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NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

SIL HOME | CONTACT US

You are here: Links
Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/SitesOnScriptsAndWSs

Sites on Scripts and Writing Systems

These are some sites on the Web with information about scripts, writing systems and orthographies.

The intent is to provide links to sites that describe scripts and writing systems, as opposed to sites that provide content in various scripts and writing systems, or that provide computing resources such as fonts (though some of the sites do provide such resources).

Some of the sites listed provide information about orthographies of particular languages. In the long term, it will not be feasible to maintain that kind of information on a single page. For now, though, we will list sites that we know of. At some point, hopefully we will have a more comprehensive collection of information on orthographies of individual languages, and a better mechanism for presenting it.

The list is organised by geographic regions, with scripts listed according to the region of origin. There is also a section for special-purpose writing systems for which a region of origin may not be familiar. (Note: although IPA is derived from European scripts, it and other general systems for phonetic transcription are covered in the section on special-purpose writing systems.)

The general sites have information on many scripts, and these are not individually referenced under each script. If you are looking for details on a specific script, don't forget to check the general sites as well as the script-specific sites.

    General
    Africa
    Americas
    Asia
    Europe and Middle East
    Pacific
    Special-Purpose Writing Systems
    Page History

General

 Alfabetos de Ayer y de HoyThis Spanish-language site starts with an interesting family tree of scripts, with Proto-Sumerian at the root of the largest tree, and pages for each of the nodes. There appears to be more descriptive information on some than others, but there is at least one sample for each.

 AncientScripts.com “The aim of Ancient Scripts is? to give an introduction to writing systems, which hopefully will tantalize the reader into searching for more information on the web or in books and publications.”

 An Introduction to Writing Systems A tutorial on scripts and writing systems developed by Richard Ishida. “The tutorial will provide you with an understanding of key requirements for implementing writing systems in information technology. It will do this by examining real examples of a wide range of modern scripts to discover features that a computerized implementation must support.”

 ISO 15924 Code for the representation of names of scripts

 Languages and Scripts From the Unicode Web site: “This table shows some information about the scripts commonly used with different languages. This information is not complete, and is being enhanced over time.”

 Leaks in the Unicode pipeline: script, script, script? A paper presented by Michael Everson at the 21st International Unicode Conference, discussing a number of scripts yet to be added to the Unicode Standard.

 Museum of the Alphabet “This site highlights some of the points of interest of the Museum of the Alphabet, with excerpts from the book, The Alphabet Makers? This site presents several tours of the museum from different perspectives?”

 Omniglot: A Guide to Writing Systems “This website provides a guide to over 200 different alphabets, syllabaries and other writing systems, including a few you will find nowhere else. It also contains details of many of the languages written with those writing systems and links to a wide range of language-related resources, such as fonts, online dictionaries and online language courses.”

 qalam discussion group “qalam · Alphabets, syllabaries, logographs, ideographs, hieroglyphs... A forum to talk about the writing systems of the world.”

 Script Samples A set of pages created by Richard Ishida with sample text in several languages that illustrate some of the characteristics of various scripts. (Note: on the Arabic and Hebrew sample pages, look for the scroll bar on the left side of your browser window!)

 Scripts and Languages “This is a site about the scripts of the world, and the languages they are used to write. The site provides information about the scripts and languages with links to other sites with in-depth descriptions of each.”

 Le site de tous les alphabets This French-language site provides information on many different scripts and writing systems, including alphabets of many individual languages, and also some historic stages in the development of modern scripts.

 TRAD 101 Writing Systems of the World Information for a course on writing systems taught by Timothy Vance at the University of Arizona. Copies of a number of the lectures are available in PDF format.

 WorldLanguage.com WorldLanguage is a retail vendor of multilingual software products. Their site has summary information on several languages, including short text samples.

 Monotype Imaging: Available Fonts Part of Monotype's online font catalog, this sub-site has information on a few dozen scripts.

Africa

 African Writing Systems This site has information on a number of African writing and semiotic systems.

 Bisharat “Bisharat is an evolving idea based on the importance of maternal languages in sustainable development and the enormous potential of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) to benefit efforts in the area of language and development. Anticipating the gradual introduction of computers and the internet to rural communities in Africa, the current focus of Bisharat is on research, advocacy, and networking relating to use of African languages in software and web content.”

Ajami

 Writing Hausa using the Arabic alphabet

 http://ajami.wikispaces.com/

Coptic

 Coptic Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Ethiopic (Ge'ez)

 Arabic and Ethiopic numbers in SERA While this page relates primarily to a particular computer encoding for Ethiopic, it provides useful insight into the traditional Ethiopic numeral system.

 The Comparative Origin and Usage of the Ge’ez writing system of Ethiopia

 ethiopianhistory.com's page on Ge'ez

 Ethiopic Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Ethiopic Numeral Names This page describes Ethiopic numerals, and a particular font implementation. It proposes a zero digit, allowing a decimal-radix numeral system for Ethiopic.

 Ethiopic Standards This page describes the Ethiopic character set and two legacy encoding systems that have been used to represent Ethiopic characters on computers.

 A Look at Ethiopic Numerals This page describes traditional Ethiopic numerals in detail, including an algorithm for determining how to represent a given numeric value using Ethiopic numerals.

Feera

 FEERA : L'ancien alphabet Afar

Malawi

 Mwangwego Script A script developed in 1979 to write the languages of Malawi.

N'Ko

 N'Ko Institute of America See in particular their  tutorial on the N'Ko script.

 N'Ko Resources “This site is N'Ko Institute portal to the internet. It purpose is provides the mean entry point to other N'Ko resources, and links around the world.”

 Chris Culy's N'ko page

Osmanya (Somali)

Tifinagh

 Caractères tifinagh en usage au Maroc

 Tifinagh : l'alphabet berbère de A à Z

 Yessan Tifinagh

 Abstract of an article on Tifinaghe script and Unicode and  the full article.

Vai

 Lecture on Vai by Timoth Vance From a course on writing systems taught at the University of Arizona

 The Vai Writing System

 The Complete Vai Syllabary A graphic showing a Vai syllabary chart.

Americas

For information on Latin script as used for Amerindian languages, see the Latin sub-section within the section on Europe and the Middle East.

Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics (Evans syllabary for Cree and Inuit languages)

 Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Cree Cultural Institute's page on Cree syllabics

 Languagegeek.com A site by Chris Harvey documenting writing systems of aboriginal languages of North America, including those that use syllabics.

Cherokee

 Cherokee Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Cherokee Syllabary

 Tsalagi Syllabary

Deseret

 Brigham Young's Deseret Alphabet

 Republic of Molossia - Deseret Alphabet

Mayan Hieroglyphs

Asia

 Scripts of all Asia

Subsections:

Northeast Asia

South Asia

Southeast Asia (Mainland)

Southeast Asia (Insular)

Northeast Asia

 BabelStone This site has information on various writing systems used in China and Mongolia.

Bopomofo

 Bopomofo

Han (Chinese, Hanji, Chu Nho, Chữ Nôm)

 Chinese Characters and Culture

 Chinese (Simplified) Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Chinese (Traditional) Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Chữ nôm or the former Vietnamese script

 The Vietnamese Writing System

 Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation

Hangul (Korean)

 Korean Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Hangul

Kana (Japanese, Hiragana, Katakana)

 Japanese Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Katakana and Hiragana

Mongolian

'Phags-pa

 'Phags-pa Script A collection of pages by Andrew West with detailed information about the 'Phags-pa script, including a description of the characters, style variants, history and usage. Several images of manuscripts are provided, as well as a bibliography.

South Asia

 Digital South Asia Library This site contains digital copies of various works in the area of South Asian studies, including some descriptions of languages and scripts of South Asia.

 India: Languages and Scripts This site has lots of intesting information on Indic scripts, including historical development and images from manuscripts.

 An Introduction to Indic Scripts A very good overview of Indic scripts and their computer implementation.

 Technology Development for Indian Languages: Unicode This is a site maintained by the government of India for discussing computer implementation of Indian scripts. While the focus is technical in nature, there are links to descriptions of various scripts of India.

Arabic

Please see the sub-section on Arabic within the section on Europe and the Middle East.

Bengali

 Bengali Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Bangla Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Bengali script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Bengali script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Bengali here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)
 Bengali chart

Devanagari

 Devanagari Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Attested Hindi Ligatures A compilation with examples by Ernst Tremel (download:  pdf.

 Hindi Script Tutor

 A Practical Sanskrit Introductory This tutorial on the Sanskrit language by Charles Wikner contains in depth information on Devanagari script.

 Revision of Unicode Standard-3.0 for Devanagari Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Devanagari script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Devanagari script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Devanagari here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 svaramaJNjarii A brief discussion of vedic accents based on Sanskrit source documents.

 Vedic Accents A thorough description of vedic accent markings, by Charles Wikner.

 Vedic Code Set This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Devanagari characters used in Vedic texts and their encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Devanagari Vedic characters. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Devanagari here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 Devanagari chart

 I Speak Hindi List of the primary vowels and consonants in Hindi with a sample of a native speaker saying the sound and links to several learn Hindi podcasts.

Grantha

Grantha is an historic South Indian script that is the precursor to modern South Indian scripts such as Malayalam, Sinhala and Tamil, and likely also the precursor to Southeast Asian scripts such as Khmer, Lao and Thai.

 A primer in Grantha Characters

Gujarati

 Gujarati Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Gujarati script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Gujarati script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Gujarati here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 Gujarati Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Gujarati chart

Gurmukhi

 Gurmukhi Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Gurmukhi - The Sikh Alphabet A brief description.

 Gurmukhi Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Gurmukhi script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Gurmukhi script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Gurmukhi here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 Gurmukhi/Punjabi chart

Hindi

 Hindi Links to Hindi phonetics, orthography, font, keyboard, and glossary.

 I Speak Hindi Hindi Letters and Sounds.

Indus (Harappan)

 The Decipherment of Harappan Writing

Kannada

 Kannada Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Kannada Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Kannada script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Kannada script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Kannada here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 Kannada chart

Limbu

Malayalam

 Malayalam Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Malayalam Alphabet Page from TheFreeDictionary describing the Malayalam "alphabet".

 Malayalam Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Malayalam script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Malayalam script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Malayalam here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 Malayalam chart

Manipuri (Metei, Meetei-Mayek)

 Manipuri Alphabet (From the  Omniglot site.)

 Language ~ E-Pao! News About Manipur Has very brief descriptions of Manipuri script and language. Some other pages at this site use the Manipuri script.

Ol (Ol Cemet’, Ol Chiki)

 Ol Chiki Script A fairly detailed description of the Ol script from the “portal for Santals” web site.

Oriya

 Oriya Script Details
 Oriya Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Oriya Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Oriya script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Oriya script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Oriya here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 A Primer in Oriya Characters

 Oriya chart

Sinhala

 Sinhalese Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Sinhala chart

Siloti Nagri

 Sylheti Translation And Research

Tamil

 Tamil Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Tamil Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Tamil script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Tamil script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Tamil here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 Tamil chart

Telugu

 A Primer in Telugu Characters

 Telugu Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Telugu Script This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Telugu script and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Telugu script. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Telugu here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 Telegu chart

Thaana

 Thaana Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Dhivehi thaana - reading and writing the Maldivian language

Tibetan

 Tibetan alphabet

Tocharian ("North Turkestan Brāhmī")

 Tocharian Brahmi Script

Tulu

 The Tulu Script

Southeast Asia (Mainland)

Cham

Chu Nho, Chu Nôm — see Han

Fraser

Kayah Li

Khmer

 Khmer Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Khmer alphabet

Lanna

Lao

 Lao Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Lao alphabet

Myanmar (Burmese)

 Burmese Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Burmese alphabet

Pahawh Hmong

Pollard

 The Pollard script and its equivalent in the Romanized script.

Tai Dam (Tai scripts of Vietnam)

Tai Le (Dehong)

Tai Lue (Xishuang Banna Dai)

Thai

 Thai Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Thai alphabet

Yi

 Yi Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Southeast Asia (Insular)

Indonesian scripts (Balinese, Batak, Bugis, Javanese, Kaganga)

 Javanese Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Kaganga Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Javanese/Balinese/Batak/Bugis charts

Philippine scripts (Buhid, Hanunóo, Tagalog, Tagbanwa)

 A Philippine Leaf Hector Santos' pages on Philippine scripts. Note: not all of his pages have links on this main page, so you should do a little exploring. One significant page that isn't linked from the main page is  living Philippine scripts.

 Tagalog chart

Europe and Middle East

 The Alphabets of Europe

 Overview of Foreign Accents

 Evolution of Alphabets This site contains a collection animations showing the historical development of various European and Middle-Eastern scripts.

 Orthographic diacritics and multilingual computing Discusses many of the diacritics commonly associated with Latin script.

Arabic

 Arabic Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Perso-Arabic Scripts This link is to an issue of the VishwaBharat e-newsletter, published by the government of India, that includes an article on Arabic script as used in India and its encoding in Unicode. While technical in nature, it provides useful information about the Arabic script, particularly as used for writing languages such as Kashmiri, Sindhi and Urdu. (Note: the description of Unicode encoding for Arabic here is not the definitive description; for details on Unicode, refer to  The Unicode Standard.)

 The Persian alphabet

Armenian

 Armenian Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Cyrillic

 Alphabets Necessary for Various Cyrillic Writing Systems

 Estonian Language Institute’s letter database This page provides an interface to a database with information on Latin and Cyrillic orthographies and Romanisations for a number of languages.

 Croatian Cyrillic Script

 Cyrillic Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs

 Hieroglyphs! (A guide and web directory to Egyptian Hieroglyphs)

Georgian

 Georgian Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Glagolitic

 Glagolitic Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Greek

 Greek Monotonic Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Greek Polytonic Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Hebrew

 AHRC - Ancient Hebrew Alephbet Includes animations showing the evolution of characters in ancient Semitic scripts.

 Hebrew Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 Hebrew alphabet Article in “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” See also the related page  Hebrew Language/Phonology, in particular the section on writing, which in turn includes a link to another Wikipedia article on  matres lectionis.

 Hebrew Cantillation Marks And Their Encoding Provides a detailed discussion of the accents used in Biblical Hebrew.

 Hebrew Issues While this is a technical discussion related to Unicode encoding of Hebrew, it focuses on details that are not often covered in descriptions of Hebrew script.

 Issues in the Representation of Pointed Hebrew in Unicode Although this is a technical discussion, it focuses on some details of how Biblical Hebrew is written that are not often covered in descriptions of Hebrew script.

 Typesetting the Holy Bible in Hebrew, with TeX Any discussion of typesetting a script must consider details of how the script is written. This article by Yannis Haralambous provides many details about Biblical Hebrew.

 Use of dagesh This plain text file has no images or Hebrew-script text, but it does provide some useful discussion of dagesh, mappiq and shureq.

Kurdish

Latin (Roman)

 Coverage of European languages by ISO Latin alphabets This page documents which European languages are covered by the various ISO 8859 coded character sets. This site has lots of other useful information about character encoding standards.

 Estonian Language Institute’s letter database This page provides an interface to a database with information on Latin and Cyrillic orthographies and Romanisations for a number of languages.

 Languagegeek.com A site by Chris Harvey documenting writing systems of aboriginal languages of North America, some of which use Latin.

 Latin Extended Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

 http://www.rferl.org/content/Article/1143309.html Radio Free Europe page on the Latin alphabet for Tatar

 The Vietnamese Writing System

 Transliteration of Non-Roman Scripts This site documents Romanisations (Latin transliterations) for the orthographies of a number of languages.

Old Hungarian Runic

Old Church Slavonic

 Old Church Slavonic Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Phaistos

 Information about the Efforts to Decipher the PHAISTOS DISK

Phoenician

 Phoenician Alphabet Meditation and Divination

Syriac

 Syrcom computing discussion group

 Syriac Brief description from the Monotype Font Foundry's Non-Latin Library.

Pacific

Woleai (Caroline Islands Script)

 Woleai Description of the Woleai script from the Alfabetos de Ayer y de Hoy site.

Rongorongo

 The Rongorongo of Easter Island

Special-Purpose Writing Systems

Blissymbolics

Phonetics

 The International Phonetic Association

 The International Phonetic Alphabet in black print and in braille This page shows braille equivalants for various phonetic symbols.

 The International Teaching Alphabet (i.t.a.) Foundation

Shorthands

 Forschungs- und Ausbildungsstätte für Kurzschrift und Textverarbeitung

 The Joy of Pitman Shorthand

 Shorthand Shorthand Shorthand

 Sténographie, sténotypie ou dictaphone ?

 Stenografi och Melinska Stenografförbundet - startsida

 T A Q U I G R A F I A

 Teeline - Introduction

Writing systems for signed languages

 HamNoSys

 SignWriting: Read, Write, Type Sign Languages

 Writing the Same Signs in Different Transcription Systems

Writing systems for technical notation

 Earliest Uses of Symbols of Set Theory and Logic

Page History

2009-03-04 LP: Removed dead links
2007-08-11 LP: Updated URLs
2003-04-17 PC: page creation



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Note: the opinions expressed in submitted contributions below do not necessarily reflect the opinions of our website.

 Reply
"Nathan Price", Mon, May 10, 2010 01:53 (CDT)

Hindi Script - Primary Hindi Letters with sounds

http://www.ispeakhindi.com/hindi-letters-and-sounds/

List of the primary vowels and consonants in Hindi with a sample of a native speaking saying the sound and links to several learn Hindi podcasts

 Reply
harrison, Tue, Nov 16, 2010 10:25 (CST)

Re: Hindi Script - Primary Hindi Letters with sounds

Thank you. Your link was just added.

 Reply
"Nolence Mwangwego", Fri, Oct 29, 2010 10:42 (CDT)

Malawian writing system

You may be interested to add to African scripts the one which was invented in Malawi in 1979 which is used to write all Malawian languages. It is called the Mwangwego script. It can be seen on the following site: www.mwangwego.com

 Reply
martinpk, Tue, Nov 2, 2010 12:50 (CDT)

Re: Malawian writing system

Added, thanks!

 Reply
"benny", Tue, Feb 26, 2013 09:25 (CST)

Javanese

TuladhaJejeg is a Javanese script (of Javanese language, which is spoken by 80+ million people) that uses SIL Open Font License.

https://sites.google.com/site/jawaunicode/home

 Reply
stephanie_smith, Thu, Aug 22, 2013 06:41 (CDT) [modified by stephanie_smith on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 06:42 (CDT)]

Re: Javanese

Thanks for drawing our attention to this font. I was about to suggest that you post the link on our other site, scriptsource.org, but I see you've already done so - thanks!

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