Ol Chiki script

Ol Chiki script

Infobox Writing system
name=Ol Chiki
languages=Santali language

The Ol Chiki script, also known as Ol Cemetʼ ("language of writing"), Ol Ciki, Ol (and sometimes as the Santali alphabet), was created in 1925 by Pandit Raghunath Murmu for the Santali language. Previously, Santali had been written with the Bengali alphabet, Oriya alphabet, or Latin alphabet, on the rare occasions it was written at all. But because Santali is not an Indo-Aryan language (like most other languages in the north of India), Indic scripts didn't have letters for all of Santali's phonemes, especially its stop consonants and vowels, which made writing the language accurately in an unmodified Indic script difficult. The detailed analysis was given by Dr. Byomkes Chakrabarti in his 'Comparative Study of Santali and Bengali'. Missionaries (first of all: Paul Olaf Bodding, a Norwegian) brought the Latin alphabet, which was better at representing some Santali stops, but vowels were still problematic. Unlike most Indic scripts, which are derived from Brahmi , like the Latin alphabet), Ol Chiki is a true alphabet, not an abugida, with vowels given equal representation with consonants. Additionally, because it was designed specifically for the language, one letter could be assigned to each phoneme.

Ol Chiki has 30 letters, the forms of which are intended to evoke natural shapes. Linguist Norman Zide said "The shapes of the letters are not arbitrary, but reflect the names for the letters, which are words, usually the names of objects or actions representing conventionalized form in the pictorial shape of the characters." [ [http://wesanthals.tripod.com/id45.html Ol Chiki script] ] It is written from left to right. Unfortunately, despite Murmu's efforts, literacy in Santali is still very low, between 10% and 30%.

Unicode chart


ee also

* [http://www.omniglot.com/writing/santali.htm Santali alphabet (Omniglot)]
* Byomkes Chakrabarti

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