Meitei script

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Meetei Mayek
ꯃꯤꯇꯩ ꯃꯌꯦꯛ
Meetei Mayek.png
Script type
Time period
c. 1100 – 1700, 1930 – present
Directionleft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
RegionManipur
LanguagesMeitei language
Related scripts
Parent systems
Sister systems
Lepcha, ʼPhags-pa, Marchen
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Mtei, 337 Edit this on Wikidata, ​Meitei Mayek (Meithei, Meetei)
Unicode
Unicode alias
Meetei Mayek

The Meitei script or Meetei Mayek, (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 has experienced a resurgence, and is again being used.[4] 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. It is important to note that the twenty seven Meitei Mayek or Meetei Mayek letters are not phonetic names but names of parts of human body.[5]

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.[6] By contrast, Tomba (1993) claims that the script is a development of c. 1930, with all supposedly older documents being deliberate forgeries.[7] According to K.S. Singh and Mahoharan (1993), as per the modifications of the phonemic distributions of Meitei language, the script has developed from the Tibetan group of scripts.[1]

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. It is one of the primary texts in the Meitei script.[8][better source needed]

Meitei manuscript

In 1980 a modernized version of the writing system was approved by Manipur state law for use in educational institutions.[9][10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

Letters
Letter Name Latin IPA[13]
kok K /k/
sam S /s/
lai L /l/
mit M /m/
pa P /p/
na N /n/
chil Ch /t͡ʃ/
til T /t/
khou Kh /kʰ/
ngou Ng /ŋ/
thou Th /tʰ/
wai W /w/
yang Y /j/
huk H /h/
un U /u(ː)/
ee I or E /i(ː)/
pham F or Ph /pʰ/
atiya A /ɐ/
gok G /g/
jham Jh /d͡ʒʱ/
rai R /ɾ/
ba B /b/
jil J /d͡ʒ/
dil D /d/
ghou Gh /gʱ/
dhou Dh /dʱ/
bham Bh /bʱ/
Syllable-coda (Lonsum) Letters
Lonsum letter Name Derived from Mapung Mayek letter
kok lonsum
lai lonsum
mit lonsum
pa lonsum
na lonsum
til lonsum
ngou lonsum
ee lonsum

Suffix letters or addendum used[edit]

Cheitap letters(Cheitap mayek)
Cheitap mayek Name Latin Example
aa-tap a Karl(ꯀꯥꯔꯜ)
ee-nap e or i King(ꯀꯤꯡ) Feel(ꯐꯤꯜ)
uu-nap u or oo Cool(ꯀꯨꯜ) Fumigate(ꯐꯨꯃꯤꯒꯦꯠ)
yet-nap ay or e Bay(ꯕꯦ) Kentuk(ꯀꯦꯟꯇꯨꯛ)
ot-nap o Boy(ꯕꯣꯌ) Cold(ꯀꯣꯜꯗ)
chei-nap ei Heifer(ꯍꯩꯐꯔ) Feign(ꯐꯩꯟ)
sou-nap ou or ow Soul(ꯁꯧꯜ) Hou(ꯍꯧ) Bowl(ꯕꯧꯜ)
nung or noong ang or ng Anglo(ꯑꯪꯒꯂꯣ) Kangla(ꯀꯪꯂꯥ)

Numerals[edit]

Arabic numerals 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Meitei numerals
Names ꯐꯨꯟ
phun
ꯑꯃ
ama
ꯑꯅꯤ
ani
ꯑꯍꯨꯝ
ahum
ꯃꯔꯤ
mari
ꯃꯉꯥ
mangā
ꯇꯔꯨꯛ
taruk
ꯇꯔꯦꯠ
taret
ꯅꯤꯄꯥꯜ
nipāl
ꯃꯥꯄꯜ
māpal


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 13.0
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 13.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chelliah, Shobhana Lakshmi (2011). A Grammar of Meithei. De Gruyter. p. 355. ISBN 9783110801118. Meithei Mayek is part of the Tibetan group of scripts,which originated from the Gupta Brahmi script
  2. ^ Singh, Harimohon Thounaojam (January 2011), The Evolution and Recent Development of the Meetei Mayek Script (PDF), Cambridge University Press India, p. 28
  3. ^ Hyslop, Gwendolyn; Morey, Stephen; Post, Mark W (January 2011). "North East Indian Linguistics Volume 3". Cambridge University Press India. ISBN 9788175967939.
  4. ^ "Banished Manipuri script stages a comeback". Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  5. ^ Ray, Sohini (2009). "Writing the Body: Cosmology, Orthography, and Fragments of Modernity in Northeastern India". Anthropological Quarterly. 82 (1): 150. ISSN 0003-5491.
  6. ^ K.B. Singh, The Meiteis of Manipur (1989 [1962]), p. 157.
  7. ^ Frans Welman, Out of Isolation – Exploring a Forgotten World (2011), 468f., citing O.Tomba, The Need to rewrite Manipuri History, Imphal, 1993.
  8. ^ Michael Everson (20 September 2006). "Preliminary Proposal for Encoding the Meithei Mayek Script in the BMP of the UCS" (PDF). Unicode.
  9. ^ "Approved Meitei Mayek Govt Gazzette 1980". e-pao.net. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  10. ^ Devi, S. (May 2013). "Is Manipuri an Endangered Language?" (PDF). Language in India. 13 (5): 520–533.
  11. ^ "A comparative study of Meetei Mayek" (PDF). typoday. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  12. ^ Ray, Sohini (2009). "Writing the Body: Cosmology, Orthography, and Fragments of Modernity in Northeastern India". Anthropological Quarterly. 82 (1): 129–154. ISSN 0003-5491.
  13. ^ "Manipuri (Meeteilon / Meithei)". Omniglot. Retrieved 28 March 2021.

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]