used on web browsers as the text can be encoded as an unintelligible Thai text instead. In recent years, many Tai Tham Unicode fonts have been developed for web display and communications via smart phones. Google's Noto Sans Tai Tham becomes the default font for Tai Tham on Mac OS and iOS.[26] However, the current version of this font still fails to display Tai Tham text correctly. The table below gives a list of publicly available Tai Tham fonts.

Font name Supports Script Style Font family Publisher

(with page link)

Unicode[a] Non-Unicode[b]
A Tai Tham KH New V3 Yes No Khün Sans-serif Arloka
A Tai Tham LN Yes No Lanna Serif Arloka
Chiangsaen Alif Yes No Lanna Sans-serif Alif Silapachai
CR Insom Lanna Yes Yes Lanna Serif Worawut Thanawatanawanich
Hariphunchai Yes No Lanna Serif TragerStudio, Richard Wordingham
Kotthabun Yes No Lao Tham Serif Theppitak Karoonboonyanan
Lanna Alif Yes No Lanna Sans-serif Alif Silapachai
Lamphun Yes No Lanna Serif Richard Wordingham
LN Mon Saen No Yes Khün Serif Chiang Mai University (page link), Pichai Saengboon
LN Tilok No Yes Lanna Serif Chiang Mai University (page link), Pichai Saengboon
LN Wat Inda No Yes Khün Serif Chiang Mai University (page link), Pichai Saengboon
Noto Sans Tai Tham Yes No Khün Sans-serif Google Fonts
Pali-Kotthabun Pali only Yes Lao Tham Serif Worawut Thanawatanawanich, Theppitak Karoonboonyanan
Pali-Tilok Pali only Yes Lanna Serif Worawut Thanawatanawanich, Pichai Saengboon
RST-ISAN No Yes Lao Tham Serif Royal Society of Thailand (page link)
RST-LANNA No Yes Lanna Serif Royal Society of Thailand (page link)
VS Tham Lanxang Yes Yes Lao Tham Serif Worawut Thanawatanawanich
Note
  1. ^ Not supported by Microsoft Office.
  2. ^ Using Thai Unicode block, suitable for Microsoft Office.

References

  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 Prongthura, Naiyana (1982). Dhamma script of Northern Thailand (อักษรธรรมลานนา) (Thesis) (in Thai). Bangkok: Silapakorn University.
  5. ^ a b Everson, Michael, Hosken, Martin, & Constable, Peter. (2007). Revised proposal for encoding the Lanna script in the BMP of the UCS.
  6. ^ Natnapang Burutphakdee (October 2004). Khon Muang Neu Kap Phasa Muang [Attitudes of Northern Thai Youth towards Kammuang and the Lanna Script] (PDF) (M.A. Thesis). Presented at 4th National Symposium on Graduate Research, Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 10–11, 2004. Asst. Prof. Dr. Kirk R. Person, adviser. Chiang Mai: Payap University. P. 7, digital image 30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-05. Retrieved June 8, 2013. The reason why they called this language ‘Kammuang’ is because they used this language in the towns where they lived together, which were surrounded by mountainous areas where there were many hill tribe people.
  7. ^ Hundius, Harald; Wharton, David (2010). "The Digital Library of Lao Manuscripts". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Iijima, Akiko (2009-03-31). "Preliminary Notes on "the Cultural Region of Tham Script Manuscripts"". Senri Ethnological Studies. 74. doi:10.15021/00002574. S2CID 160928923.
  9. ^ a b ธวัช ปุณโณทก (Punnothek, T.) อักษรโบราณอีสาน: อักขรวิทยาอักษรตัวธรรมและไทยน้อย. กรุงเทพฯ: สยามเพรส แมเนจเม้นท์, ๒๕๔๐, ๕๔
  10. ^ a b c McDaniel, J. (2005). Notes on the lao influence on northern thai buddhist literature. The literary heritage of Laos: Preservation, dissemination, and research perspectives. Vientiane, Laos: Lao National Archives.
  11. ^ Chew, P., Saengboon, P., & Wordingham, R. (2015). "Tai Tham: A Hybrid Script that Challenges Current Encoding Models". Presented at the Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC 39).
  12. ^ a b The Lanna Dictionary (in Thai). Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai Rajabhat University. 2007. pp. 305–314. ISBN 9789747793567.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Rungruangsri, Udom (2004). พจนานุกรมล้านนา-ไทย ฉบับแม่ฟ้าหลวง (in Thai) (Revised ed.). Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai University. ISBN 9789746851756.
  14. ^ Watcharasastr, Boonkid (2005). แบบเรียนภาษาเมืองล้านนา ᨷᩯ᩠ᨷᩁ᩠ᨿᩁᨽᩣᩇᩣᨾᩮᩬᩨᨦᩃ᩶ᩣ᩠ᨶᨶᩣ (in Thai). Chiang Mai: Thara Thong Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 9748547205.
  15. ^ Everson, Michael; Hosken, Martin; Constable, Peter (March 21, 2007). "Lanna Unicode: A Proposal" (PDF). Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  16. ^ Burutphakdee, Natnapang (October 2004). "Khon Muang Neu Kap Phasa Muang: Attitudes of Northern Thai Youth towards Kammuang and the Lanna Script" (PDF). SIL International. pp. 32–61. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2015.
  17. ^ Watcharasastr, Boonkid (2005). แบบเรียนภาษาเมืองล้านนา ᨷᩯ᩠ᨷᩁ᩠ᨿᩁᨽᩣᩇᩣᨾᩮᩬᩨᨦᩃ᩶ᩣ᩠ᨶᨶᩣ (in Thai). Chiang Mai: Thara Thong Publishing. p. 178. ISBN 9748547205.
  18. ^ Watcharasastr, Boonkid (2005). แบบเรียนภาษาเมืองล้านนา ᨷᩯ᩠ᨷᩁ᩠ᨿᩁᨽᩣᩇᩣᨾᩮᩬᩨᨦᩃ᩶ᩣ᩠ᨶᨶᩣ (in Thai). Chiang Mai: Thara Thong Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 9748547205.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Owen, R. Wyn (2017). "A description and linguistic analysis of the Tai Khuen writing system". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. 10.1: 140–164. hdl:10524/52403.
  20. ^ a b c Buddhism Summer Curriculum Level 1 Book 2 (ᩉᩖᩢᨠᩈᩪᨲ᩠ᨲ᩼ᨻᩕᨻᩩᨴ᩠ᨵᩈᩣᩈᨶᩣᨽᩣ᩠ᨣᩁᩬ᩶ᩁ ᨩᩢ᩠᩶ᨶ ᪑ ᩃᩮ᩠᩵ᨾ ᪒). Vol. 2. Bangkok: Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University Press. 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  21. ^ Omniglot. Lanna alphabet (Tua Mueang). Retrieved 28 April 2019
  22. ^ Vimonkasam, Kannika (1981). Fakkham script found in Northern Thai inscriptions (อักษรฝักขามที่พบในศิลาจารึกภาคเหนือ) (Thesis) (in Thai). Bangkok: Silapakorn University.
  23. ^ "Creating and supporting OpenType fonts for the Universal Shaping Engine". Microsoft technical documentation. 16 June 2022. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  24. ^ "Lanna Fonts (ฟอนต์ล้านนา)". The Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, Chiang Mai University. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  25. ^ "Six fonts for ancient scripts (ชุดแบบอักษรหรือฟอนต์อักษรโบราณ ๖ ชุด)". The Royal Society of Thailand. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  26. ^ "System Fonts". Apple Developer. Retrieved 5 August 2022.

Further reading