Javanese script

Javanese script

Infobox Writing system
fam1=Proto-Canaanite alphabet
fam2=Phoenician alphabet
fam3=Aramaic alphabet
fam6=Old Kawi
Old Sundanese

time=c. 900–20th century
sample=Javanese script example.jpg

The Javanese script, natively known as "Carakan" ("Tjarakan"), is the script originally used to write Javanese.

Currently it is difficult to encode or render on computer system, but Unicode support is currently underway [] .


Javanese is an abugida script consisting of 20 main consonants with an inherent vowel "a" (normally pronounced as open back rounded vowel when reciting the consonants). In addition there are vowel markings, contraction of consonants, variant great letters used for ceremony, and marks to indicate poetic structure.

The twenty consonants are:

ha, na, ca, ra, ka
da, ta, sa, wa, la
pa, dha, ja, ya, nya
ma, ga, ba, tha, nga


Alphabet as poem

The alphabet itself forms a poem, of which the line-by-line translation is as follows:

There (were/was) warriors
(They) had animosity (among each other)
(They were) equally powerful (in fight)
Both (were) dead.

in detail:

"hana" / "ana" = there were/was
"caraka" = warrior (actually, 'one who is loyal to and trusted by someone')
"data" = have/has
"sawala" = difference (regarding a matter)
"padha" = same, equal
"jayanya" = 'their power', 'jaya' could mean 'glory' as well
"maga" = 'both'
"bathanga" = 'be a dead body' = 'die', since 'bathang' = corpse

imilarities between Balinese and Javanese Script

Further reading

There are very few items available in English about Javanese script; however, the following give some introduction:

* Gallop, Annabel Teh. "Golden letters: writing traditions of Indonesia = Surat emas: budaya tulis di Indonesia" (with Bernard Arps). London: British Library; Jakarta: Yayasan Lontar, c1991. ISBN 9798083067
* Pigeaud, Theodore G. Th. "Javanese and Balinese manuscripts and some codices written in related idioms spoken in Java and Bali: descriptive catalogue, with examples of Javanese script, introductory chapters, a general index of names and subjects" Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1975. ISBN 3515019642

ee also

* History of the alphabet
* The Brahmic script and its descendants
* Folk etymology relevant to Javanese etymology
* Balinese script, a very similar script used in the neighbouring island of Bali

External links

* [ Hanacaraka Font & Resources] (in Indonesian)
* Entry on [ Javanese] at [ -- A guide to writing systems]
* Javanese script (hanacaraka) calligraphy service in the web [ ]
* [ Pallawa :: Javanese Script Software ]

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