Tirhuta Script
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Tirhuta
Mithilakshar
Tirhuta script.svg
Type
LanguagesMaithili, Sanskrit
Time period
c. 13th century–present day[1]
Parent systems
Sister systems
Bengali-Assamese, Odia
DirectionLeft-to-right
ISO 15924Tirh, 326
Unicode alias
Tirhuta
U+11480–U+114DF
Final Accepted Script Proposal

The Tirhuta or Maithili script is the primary historical script for the Maithili language, as well as one of the historical scripts for Sanskrit. It is believed to be originated in the 10th century CE, but its use declined over years of neglect by the Bihar government. It is very similar to Bengali-Assamese script, with most consonants being effectively identical in appearance. For the most part, writing in Maithili has switched to the Devanagari script, which is used to write neighboring Central Indic languages to the west and north such as Hindi and Nepali, and the number of people with a working knowledge of Tirhuta has dropped considerably in recent years.

12th Century Stone inscription from Simroungarh showing early Tirhuta writing

History and current status

Before 14th CE, Tirhuta was exclusively used to write Sanskrit, later Maithili was written in this script. Despite the near universal switch from Tirhuta to the Devanagari script for writing Maithili, some traditional pundits still use the script for sending one another ceremonial letters (p?t?) related to some important function such as marriage. Metal type for this script was first produced in the 1920s, and digital fonts in the 1990s.[1]

The 2003 inclusion of Maithili in the VIIIth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, having accorded official recognition to it as a language independent of Hindi, there is a possibility that this might lead to efforts to re-implement Tirhuta on a wider basis, in accord with similar trends in India reinforcing separate identities. However, currently, only Maithili in the Devanagari script is officially recognized.

Signs of the script

Consonant letters

Most of the consonant letters are effectively identical to Bengali-Assamese. The Unicode submission, for example, only bothered to create new graphic designs for 7 of the 33 letters: ⟨jh, ?, ?h, ?, l, ?, h⟩.

Consonants
Sign Transcription
Image Text IAST IPA
?  . Tirhuta letter ?A.png ? ka /k?/
?  ?H?. Tirhuta letter ?HA.png ? kha /k/
?  G?. Tirhuta letter GA.png ? ga /g?/
?  GH?. Tirhuta letter GHA.png ? gha /g/
?  NG?. Tirhuta letter NGA.png ? ?a //
?  C?. Tirhuta letter CA.png ? ca /t/
?  CH?. Tirhuta letter CHA.png ? cha /t?/
?  J?. Tirhuta letter JA.png ? ja /d/
?  JH?. Tirhuta letter JHA.png ? jha /d?/
?  NY?. Tirhuta letter NYA.png ? ña //
?  TT?. Tirhuta letter TTA.png ? ?a //
?  TTH?. Tirhuta letter TTHA.png ? ?ha //
?  DD?. Tirhuta letter DDA.png ? ?a //
?  DDH?. Tirhuta letter DDHA.png ? ?ha //
?  NN?. Tirhuta letter NNA.png ? ?a //
?  T?. Tirhuta letter TA.png ? ta /t/
?  TH?. Tirhuta letter THA.png ? tha /t/
?  D?. Tirhuta letter DA.png ? da /d/
?  DH?. Tirhuta letter DHA.png ? dha /d/
?  N?. Tirhuta letter NA.png ? na /n?/
?  P?. Tirhuta letter PA.png ? pa /p?/
?  PH?. Tirhuta letter PHA.png ? pha /p/
?  B?. Tirhuta letter BA.png ? ba /b?/
?  BH?. Tirhuta letter BHA.png ? bha /b/
?  M?. Tirhuta letter MA.png ? ma /m?/
?  Y?. Tirhuta letter YA.png ? ya /j?/
?  R?. Tirhuta letter RA.png ? ra /r?/
?  L?. Tirhuta letter LA.png ? la /l?/
?  V?. Tirhuta letter VA.png ? va //
?  SH?. Tirhuta letter SHA.png ? ?a //
?  SS?. Tirhuta letter SSA.png ? ?a //
?  S?. Tirhuta letter SA.png ? sa /s?/
?  H?. Tirhuta letter HA.png ? ha //

Vowels

Vowels
Independent Dependent Transcription
Image Text Image Text IAST IPA
?  ?. Tirhuta letter A.png ? a /?/
?  . Tirhuta letter A?.png ?   ?   . Tirhuta vowel sign AA.png  𑒰 ? /?:/
?  ?. Tirhuta letter ?.png ?   ?   ?. Tirhuta vowel sign ?.png  𑒱 ? /?/
?  . Tirhuta letter .png ?   ?   . Tirhuta vowel sign .png  𑒲 ? /?:/
?  ?. Tirhuta letter U.png ?   ?   U. Tirhuta vowel sign U.png  𑒳 u /u/
?  . Tirhuta letter UU.png ?   ?   UU. Tirhuta vowel sign UU.png  𑒴 ? /u:/
?   ?. Tirhuta letter vocalic R.png ?   ?    R. Tirhuta vowel sign vocalic R.png  𑒵 ? /r?/
?   . Tirhuta letter vocalic RR.png ?   ?    RR. Tirhuta vowel sign vocalic RR.png  𑒶 ? /r?:/
?   ?. Tirhuta letter vocalic L.png ?   ?    L. Tirhuta vowel sign vocalic L.png  𑒷 ? /l?/
?   . Tirhuta letter vocalic LL.png ?   ?    LL. Tirhuta vowel sign vocalic LL.png  𑒸 ? /l?:/
?  ?. Tirhuta letter ?.png ?   ?   E. Tirhuta vowel sign E.png  𑒹 ? /?:/
  ?   ? E. Tirhuta vowel sign short E.png  𑒺 e /?/
?  . Tirhuta letter A?.png ?   ?   . Tirhuta vowel sign .png  𑒻 //
?  ?. Tirhuta letter ?.png ?   ?   ?. Tirhuta vowel sign ?.png  𑒼 ? /?:/
  ?   ? ?. Tirhuta vowel sign short ?.png  𑒽 ? /?/
?  . Tirhuta letter AU.png ?   ?   ?U. Tirhuta vowel sign ?U.png  𑒾 ?u /?u/

Other signs

Other dependent signs
Image Text Name Notes
 ? . Tirhuta sign candrabindu.png  𑒿 candrabindu marks the nasalization of a vowel
 ? . Tirhuta sign anusvara.png  ? anusvara marks nasalization
 ? ?. Tirhuta sign visarga.png  𑓁 visarga marks the sound [h], which is an allophone of [r] and [s] in pausa (at the end of an utterance)
 ? . Tirhuta sign virama.png  𑓂 virama used to suppress the inherent vowel
 ?  . Tirhuta sign nukta.png  𑓃 nukta used to create new consonant signs
 ? . Tirhuta sign avagraha.png ? avagraha used to indicate prodelision of an [a]
 ?  . Tirhuta sign gvang.png ? gvang used to mark nasalization

Numerals

Tirhuta script uses its own signs for the positional decimal numeral system.

Digits
Image Tirhuta numeral 0.png Tirhuta numeral 1.png Tirhuta numeral 2.png Tirhuta numeral 3.png Tirhuta numeral 4.png Tirhuta numeral 5.png Tirhuta numeral 6.png Tirhuta numeral 7.png Tirhuta numeral 8.png Tirhuta numeral 9.png
Text ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Digit 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Image gallery

The first two images shown below are samples illustrating the history of Tirhuta. The first is the sacred sign of Ganesha, called ?ñj?, used for millennia by students before beginning Tirhuta studies. Displayed further below are images of tables comparing the Tirhuta and Devanagari scripts.

Unicode

Tirhuta script was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

The Unicode block for Tirhuta is U+11480–U+114DF:

Tirhuta[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+1148x 𑒀 𑒁 𑒂 𑒃 𑒄 𑒅 𑒆 𑒇 𑒈 𑒉 𑒊 𑒋 𑒌 𑒍 𑒎 𑒏
U+1149x 𑒐 𑒑 𑒒 𑒓 𑒔 𑒕 𑒖 𑒗 𑒘 𑒙 𑒚 𑒛 𑒜 𑒝 𑒞 𑒟
U+114Ax 𑒠 𑒡 𑒢 𑒣 𑒤 𑒥 𑒦 𑒧 𑒨 𑒩 𑒪 𑒫 𑒬 𑒭 𑒮 𑒯
U+114Bx 𑒰 𑒱 𑒲 𑒳 𑒴 𑒵 𑒶 𑒷 𑒸 𑒹 𑒺 𑒻 𑒼 𑒽 𑒾 𑒿
U+114Cx 𑓀 𑓁 𑓂 𑓃 𑓄 𑓅 𑓆 𑓇
U+114Dx 𑓐 𑓑 𑓒 𑓓 𑓔 𑓕 𑓖 𑓗 𑓘 𑓙
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 13.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

References

  1. ^ a b Pandey, Anshuman (5 May 2011). "N4035: Proposal to Encode the Tirhuta Script in ISO/IEC 10646" (PDF). Working Group Document, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 December 2016.
  2. ^ Daniels, Peter T. (January 2008). "Writing systems of major and minor languages". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Salomon, Richard (1998). Indian Epigraphy. p. 41.

  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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