Meitei script

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Meetei Mayek
ꯃꯤꯇꯩ ꯃꯌꯦꯛ
Meithei manuscript, a Indian language.jpg
Type
abugida
Languages Meitei language
Direction Left-to-right
ISO 15924 Mtei, 337
Unicode alias
Meetei Mayek

The Meitei script, Meetei Mayek, is an abugida that was used for the Meitei language, one of the official languages of the Indian state of Manipur, until the eighteenth century, when it was replaced by the Bengali script. A few manuscripts survive. In the twentieth century, the script experienced a resurgence.

Since Meitei does not have voiced consonants, there are only fifteen consonant letters used for native words, plus three letters for pure vowels. Nine additional consonant letters inherited from the Indic languages are available for borrowings. There are seven vowel diacritics and a final consonant (/ŋ/) diacritic.

One of the unique feature of this script is the use of body parts in naming the letters. Every letter is named after a human body part in the Meitei language. For example, the first letter "kok" means "head"; the second letter "sam" means "hair"; the third letter "lai" means "forehead", and so on. This is corroborated from the holybook "Wakoklol Heelel Theelel Salai Amailol Pukok Puya", which dealts on how each scripts originated and got the nomenclature viz "Kok"... etc based on creation of universe and cosmos. The another form of script still exist which retains Bengali influence and follows Bengali styles of sound system viz "ko","kho","Go" and so on. This script is known as "Meitei Mayek 36 including Anji", a replica of Bengali script and sound system. This "Meitei Script" lost its popularity and replaced by indigenous "Meitei Script" which does not follow Bengali styles in writing and sound system.

History[edit]

The Meitei script has been used since ancient times.[1]. Have been using Bengali Script from early 18th century over a period of decades now[2]. And after the revival of the Meitei Mayek, slowly the Meitei Mayek is replacing the Bengali Script.[3]

Historically, its difficult to trace the exact period of the origin of the Meitei Mayek as the vital documents of the Puyas of Kangleipak Kingdom had been burnt down during the reign of King Pamheiba[4] in early 18th century. However, the earliest use of the Meitei Mayek is dated between 11th and 12th centuries AD[5]. A stone inscription found at Khoibu in Tengnoupal district, of current Manipur state, contains royal edicts of King Kiyamba - this was the beginning of Chietharol Kumbaba - the Royal Chronicle of Manipur. The original Meitei Mayek contains 18 alphabets design out from Human Physiology.[6] From early 18th century, the Meitei Mayek has been replaced by Bengali Script till now. Meanwhile, the revival of the Meitei Mayek has been going through since early 21st century[7]. And now, the original script of the Meitei people i.e. Meitei Mayek with 27 alphabets[8] has started replacing back over the Bengali Script.

Unicode[edit]

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

Blocks[edit]

The Unicode block for the Meitei script, called Meetei Mayek, is U+ABC0–U+ABFF.

Characters for historical orthographies are part of the Meetei Mayek Extensions block at U+AAE0–U+AAFF.

Meetei Mayek[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+ABCx
U+ABDx
U+ABEx
U+ABFx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 9.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points
Meetei Mayek Extensions[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+AAEx
U+AAFx     
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 9.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

References[edit]

  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (1997). A grammar of Meithei. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 0-19-564331-3.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (2002). Early Meithei manuscripts. In C. I. Beckwith (Ed.), Medieval Tibeto-Burman languages: PIATS 2000: Tibetan studies: Proceedings of the ninth seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000 (pp. 59–71). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
  • Chelliah, Shobhana L. (2002). A glossary of 39 basic words in archaic and modern Meithei. In C. I. Beckwith (Ed.), Medieval Tibeto-Burman languages: PIATS 2000: Tibetan studies: Proceedings of the ninth seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000 (pp. 189–190). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.

External links[edit]