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Historic Mañi scripts
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alphasyllabaries galore
This public article was written by protondonor, and last updated on 29 Sep 2019, 03:33.

[comments] Menu 1. Palm-leaf Terminian 2. Old Tekaunye syllabary 3. Mañi abugida Note: less shitty pictures of the palm-leaf and semi-syllabic scripts coming soon sometime, when I get around to it

The 3 ancient scripts of Quaxin Xun, primarily used by  Mañi, belong to the Letsic-Terminian script family.

[top]Palm-leaf Terminian

The oldest Quaxin Xun script, called palm-leaf Terminian, is an adaptation of Terminian for writing on palm leaves. Although adapted to Mañi, it was more often used to write Terminian.



The alternations in the above chart are not genuine phonological alternations, but reflect the varied ways and conventions of transliterating Terminian script. Writers using palm-leaf Terminian to write Mañi used differing and frequently innovative transliteration conventions. For instance, some texts typically transcribe the Mañi stops with voiceless stop symbols, others with voiced stop symbols, and yet others depending on whether they were in a cluster with a voiced consonant or a nasal vowel (which may give modern scholars of ancient Ngerupic languages some insight into how certain dialects of Mañi pronounced the phonologically voiceless stops).

[top]Old Tekaunye syllabary

The first script designed specifically for the Mañi language is called the Old Tekaunye syllabary, due to a large number of early texts being discovered near Tekaunye.



There are three types of glyphs in this syllabary: CV combinations, standalone consonants, and standalone vowels. Some consonants (p, t, ch, k, m, n, ñ, ŋ) are written only with CV combinations. If one of these consonants appears in a coda, it is written with either the Ca glyph or the glyph using the vowel from the previous syllable. The glides w, y are written as vowels u, i.

The phonetic value of the glyphs in this syllabary are not derived directly from the phonetic vowels of palm-leaf Terminian, nor are the glyphs. It is most likely that the Old Tekaunye syllabary was invented by a scribe, or multiple scribes, who was familiar with the appearance of palm-leaf Terminian script, but not literate in it, and possibly not literate in any alphabetic script.

[top]Mañi abugida

The Old Tekaunye syllabary, after a couple centuries of use, transitioned into a more internally consistent abugida. The Ca forms of the glyphs from the Old Tekaunye syllabary are kept, and other CV combinations are shown by combinations with diacritic-like versions of the standalone vowel letters. In addition to the tone and nasality markings from the syllabary, the abugida has also developed a virama. As in the syllabary, there are no distinct letters for w or y.



Here is an example of the abugida used to write running text:
na"uaiekie' na"jni puazija"ni nu"m na'qo'liekie' iaa naha ha'pepaqpakja" u"'mutma"ni

This transliterates to "Nąwayekyè nąñni pwaziñąni nųm, nąʼòļyekyè yaa naha hàpepaʼpakñą ų̀mutmąni."
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