Pegon is an Arabic alphabet used to write the Javanese and Sundanese languages, as an alternative to the Roman alphabet or the pre-colonial Javanese script and the old Sundanese script. In particular, it was used for religious (Islamic) writing and poetry from the fifteenth century, particularly in writing commentaries of Quran. The word Pegon originated from a Javanese word pégo, which means "deviate", due to the practice of writing Javanese language with Arabic script, which was considered unconventional by Javanese people.
The main difference between Jawi and Pegon is that the latter is almost always written with vocal signs. This is because the Javanese language contains more variations of aksara swara (vowel symbols) than their Malay counterpart resulting in vocal signs needing to be written to avoid phonetic confusion. If written without vocal signs, as in Jawi, the script is called Gundhul. Pegon includes symbols for sounds that are not present in standard Arabic.
One of the earliest dated examples of the usage of Pegon may be Masa'il al-ta'lim, a work on Islamic law written in Arabic with interlinear translation and marginal commentary in Javanese. The manuscript is dated 1623 and written on dluwang, a paper made from the bark of the mulberry tree.
- Javanese alphabet
- "Southeast Asian manuscripts digitised through the Ginsburg Legacy", http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2015/02/southeast-asian-manuscripts-digitised-through-the-ginsburg-legacy.html (Asian and African studies blog), 13 February 2015
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