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 (ᬯ᭄ᬬᬦ᭄ᬚᬦ), 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.

Aksara wianjana (Consonants)
(Place of articulation)
Pancawalimukha Ardhasuara
Unvoiced Voiced Nasal
Bali Ka.png
Bali Ka mahaprana.png
Ka mahaprana
Bali Ga.png
Bali Ga gora.png
Ga gora
Bali Nga.png
Bali Ha.png
Bali Ca.png
Ca murca1
Bali Ca laca.png
Ca laca3
Bali Ja.png
Bali Ja jera.png
Ja jera
Bali Nya.png
Bali Ya.png
Bali Sa saga.png
Sa saga
Bali Ta latik.png
Ta latik
Bali Ta latik mahaprana.png
Ta latik m.5
Bali Da madu murdhanya.png
Da murda a.4
Bali Da murda mahaprana.png
Da murda m.5
Bali Na rambat.png
Na rambat
Bali Ra.png
Bali Sa sapa.png
Sa sapa
Bali Ta.png
Bali Ta tawa.png
Ta tawa
Bali Da.png
Da lindung1
Bali Da madu.png
Da madu
Bali Na.png
Na kojong1
Bali La.png
Bali Sa.png
Sa danti16
Bali Pa.png
Bali 8, Pha.png
Pa kapal
Bali Ba.png
Bali Ba kembang1.png or Bali Ba kembang2.png(Bha)
Ba kembang7
Bali Ma.png
Bali Wa.png

^1 Aksara wreṣāstra. They are, in traditional order: ha na ca ra ka / da ta sa wa la / ma ga ba nga / pa ja ya nya.
^2 The consonant ha is sometimes not pronounced. For example, hujan is pronounced ujan.[6]
^3 The exact form of ca laca is unknown because only the appended (gantungan) form is left.[7] However, the independent form is included in Unicode.[8]
^4 alpaprana ^5 mahaprana
^6 Actually an alveolar consonant, but classified as dental by tradition
^7 The former of the two letter forms is more frequently used.


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

Aksara suara (Vowels)
(Place of articulation)
Aksara suara hresua
(Short vowels)
Name Aksara suara dirgha
(Long vowels)
Symbol Transliteration IPA Symbol Transliteration IPA
Bali vowel A kara.png
A [a] A kara
Bali vowel A kara-tedung.png
Ā [ɑː]
Bali vowel I kara.png
I [i] I kara
Bali vowel I kara-tedung.png
Ī [iː]
Bali vowel Ra repa.png
[ɹ̩] Ra repa
Bali vowel Ra repa-tedung.png
Bali 2-vowel La lenga.png
[l̩] La lenga
Bali vowel La lenga-tedung.png
Bali vowel U kara.png
U [u] U kara
Bali vowel U kara-tedung.png
Ū [uː]
Bali 6-vowel E kara.png
E [e]; [ɛ] E kara (E)
Airsanya (Ai)
Bali vowel Airsanya.png
Ai [aːi]
Bali 3-vowel O.png
O [o]; [ɔ] O kara
Bali vowel O kara-tedung.png
Au [aːu]


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.[9]

The forms of gantungan are as follows:

(Place of articulation)
Pancawalimukha Ardhasuara
Unvoiced Voiced Nasal
Gantungan Ka.png
Gantungan Ka mahaprana.png
Ka mahaprana
Gantungan Ga.png
Gantungan Ga gora.png
Ga gora
Gantungan Nga.png
Gantungan Ha.png
Gantungan Ca.png
Ca murca
Gantungan Ca laca.png
Ca laca
Gantungan Ja.png
Gantungan Ja jera.png
Ja jera
Gantungan Nya.png
Pangangge Nania.png
Gantungan Sa saga.png
Sa saga
Gantungan Ta latik.png
Ta latik
Gantungan Ta latik mahaprana.png
Ta latik m.
Gantungan da madu alpaprana.png
Da madu a.
Gantungan Da madu murdhanya.png
Da madu m.
Gantungan Na rambat.png
Na rambat
Pangangge Cakra.png
Gempelan Sa sapa.png
Sa sapa
Gantungan Ta.png
Gantungan Ta tawa.png
Ta tawa
Gantungan Da.png
Da lindung
Gantungan Da madu.png
Da madu
Gantungan Na.png
Na kojong
Gantungan La.png
Gempelan Sa danti.png
Sa danti
Gantungan Ba.png
Gantungan Ba kembang.png
Ba kembang
Gempelan Pa.png
Gantungan Pa kapal.png
Pa kapal
Gantungan Ma.png
Pangangge Suku kembung.png


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 suara
(Place of articulation)
Symbol Transliteration IPA Name
Pangangge Pepet.png
ě [ə] Pepet
Pangangge Tedung.png
ā [ɑː] Tedung
Pangangge Ulu.png
i [i] Ulu
Pangangge Ulu sari.png
ī [iː] Ulu sari
Pangangge Suku.png
u [u] Suku
Pangangge Suku ilut.png
ū [uː] Suku ilut
Pangangge Taling.png
é [e]; [ɛ] Taling
Pangangge Taling detya.png
ai [aːi] Taling detya
Pangangge Taling-tedung.png
o [o]; [ɔ] Taling tedung
Pangangge Taling detya-tedung.png
au [aːu] Taling detya matedung

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".


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:

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 8.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points



  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. 16
  7. ^ Tinggen, p. 23
  8. ^ "Unicode Table" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  9. ^ 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]