The Osage script is a new script promulgated in 2006 and revised 2012-2014 for the Osage language. Because Latin orthographies were subject to interference from English conventions among Osage students who were more familiar with English than with Osage, in 2006 the director of the Osage Language Program, Herman Mongrain Lookout, decided to create a distinct script by modifying or fusing Latin letters. This Osage script has been in regular use on the Osage Nation ever since.
In 2012, while in the process of submitting the script to Unicode, a more precise representation of the sounds of Osage was formulated, and by the following year had been adequately tested. In February 2014, a conference on standardizing the reforms was held by Lookout and the staff at the Osage Nation Language Department along with UCS expert Michael Everson. The result included the introduction of case, the abolition of two ligatures and the addition of several derived characters for sounds that varied between dialects.
For the pronunciation of the letters of the alphabet, see Osage language#Phonology or the links below.
The 2014 vowel letters are as follows:
|? ?||A a||? ?|
|? ?||Ai ai||? ?||A? a?|
|? ?||? ?|
|? ?||E e||? ?||E? e?|
|? ?||I i||? ?|
|? ?||O o||? ?|
|? ?||U u||? ?||O? o?|
Long vowels are indicated with a macron, high tone by an acute accent, and a long vowel with high tone by a double acute accent: e.g. oral ⟨?̄ ?̄⟩ ? ?, ⟨?́ ?́⟩ Á á, ⟨?̋ ?̋⟩ ?́ ?́,, nasal ⟨?̄͘ ?̄͘⟩ ?̄ ?̄, ⟨?́͘ ?́͘⟩ ?́ ?́, ⟨?̋͘ ?̋͘⟩ ?̄́ ?̄́.
It is not clear how ? is used, as it is not phonemic in Osage.
The a comes from Latin ⟨A⟩ (without the crossbar, as in the N?S? logo), e from Latin cursive ⟨?⟩ (the 'long' sound of the English letter a is rather like Osage e). The source for i is obscure, though Latin ⟨I⟩ does appear inside ⟨?⟩ in the diphthong ai.
The 2014 consonant letters and digraphs are as follows. As in Latin orthography, the ejective consonants are written with a diacritic, and the strongly aspirated stops with digraphs. The pre-aspirated stops were originally written as digraphs with h, but since they vary by dialect with geminates, the 2014 revision included new letters for them derived by adding a cross-bar.
|? ?||Br br|
|? ?||C c (ts)||?' ?'||C' c'||? ?||Ch ch||? ?||Hc hc|
|? ?||? ?||? ?||H? h?|
|? ?||Ð ð|
|? ?||H h|
|? ?||Hy hy|
|? ?||K k||?' ?'||K' k'||Kx kx||? ?||Hk hk|
|? ?||Ky ky||K? k?|
|? ?||L l|
|? ?||M m|
|? ?||N n|
|? ?||P p||?' ?'||P' p'||Px px||? ?||Hp hp|
|? ?||S s|
|? ?||? ?|
|? ?||T t||Tx tx||? ?||Ht ht|
|? ?||W w|
|? ?||X x|
|? ?||? ? (gh)|
|? ?||Z z|
|? ?||? ?|
Px and p? are allophones, as are kx ~ k? and tx ~ ch (tsh). Hy and ky are sequences rather than single consonants.
The source of p is Latin ⟨P⟩, that of t is Latin ⟨D⟩ (an alternative transcription of Osage t), ? is from ⟨Ch⟩, k from ⟨K⟩. C is from ⟨Ts⟩ and the Osage s. S and z are the top halves of ⟨S⟩ and ⟨Z⟩; ? and ? are derived from adding a tail to the full letters, much like Latin ⟨?⟩. Br, st, sk are ligatures of those letters, m, n and l appear to be from cursive, and ð is a ligature of ⟨Th⟩, which is how it is often transcribed. W is a partial ⟨w⟩. X might be from cursive ⟨x⟩; h is obscure.
Words are separated by a space. Syllables were originally separated by a full stop, but that practice has ceased with increasing literacy.
The Osage alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in June, 2016 with the release of version 9.0.
The Unicode block for Osage is U+104B0–U+104FF:
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)