Khowar alphabet

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Khowar
Type
Abjad
Languages Khowar, Balti, Burushaski, others
Time period
??
Parent systems

[1]
[2]
[3]

[4]

The Khowar alphabet is the right-to-left alphabet used for the Khowar language. It is a modification of the Urdu alphabet, which is itself a derivative of the Persian alphabet and Arabic alphabet. According to the Khowar Academy with 60 letters, the Khowar alphabet is typically written in the calligraphic Nasta'liq script, whereas Arabic is more commonly in the Naskh style. Usually, bare transliterations of Khowar into Roman letters omit many phonemic elements that have no equivalent in English or other languages commonly written in the Latin script. The Khowar Academy of Pakistan has developed a number of systems with specific notations to signify non-English sounds, but these can only be properly read by someone already familiar with Khowar, Persian, or Arabic for letters such as:ژ خ غ ط ص or ق and Hindi for letters such as ڑ.

History[edit]

Chitral-Vision Urdu and Khowar language Newspaper
File:Allam Iqbal’s poetry’s versified khowar translation by Rahmat Aziz Chitrali
Khowar-Alphabets created by Rehmat Aziz Chitrali

The Khowar language developed during the rule of Mehtar of Chitral State. Despite the invention of the Khowar typewriter in 1996 by Rehmat Aziz Chitrali, Khowar newsletters and newspapers continued to be published from handwritten scripts by the Khowar authors until the late 1996s. The Montly Zhang is the first newsletter was the first Khowar newspaper to use Nasta’liq computer-based composition. There are efforts under way to develop more sophisticated and user-friendly Khowar support on computers and the internet. Nowadays, nearly all Khowar newspapers, magazines, journals, and periodicals are composed on computers via various Khowar software programs.

Nasta'liq[edit]

The Nasta'liq calligraphic writing style began as a Persian mixture of scripts Naskh and Ta'liq. Nasta'liq is more cursive and flowing than its Naskh counterpart.

Alphabet[edit]

A list of the letters of the Khowar alphabet and their pronunciation is given below. Khowar contains many historical spellings from Arabic and Persian, and therefore has many irregularities. The Arabic letters yaa and haa both have two variants in Khowar: one of the yaa variants is used at the ends of words for the sound [i], and one of the haa variants is used to indicate the aspirated consonants. The retroflex consonants needed to be added as well; this was accomplished by placing a superscript ط (to'e) above the corresponding dental consonants. Several letters which represent distinct consonants in Arabic are conflated in Persian, and this has carried over to Khowar. Some of the original Arabic letters are not used in Khowar. This is the list of the Khowar letters created by Rehmat Aziz Chitrali, giving the consonant pronunciation. Many of these letters also represent vowel sounds.

Letter Name of letter Transcription IPA
ا alif a /a/
alif long aa /aa/
أ alif hamza a /a/
ب be b /b/
پ pe p /p/
ت te t /t̪/
ټ te t /t̪/
ٹ ṭe /ʈ/
ث se s /s/
ج jīm j /d͡ʒ/
چ che ch /t͡ʃ/
ح baṛī he h /h/
خ khe kh /x/
څ tse ts /t͡s/
ځ dze dze /d͡z/
ڇ ce e /tʂ/
ڂ ce ce /dʐ/
د dāl d /d̪/
ڈ ḍāl /ɖ/
ذ zāl dh /z/
ر re r /r/
ڑ ṛe /ɽ/
ز ze z /z/
ژ zhe zh /ʒ/
zhe ẓh /ʐ/
س sīn s /s/
ش shīn sh /ʃ/
shīn ṣh /ʂ/
ص su'ād /s/
ض zu'ād /z/
ط to'e t /t/
ظ zo'e /z/
ع ‘ain ' -
غ ghain gh /ɣ/
ڠ ghain gh /ɣ/
ف fe f /f/
ق qāf q /q/
ڨ qāf q /q/
ک kāf k /k/
گ gāf g /ɡ/
ل lām l /l/
ڵ lām l /l/
م mīm m /m/
ن nūn n /n/
ں nūn n //
نگ ng ng /ŋ/
ڼ nūn /ɳ/
و vā'o v, o, or ū /ʋ/, /oː/, /ɔ/ or /uː/
ؤ vā'o hamza v, o, or ū /ʋ/
ۇ vā'o pesh v, o, or ū /ʋ/
ہ, ﮩ, ﮨ choṭī he h /h/
ۃ choṭī he with te h /h/
ھ do chashmī he h /ʰ/
ء hamza ' /ʔ/
ی ye y, i /j/ or /iː/
ئ ye hamza y, i /j/ or /iː/
khowar ye y, i /j/ or /iː/
ے bari ye ai or e /ɛː/, or /eː/
ۓ ye hamza y, i /j/ or /iː/

Vowels[edit]

Vowels in Khowar are represented by letters that are also considered consonants. Many vowel sounds can be represented by one letter. Confusion can arise, but context is usually enough to figure out the correct sound.

Vowel chart[edit]

This is a list of Khowar vowels found in the initial, medial, and final positions.

Romanization Pronunciation Final Medial Initial
a /ə/ Zabar-malplena.svg Zabar-malplena.svg AlifZabar-komenca-malplena.svg
ā /ɑː/ Alif-fina-malplena.svg Alif-meza-malplena.svg AlifMadd-komenca-malplena.svg
i /ɪ/ Zer-malplena.svg AlifZer-komenca-malplena.svg
ī /iː/ CHoTTiiYe-fina-malplena.svg CHoTTiiYe-meza-malplena.svg CHoTTiiYe-komenca-malplena.svg
u /ʊ/ Pesh-malplena.svg Pesh-malplena.svg AlifPesh-komenca-malplena.svg
ū /uː/ VaaoUlTTaapesh-fina-malplena.svg VaaoPesh-meza-malplena.svg AlifVaao-komenca-malplena.svg
e /eː/ BaRRiiYe-fina-malplena.svg CHoTTiiYe-meza-malplena.svg AlifCHoTTiiYe-komenca-malplena.svg
ai /ɛ/ BaRRiiYeZabar-fina-malplena.svg CHoTTiiYe-meza-malplena.svg CHoTTiiYe-komenca-malplena.svg
o /oː/ Vaao-fina-malplena.svg Vaao-meza-malplena.svg AlifVaao-komenca-malplena.svg
au /ɔ/ VaaoZabar-fina-malplena.svg VaaoZabar-meza-malplena.svg AlifZabarVaao-komenca-malplena.svg

Short vowels[edit]

Short vowels ("a", "i", "u") are represented by marks above and below a consonant.

Vowel Name Transcription IPA
بَ zabar ba /ə/
بِ zer bi /ɪ/
بُ pesh bu /ʊ/

Alif[edit]

Alif (ا) is the first letter of the Khowar alphabet, and it is used exclusively as a vowel. At the beginning of a word, alif can be used to represent any of the short vowels, e.g. ابدار abdar, اسم ism, اردو Urdu. Also at the beginning, an alif (ا) followed by either wā'o (و) or ye (ی) represents a long vowel sound. However, wā'o (و) or ye (ی) alone at the beginning represents a consonant.

Alif also has a variant, call alif madd (آ). It is used to represent a long "ā" at the beginning of a word, e.g. آپک āpak, آدیمزاد ādmzaad. At the middle or end of a word, long ā is represented simply by alif (ا), e.g. باغ bāgh, آرام ārām.

Wā'o[edit]

Wā'o is used to render the vowels "ū", "o", and "au". It also renders the consonants "w" and 'v', but many people get confused between these two sounds.

Ye[edit]

Ye is divided into two variants: choṭī ye and baṛi ye.

Choṭī ye (ی) is written in all forms exactly as in Persian. It is used for the long vowel "ī" and the consonant "y".

Baṛī ye (ے) is used to render the vowels "e" and "ai" (/eː/ and /æː/ respectively). Baṛī ye is distinguished in writing from choṭī ye only when it comes at the end of a word.

Use of specific letters[edit]

Retroflex letters[edit]

Retroflex consonants were not present in the Persian alphabet, and therefore had to be created specifically for Khowar. This was accomplished by placing a superscript ط (to'e) above the corresponding dental consonants.

Letter Name IPA
ٹ ṭe [ʈ]
ڈ ḍāl [ɖ]
ڑ aṛ [ɽ]

Do chashmī he[edit]

The letter do chashmī he (ھ) is used in native Hindustānī words, for aspiration of certain consonants. The aspirated consonants are sometimes classified as separate letters, although it takes two characters to represent them.

Transcription IPA
بھ bhe [bʱ ː]
پھ phe [pʰ ː]
تھ the [t̪ʰ ː]
ٹھ ṭhe [ʈʰ ː]
جھ jhe [d͡ʒʱeː]
چھ che [t͡ʃʰeː]
دھ dhe [dʱ ː]
ڈھ ḍhe [ɖʱ ː]
ڑھ ṛhe [ɽʱeː]
کھ khe [kʰeː]
گھ ghe [ɡʱeː]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]