Meitei script

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Meetei Mayek
ꯃꯤꯇꯩ ꯃꯌꯦꯛ
Meithei manuscript, a Indian language.jpg
Type
abugida
LanguagesMeitei language ꯃꯩꯇꯩ ꯂꯣꯟ
Time period
c. 1100 – 1700, 1930 – present
DirectionLeft-to-right
ISO 15924Mtei, 337
Unicode alias
Meetei Mayek

The Meitei script or Meetei Mayek, (Meitei: ꯃꯤꯇꯩ ꯃꯌꯦꯛ) is an abugida used for the Meitei language, one of the official languages of the Indian state of Manipur. It was used until the 18th century, when it was replaced by the Bengali alphabet. A few manuscripts survive. In the 20th century, the script experienced a resurgence, and is now used again.

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.

History[edit]

The Meitei script is a Brahmic abugida. According to Singh (1962), an archaic form of the script had developed by the 11th century, and it was in use until the early 18th century, when it was replaced by the Bengali script.[1] By contrast, Tomba (1993) claims that the script is a development of c. 1930, with all supposedly older documents being deliberate forgeries.[2]

A stone inscription found[year needed] at Khoibu in Tengnoupal district, of current Manipur state, contains royal edicts of king Senbi Kiyamba (d. 1508), representing the earliest portion of the Chietharol Kumbaba or Royal Chronicle of Manipur.[citation needed]

In 1980 a modernized version of the writing system was approved by Manipur state law for use in educational institutions.[3][4] It was encoded in Unicode in 2009.

Letter names[edit]

One of the unique feature of this script is the use of body parts in naming the letters.[5] 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 details how each script originated received its nomenclature.[citation needed]

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 12.0
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 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

References[edit]

  1. ^ K.B. Singh, The Meiteis of Manipur (1989 [1962]), p. 157.
  2. ^ Frans Welman, Out of Isolation – Exploring a Forgotten World (2011), 468f., citing O.Tomba, The Need to rewrite Manipuri History, Imphal, 1993.
  3. ^ "Approved Meitei Mayek Govt Gazzette 1980". e-pao.net. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  4. ^ Devi, S. (May 2013). "Is Manipuri an Endangered Language?" (PDF). Language in India. 13 (5): 520–533.
  5. ^ "A comparative study of Meetei Mayek" (PDF). typoday. Retrieved 13 May 2019.

Bibliography[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]