Balinese alphabet

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Aksara Bali
Aksara Bali1.png
Languages Balinese
Time period
c. 1000–present
Parent systems
Sister systems
Old Sundanese
ISO 15924 Bali, 360
Direction Left-to-right
Unicode alias

The Balinese script, natively known as Aksara Bali and Hanacaraka, is an abugida used in the island of Bali, Indonesia, commonly for writing the Austronesian Balinese language, Old Javanese, and the liturgical language Sanskrit. With some modifications, the script is also used to write the Sasak language, used in the neighboring island of Lombok.[1] The script is a descendant of the Brahmi script, and so has many similarities with the modern scripts of South and Southeast Asia. The Balinese script, along with the Javanese script, is considered the most elaborate and ornate among Brahmic scripts of Southeast Asia.[2]

Though everyday use of the script has largely been supplanted by the Latin alphabet, the Balinese script has significant prevalence in many of the island's traditional ceremonies and is strongly associated with the Hindu religion. The script is mainly used today for copying lontar or palm leaf manuscripts containing religious texts.[2][3]


There are 47 letters in the Balinese script, each representing a syllable with inherent vowel /a/ or/ə/ at the end of a sentence, which changes depending on the diacritics around the letter. Pure Balinese can be written with 18 consonant letters and 9 vowel letters, while Sanskrit transliteration or loan words from Sanskrit and Old Javanese utilizes the full set. A set of modified letters are also used for writing the Sasak language. Each consonant has a conjunct form called gantungan which nullifies the inherent vowel of the previous syllable.[4][5]

Punctuation includes a comma, period, colon, as well as marks to introduce and end section of a text. Musical notation uses letter-like symbols and diacritical marks in order to indicate metrical information. Text are written left to right without word boundaries (Scriptio continua).[1]

There is also a set of "holy letters" called aksara modre which appears in religious texts and protective talismans. Most of them are constructed using diacritic ulu candra with corresponding characters. A number of additional characters, known to be used inline in text (as opposed to decoratively on drawings), remains under study and those characters are expected to be proposed as Balinese extensions in due course.[1]


A basic letter in Balinese is called aksara (ᬅᬓ᭄ᬱᬭ), and each letter stands for a syllable with inherent vowel /a/.


Consonants are called wianjana (ᬯ᭄ᬬᬦ᭄ᬚᬓ), and there are 33 consonants letters in Balinese, though only 18 called wreṣāstra (ᬯᬺᬱᬵᬲ᭄ᬢ᭄ᬭ) are used for writing the Balinese language. The rest are mainly used for writing Sanskrit and Kawi loanwords.

Wyanjana (Consonants)
Plosive Velar Palatal Retroflex Dental Labial Glottal
Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc.
Bali Ka.png ka ka Bali Ca.png tʃa ca Bali Ta latik.png ʈa ṭa Bali Ta.png ta ta Bali Pa.png pa pa
Bali Ka mahaprana.png kʰa kha Bali Ca laca.png tʃʰa cha Bali Ta latik mahaprana.png ʈʰa ṭha Bali Ta tawa.png tʰa tha Bali 8, Pha.png pʰa pha
Bali Ga.png ga ga Bali Ja.png dʒɑ ja Bali Da madu.png ɖa ḍa Bali Da.png da da Bali Ba.png ba ba
Bali Ga gora.png gʰa gha Bali Ja jera.png dʒʰɑ jha Bali Da murda mahaprana.png ɖʰa ḍha Bali Da madu murdhanya.png dʰa dha Bali Ba kembang1.pngorBali Ba kembang2.png bʰa bha
Nasal Bali Nga.png ŋa nga Bali Nya.png ɲa nya Bali Na rambat.png ɳa ṇa Bali Na.png na na Bali Ma.png ma ma
Semivowel Bali Wa.png ʋa wa Bali Ya.png ja ya
Liquid Bali Ra.png ra ra Bali La.png la la
Fricative Bali Sa saga.png ɕa śa Bali Sa sapa.png ʂa ṣa Bali Sa.png sa sa Bali Ha.png ha ha


Vowels, called suara (ᬲ᭄ᬯᬭ), can be written as independent letters when vowels appear in initial position. They are described in the following list:

Swara (Vowels)
Short Aksara Bali vowel A kara.png Bali vowel I kara.png Bali vowel U kara.png Bali vowel Ra repa.png Bali 2-vowel La lenga.png Bali 6-vowel E kara.png Bali 3-vowel O.png
IPA a i u ɽ e o
Transcription a i u e o
Long Aksara Bali vowel A kara-tedung.png Bali vowel I kara-tedung.png Bali vowel U kara-tedung.png Bali vowel Ra repa-tedung.png Bali vowel La lenga-tedung.png Bali vowel Airsanya.png Bali vowel O kara-tedung.png
IPA ɽː l̪ː aːɪ aːʊ
Transcription ā ī ū ai au


Adeg-adeg may not used in the middle of a sentence, so gantungan (appended letters) has to be used to kill the vowel of a consonant letter in such case. Each consonant letter has a corresponding gantungan form, and the gantungan eliminates the inherent vowel /a/ of the letter it is appended to. For example, if the letter na is appended with gantungan da, the pronunciation becomes nda.

Gantungan and pangangge (diacritic) can be applied together to a letter. However, attaching two or more gantungan to one letter is forbidden; this condition is known as tumpuk telu (three layers). Adeg-adeg may be used in the middle of a sentence to avoid such situation.[6]

The forms of gantungan are as follows:

Plosive Velar Palatal Retroflex Dental Labial Glottal
Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc. Aksara IPA Transc.
Gantungan Ka.png ka ka Gantungan Ca.png tʃa ca Gantungan Ta latik.png ʈa ṭa Gantungan Ta.png ta ta Gempelan Pa.png pa pa
Gantungan Ka mahaprana.png kʰa kha Gantungan Ca laca.png tʃʰa cha Gantungan Ta latik mahaprana.png ʈʰa ṭha Gantungan Ta tawa.png tʰa tha Gantungan Pa kapal.png pʰa pha
Gantungan Ga.png ga ga Gantungan Ja.png dʒɑ ja Gantungan Da madu.png ɖa ḍa Gantungan Da.png da da Gantungan Ba.png ba ba
Gantungan Ga gora.png gʰa gha Gantungan Ja jera.png dʒʰɑ jha Gantungan da madu alpaprana.png ɖʰa ḍha Gantungan Da madu murdhanya.png dʰa dha Gantungan Ba kembang.png bʰa bha
Nasal Gantungan Nga.png ŋa nga Gantungan Nya.png ɲa nya Gantungan Na rambat.png ɳa ṇa Gantungan Na.png na na Gantungan Ma.png ma ma
Semivowel Pangangge Suku kembung.png wa wa Pangangge Nania.png ja ya
Liquid Pangangge Cakra.png ra ra Gantungan La.png la la
Fricative Gantungan Sa saga.png ɕa śa Gempelan Sa sapa.png ʂa ṣa Gempelan Sa danti.png sa sa Gantungan Ha.png ha ha


Diacritics (pangangge, pronounced /pəŋaŋɡe/, also known as sandhangan when referring to the Javanese script) are symbols that cannot stand by itself. When they are attached to the independent letters, they affect the pronunciation. The three types of diacritics are pangangge suara, pangangge tengenan (pronounced /t̪əŋənan/) and pangangge aksara.

Pangangge suara[edit]

If a consonant letter is embellished with a pangangge suara, its vowel is changed. For example, the letter na with ulu becomes ni; ka with suku becomes ku. The diacritics in this category is summarized in the following list:

Pangangge Swara (Vowel Diacritic)
Short Pangangge - Pangangge Ulu.png Pangangge Suku.png Pangangge Guwung macelek.png Gantungan La lenga.png Pangangge Taling.png Pangangge Taling-tedung.png Pangangge Pepet.png
IPA a i u ɽ e o ə
Transcription a i u é o e
Long Pangangge Pangangge Tedung.png Pangangge Ulu sari.png Pangangge Suku ilut.png Pangangge Guwung macelek-tedung.png Gantungan La lenga-tedung.png Pangangge Taling detya.png Pangangge Taling detya-tedung.png
IPA ɽː l̪ː aːɪ aːʊ
Transcription ā ī ū ai au

Many consonants can form ligatures with tedung:

Aksara Bali polih tedung.png

Pangangge tengenan[edit]

Pangangge tengenan, except adeg-adeg, adds a final consonant to a syllable. It can be used together with pangangge suara. For example, the letter na with bisah becomes nah; ka with suku and surang becomes kur. Adeg-adeg kills the inherent vowel /a/ in the consonant letter. Compared to Devanagari, bisah is analogous to visarga, cecek to anusvara, and adeg-adeg to virama.

Symbol Pronunciation Name
Pangangge Bisah.png
/h/ Bisah
Pangangge Surang.png
/r/ Surang
Pangangge Cecek.png
/ŋ/ Cecek
Pangangge Adeg-adeg.png
- Adeg-adeg

Pangangge aksara[edit]

Pangangge aksara is appended below consonant letters. Pangangge aksara are the appended (gantungan) forms of the ardhasuara (semivowel) consonants. Guwung macelek is the appended form of the vowel ra repa.

Symbol Pronunciation Name
Pangangge Cakra.png
/ra/ Cakra/Guwung
Pangangge Guwung macelek.png
/rə/ Guwung macelek
Pangangge Suku kembung.png
/ʋa/ Suku kembung
Pangangge Nania.png
/ja/ Nania


Balinese numeral Hindu numeral Name Balinese numeral Hindu numeral Name
Bali 0.png
0 Bindu/Windu
Bali 5.png
5 Lima
Bali 1.png
1 Siki/Besik
Bali 6-vowel E kara.png
6 Nem
Bali 2-vowel La lenga.png
2 Kalih/Dua
Bali 7.png
7 Pitu
Bali 3-vowel O.png
3 Tiga/Telu
Bali 8, Pha.png
8 Kutus
Bali 4.png
4 Papat
Bali 9.png
9 Sanga/Sia

Balinese numerals are written in the same manner as Hindu numerals. For example, 25 is written with the Balinese numbers 2 and 5. If the number is written in the middle of a text, carik has to be written before and after the number to differentiate it from the text. Below is an example of how a date is written using Balinese numerals (date: 1 July 1982, location: Bali):

Balinese script Transliteration
Bali, 1 Juli 1982.
Bali, 1 Juli 1982.

Other symbols[edit]

There are some special symbols in the Balinese script. Some of them are punctuation marks, and the others are religious symbols. The symbols are described in the following list:

Symbol Name Remarks
Punctuation Carik.png
Carik or Carik Siki. Written in the middle of a sentence, like a comma (,). Also, written surrounding numerals to differentiate them from the text.
Punctuation Carik kalih.png
Carik Kalih or Carik Pareren Written at the end of a sentence, like a full stop (.).
Punctuation Pamungkah.png
Carik pamungkah Functions like a colon (:).
Center Pasalinan Used at the end of a prose, letter, or verse.
Punctuation Panti.png
Panten or Panti Used at the beginning of a prose, letter, or verse.
Punctuation Pamada.png
Pamada Used at the beginning of religious texts. This symbol is a ligature of the letters ma, nga, ja, and pa, forming the word mangajapa, which roughly means "praying for safety".
Modre symbol Omkara.png
Ongkara Sacred symbol of Hinduism. This symbol is pronounced "Ong" or "Om".

Don Dapdape


Balinese script was added to the Unicode Standard in July, 2006 with the release of version 5.0.

The Unicode block for Balinese is U+1B00 ... U+1B7F. Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points.

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1B3x ᬿ
1.^ As of Unicode version 7.0



  1. ^ a b c Everson, Michael; Suatjana, I Made (2005). Proposal for encoding the Balinese script in the UCS.
  2. ^ a b Kuipers, Joel (2003). Indic Scripts of Insular Southeast Asia: Changing Structures and Functions. Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
  3. ^ Fox, Richard (2013). Rival Styles of Writing, Rival Styles of Practical Reasoning. Heidelberg: Institut für Ehtnologie.
  4. ^ Ida Bagus Adi Sudewa (14 May 2003). "The Balinese Alphabet, v0.6". Yayasan Bali Galang. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Richard Ishida (2012). "Balinese Script Notes". Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Tinggen, p. 27


  • Tinggen, I Nengah. 1993. Pedoman Perubahan Ejaan Bahasa Bali dengan Huruf Latin dan Huruf Bali. Singaraja: UD. Rikha.
  • Surada, I Made. 2007. Kamus Sanskerta-Indonesia. Surabaya: Penerbit Paramitha.
  • Simpen, I Wayan. Pasang Aksara Bali. Diterbitkan oleh Dinas Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Provinsi Daerah Tingkat I Bali.

External links[edit]