Limbu Script
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Limbu
Limbu.png
Type
LanguagesLimbu
Time period
c. 1740–present
Parent systems
DirectionLeft-to-right
ISO 15924Limb, 336
Unicode alias
Limbu
U+1900–U+194F
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.

The Limbu script (also Sirijanga script )[1] is used to write the Limbu language. It is a Brahmic type abugida.[2]

History

According to traditional histories, the Limbu script was first invented in the late 9th century by Limbu King Sirijunga Hang, then fell out of use, to be reintroduced in the 18th century by Limbu scholar Te-ongsi Sirijunga Xin Thebe during the time that teaching of the Limbu script was outlawed in Limbuwan and Sikkim.

Accounts with Sirijunga

The Limbu language is one of the few Sino-Tibetan languages of the Central Himalayas to possess their own scripts. (Sprigg 1959: 590), (Sprigg 1959: 591-592 & MS: 1-4) tells us that the Limbu or Sirijunga script was devised during the period of Buddhist expansion in Sikkim in the early 18th century when Limbuwan still constituted part of Sikkimese territory. The Limbu script was probably composed at roughly the same time as the Lepcha script which was created by the third King of Sikkim, Chakdor Namgyal (ca. 1700-1717). The Limbu script is ascribed to the Limbu hero, Te-ongsi Sirijunga Xin Thebe.

Structure

The Limbu script. Gray letters are obsolete.

As an abugida, a basic letter represents both a consonant and an inherent, or default, vowel. In Limbu, the inherent vowel is /?/.

Consonants
Transcription ko kho go gho ngo co cho jo to tho do dho no po pho bo bho mo yo ro lo vo sho so ho
IPA /k?/ /k/ // // // /c?/ /c/ // /t?/ /t/ /d?/ /d/ /n?/ /p?/ /p/ /b?/ /b/ /m?/ /j?/ /r?/ /l?/ /w?/ // /s?/ /h?/
Letter ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

To change the inherent vowel, a diacritic is added:

Dependent vowel signs
Transcription -a -i -u -ee -ai -oo -au -e -o
IPA /a/ /i/ /u/ /e/ /ai/ /o/ /au/ /?/ /?/
Diacritic ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Example using ?
/ka/

/ki/

/ku/

/ke/

/kai/

/ko/

/kau/

/k?/

/k?/

/k?/ represents the same syllable as ? /k?/. Some writers avoid the ? diacritic, considering it redundant.

Syllable-initial vowels use the vowel-carrier ? with the appropriate dependent vowel sign. Used by itself, ? represents syllable-initial /?/.

Initial consonant clusters are written with small marks following the main consonant:

Subjoined consonants
Transcription -y- -r- -w-
IPA /j/ /r/ /w/
Diacritic ? ? ?
Example using ?
/kj?/

/kr?/

/kw?/

Final consonants after short vowels are written with another set of marks, except for some final consonants occurring only in loanwords. They follow the marks for consonant clusters, if any.

Final consonants
Transcription -k -ng -t -n -p -m -r -l
IPA /k/ /?/ /t/ /n/ /p/ /m/ /r/ /l/
Diacritic ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Example using ?
/k?k/

/k/

/k?t/

/k?n/

/k?p/

/k?m/

/k?r/

/k?l/

Long vowels without a following final consonant are written with a diacritic called kemphreng (?). For example, /k?:/.

There are two methods for writing long vowels with syllable-final consonants:

  1. Use the kemphreng diacritic and the final consonant, such as /k?:k/.
  2. Replace the final consonant with the corresponding full consonant and add an underscore-like diacritic mark. This indicates that the consonant is final (vowel-less) and that the preceding vowel is lengthened. For example: /k?:k/. This same diacritic may be used to mark final consonants in loanwords that do not have final forms in Limbu, regardless of the length of the vowel.

The first method is widely used in Sikkim; the second method is advocated by certain writers in Nepal.[2]

Glottalization is marked by a sign called mukphreng (?). For example, /k/.

Sample text from Limbu Wikipedia

? ? ||

! ? ? ? ? ?

? ? ? ?

? ? ( ? ? ?) ?

? ? ? ? ? ?

Obsolete characters

Three additional letters were used in early versions of the modern script:[2]

  • ? //
  • ? //
  • ? //

Two ligatures were used for Nepali consonant conjuncts:[3]

Nineteenth-century texts used a small anusvara (?) to mark nasalization. This was used interchangeably with ? /?/.

The sign ? was used for the exclamatory particle (/lo/).[2]

Punctuation

The main punctuation mark used in Limbu is the Devanagari double danda (?).[2] It has its own exclamation mark (?) and question mark (?).

Digits

Limbu has its own set of digits:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Unicode

Limbu script was added to the Unicode Standard in April, 2003 with the release of version 4.0.

The Unicode block for Limbu is U+1900–U+194F:

Limbu[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+190x ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
U+191x ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
U+192x ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
U+193x ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
U+194x ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 13.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

References

  1. ^ "ScriptSource: Limbu". Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Michailovsky, Boyd; Everson, Michael (2002-02-05). "L2/02-055: Revised proposal to encode the Limbu script in the UCS" (PDF).
  3. ^ Pandey, Anshuman (2011-01-14). "L2/11-008: Proposal to Encode the Letters GYAN and TRA for Limbu in the UCS" (PDF).

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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