orthography notes

Updated 8 April, 2024

This page brings together basic information about the Balinese script and its use for the Balinese language. It aims to provide a brief, descriptive summary of the modern, printed orthography and typographic features, and to advise how to write Balinese using Unicode.

Referencing this document

Richard Ishida, Balinese Orthography Notes, 08-Apr-2024,


Select part of this sample text to show a list of characters, with links to more details.
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ᬫᬓᬲᬫᬶ​ᬫᬦᬸᬲᬦᬾ​ᬓᬳᭂᬫ᭄ᬩᬲᬶᬦ᭄ᬫᬳᬃᬤᬶᬓ​ᬮᬦ᭄ᬧᬢᭂᬄ​ᬲᬚ᭄ᬭᭀᬦᬶᬂ​ᬓᬳᬦᬦ᭄ᬮᬦ᭄ᬓ᭄ᬯᬲ᭟ ᬳᬶᬧᬸᬦ᭄ᬓᬵᬦᬸᬕ᭄ᬭᬳᬶᬦ᭄ᬯᬶᬯᬾᬓ​ᬮᬦ᭄ᬩᬸᬤ᭄ᬥᬶ᭞ ᬧᬦ᭄ᬢᬭᬦᬶᬂ​ᬫᬦᬸᬲ​ᬫᬗ᭄ᬤᬦᬾ​ᬧᬭᬲ᭄ᬧᬭᭀᬲ᭄ᬫᬲᭂᬫᭂᬢᭀᬦᬦ᭄᭟

Source: UDHR, article 1 in Omniglot

Usage & history

Origins of the Balinese script, 11thC – today.


└ Aramaic

└ Brahmi

└ Pallava

└ Old Kawi

└ Balinese

+ Batak

+ Baybayin

+ Javanese

+ Lontara

+ Makasar

+ Old Sundanese

+ Recong

+ Rejang

The Balinese script is used for writing the Balinese language spoken on the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali. It may also be used for Old Javanese, and liturgical Sanskrit. With some additions, it is also used to write Sasak in the neighbouring island of Lombok.

Everyday use of the script has largely been eclipsed by the Latin alphabet, but Balinese has a significant presence in traditional ceremonies and texts of the Hindu religion. It is also used for signage on roads, at the entrances to villages, and on government buildings. Traditional literature is published on a small scale, but little modern literature. Sekaha Pesantian community groups gather to read the Balinese script in a social context, commonly in song form.

ᬅᬓ᭄ᬱᬭᬩᬮᬶ ạk͓ṡ̂rbli aksara bali Balinese script

Balinese script is derived from Old Kawi, and ultimately from Brahmi. Historically, Balinese was written on palm leaves or inscribed in stone. Its similarity to the Javanese script in form and behaviour leads some to propose that they are typological variants of each other.

More information: Scriptsource and Wikipedia.

Basic features

The script is an abugida. See the table to the right for a brief overview of features for the Balinese language.

Balinese text runs left to right in horizontal lines.

Words are not separated by spaces, however syllables may be separated by ZWSP, as long as they don't fall inside a stack.

Stacked consonants and conjoined pairs span word boundaries. This means that text must be wrapped at orthographic syllable boundaries, and not at word boundaries. Hyphenation occurs, using 1B60 at the line end to indicate the break.

❯ consonantSummary

The 18 consonant letters used for pure Balinese words are supplemented by 15 more derived from Sanskrit and Kawi words, some of which are used as honorifics, a little like capital letters. Repertoire extensions for 8 non-native sounds are achieved by applying the rerekan diacritic to characters.

Consonant clusters are represented by stacked consonants (many subjoined consonants have alternative shapes) or conjoined pairs. Occasionally, a visible adeg adeg (virama) is used.

Syllable-initial clusters use 3 subjoined versions of ordinary consonants or vocalics for the second consonant.

Word-final consonant sounds may be represented by 3 final-consonant diacritics. Otherwise, if nothing follows, they are ordinary consonants followed by a visible .

❯ basicV

The Balinese orthography is an abugida with one inherent vowel, generally pronounced a, but ə when word-final or in some affixes.

Other post-consonant vowels are written using 11 combining marks (vowel signs). There are 2 pre-base glyphs and 6 circumgraphs.

In principle, Balinese has no multipart vowels, however the 6 circumgraphs can also be decomposed into 2 parts. Those can involve up to 2 glyphs, and glyphs can surround the base consonant(s) on up to 3 sides.

Independent vowels are used at the beginning of a word for standalone vowel sounds. Inside a word these are written using vowel signs applied to .

The inherent vowel is suppressed using , which is invisible in consonant clusters, but is visible elsewhere, and is used word-finally.

Balinese has vocalics, and their use is required for certain consonant-vowel combinations.

Balinese has a set of native digits, and uses native punctuation marks.

Character index



Basic consonants




Extended consonants






Not used for contemporary Balinese


Combining marks


Vowel signs
















To be investigated

Items to show in lists


The following represents the repertoire of the Balinese language.

Click on the sounds to see where else in the document they are referred to.

Phones in a lighter colour are non-native or allophones .

Vowel sounds

Plain vowels

i u e o ə əː ə əː ɛ ɔ a ɑː ɑː


aːi aːu

The sources are not very clear about Balinese vowel length. Wiktionary IPA transcriptions make no distinction in pronunciation between the long and short vowel graphemes, and this is backed up in some sources. One study describes Balinese speakers reduce long vowels to short when speaking English. Clynes@Clynes: Topics in the Phonology and Morphosyntax of Balinese, argues that some apparently long vowels are parts of separate syllables and split into different sounds under morphological changes.

On the other hand, sources including Ida Bagus Adi Sudewasb and Wikipediawl indicate that there is a difference in vowel length.

Consonant sounds

labial dental alveolar post-
palatal velar pharyngeal glottal
stop p b t d       k ɡ    
affricate       t͡ʃ d͡ʒ        
fricative f v   s z     x ɣ ħ ʕ h
nasal m   n   ɲ ŋ  
approximant w   l   j    
trill/flap     r  


Vowel summary table

The following table summarises the main vowel to character assigments.

ⓘ represents the inherent vowel. Multipart forms are not shown here because all vowels and diphthongs are normally represented using one of the atomic characters listed here. Standalone vowels are shown in the right-hand column.

ᬶ␣ᬷ␣ ␣ᬸ␣ᬹ
ᬇ␣ᬳᬶ␣ᬈ␣ᬳᬷ␣ ␣ᬉ␣ᬳᬸ␣ᬊ␣ᬳᬹ
ᬾ␣ ␣ᭀ
ᬏ␣ᬳᬾ␣ ␣ᬑ␣ᬳᭀ

For more details see vowel_mappings.

This is the full set of characters needed to represent the vowels of the Balinese language.


Inherent vowel


a following a consonant is not written, but is seen as an inherent part of the consonant letter, so ka is written by simply using the consonant letter.

However, the inherent vowel is pronounced ə at the end of a word and also in prefixes ma-, pa- and da-.

Vowels after consonants

Post-consonant vowels are written using 11 combining marks (vowel signs). There are 2 pre-base glyphs and 6 circumgraphs.

In principle, Balinese has no multipart vowels, however the 6 circumgraphs can also be decomposed into 2 parts. Those can involve up to 2 glyphs, and glyphs can surround the base consonant(s) on up to 3 sides.

Vowel signs


Balinese uses the following dedicated combining marks for vowels. They are all vowel signs.

ᬶ␣ᬷ␣ᬸ␣ᬹ␣ᬾ␣ᭀ␣ᭂ␣ᭃ␣ᬵ␣ ␣ᬿ␣ᭁ

To represent the sounds or , Balinese uses vocalic letters. A sequence such as *ᬭᭂ U+1B2D LETTER RA + U+1B42 VOWEL SIGN PEPET is not used. See vocalics.

Six of the vowel signs are spacing marks, meaning that they consume horizontal space when added to a base consonant.

All vowel signs are typed and stored after the base consonant, and the glyph rendering system takes care of the positioning at display time. The glyphs used to represent vowels, whether alone or in multipart vowels, are arranged around a syllable onset, which may be 2 consonants, rather than just around the immediately preceding consonant. See prebase and circumgraphs.

Multipart vowels

Multipart vowels are only produced when text is decomposed; 5 of the circumgraphs split off the 1B35 glyph, to create the following pairs:


Pre-base vowel signs


Two vowel signs appear to the left of the base consonant letter or cluster.


These are combining marks that are always stored after the syllable-initial consonant. The rendering process places the glyph before the consonant. Click on the following word to see the sequence of characters in storage.


These vowel characters are actually placed before the start of the orthographic syllable. This means that a word with a consonant cluster at the start separates the pre-base vowel from any post-base vowels by more than one consonant character (see fig_prebase).

A pre-base vowel sign. Although stored after d, it appears before the nd cluster.
show composition




Five vowel signs are usually produced by a single combining character with visually separate parts, that appear on different sides of the consonant onset.


This section includes some vowel signs described in the section vocalics.

Like pre-base glyphs, these are combining marks that are always stored after the base consonant. The rendering process places the glyphs around the base consonant, as needed. Click on the following word to see the sequence of characters in storage.

A circumgraph. The right-hand side ligates with the base character in this font.
show composition


Glyphs can appear on up to 3 sides of the base. Some of the glyphs merge with the base character's glyph (see context).

These circumgraphs have canonically equivalent decomposed forms (see vs_encoding).

Vowel sign placement

Show details about vowel glyph positioning.

The following list shows where vowel signs, including vocalics, are positioned around a base consonant to produce vowels, and how many instances of that pattern there are.

  • 2 pre-base, eg. ᬓᬾ ᬓᬿ
  • 1 post-base, eg. ᬓᬵ kɑ̄
  • 3 above-base, eg. ᬓᬶ ᬓᬷ ᬓᭂ
  • 3 below-base, eg. ᬓᬸ ᬓᬹ ᬓᬺ
  • 2 pre+post-base, eg. ᬓᭀ ᬓᭁ
  • 1 below+post-base, eg. ᬓᬻ
  • 1 below+above-base, eg. ᬓᬼ
  • 1 below+above+post-base, eg. ᬓᬽ
  • 1 above+post-base, eg. ᬓᭃ kə̄

At maximum, vowel components can occur concurrently on 3 sides of the base.

Vowel length

The sources are not very clear about whether Balinese vowels vary in length during pronunciation (see phonemesV). The Balinese vowel sign repertoire does, however, contain glyphs that distinguish between short and long vowels (see basicV).


If Balinese nasalises any vowel sounds, it is not explicitly marked in the orthography.

Standalone vowels

Balinese has 2 ways to represent standalone vowels: using independent vowels, or using vowel signs.

Independent vowels

ᬇ␣ᬈ␣ᬉ␣ᬊ␣ᬏ␣ᬑ␣ᬅ␣ᬆ␣ ␣ᬐ␣ᬒ

At the beginning of a word, most standalone vowels are represented using one of the 10 independent vowel characters. The set includes a character to represent the inherent vowel sound.



The vowels 1B42 and 1B43 don't have an independent form, and have to be used alongside at the beginning of a word.

In Sasak, independent vowel can be followed by an explicit 1B44 in word- or syllable-final position, where it indicates the glottal stop. Other consonants can also be subjoined to it. eg. ᬳᬫᬅ᭄ hmạ͓ amaʔ

Vowel signs

ᬳᬶ␣ᬳᬷ␣ᬳᬸ␣ᬳᬹ␣ᬳᬾ␣ᬳᭀ␣ᬳᭂ␣ᬳᭃ␣ᬳᬵ␣ ␣ᬳᬿ␣ᬳᭁ

Typically, a standalone vowel is represented by a vowel sign attached to , which acts as a carrier, eg. ᬤᬳᬾᬭᬄ

Without a vowel sign the letter may represent a, eg. ᬳᬮᬲ᭄

However, it may be unclear from the written text whether represents the sound h or is used as a carrier for a vowel, eg. compare ᬳᬶᬕ ᬳᬶᬕᭂᬮ᭄


Balinese is not a tonal language.

Vowel absence

Balinese uses (the Balinese equivalent of the Sanskrit virama) to kill the inherent vowel after a consonant.

The adeg adeg is always visible at the end of a word that ends in consonant and isn't followed by another consonant, eg.


It is usually hidden (with occasional exceptions) when the consonant is part of a consonant cluster (see clusters).

Sometimes it is used to clarify the distinction between a word-final consonant and a medial consonant by preventing the stacking of the final consonant in the previous word and the first consonant in the next, eg. compare: ᬧᬓ᭄ᬭᬫᬦ᭄ ᬧᬓ᭄‌ᬭᬫᬦ᭄

Vowel sounds to characters

This section maps Balinese vowel sounds to common graphemes in the Balinese orthography. Click on a grapheme to find other mentions on this page (links appear at the bottom of the page). Click on the character name to see examples and for detailed descriptions of the character(s) shown.

Dependent vowels are shown to the left, and independent vowels are shown on the right. Independent vowels are usually only used in word-initial position. Word-internal standalone vowels (and word-initial in the case of ə and əː) use the vowel sign over a silent 1B33. Those combinations are not shown here. Vowel signs that decompose are shown only in precomposed form.

Sounds listed as 'infrequent' are allophones, or sounds used for foreign words, Sanskrit, etc.

Plain vowels




















Inherent vowel at the end of a word and also in prefixes ma-, pa- and da-.













Inherent vowel





Diphthongs and other combinations






















At the beginning of a syllable the vocalic is treated as a consonant, eg. ᬓᭂᬋᬂ ᬢᬍᬃ

As a second component in a consonant cluster, the vocalic ra repa has a postfixed form and a subjoined form.

When the sound occurs after a syllable-initial consonant, ie. as a medial consonant in the same syllable, use the vowel sign 1B3A, which produces the subjoined form. The sequence of characters here is simply Cᬺ, eg. ᬓᬺᬰ᭄ᬡ

When the sound occurs after a syllable-final consonant, ie. as the start of a new syllable, use the conjoined (postfix) form ᭄ᬋ. The sequence of Unicode characters is C᭄ᬋ, eg. ᬧᬓ᭄ᬋᬋᬄ


Consonant summary table

The following table summarises the main consonant to character assigments.

Consonants used for native Balinese words are shown in the left-hand column. On the right are consonants used for words from Kawi, Sanskrit, and other languages.

ᬨ␣ᬪ␣ᬞ␣ᬝ␣ᬣ␣ᬟ␣ᬠ␣ᬥ␣ᬔ␣ᬖ␣ ␣ᬤ᬴␣ᬗ᬴
ᬰ␣ᬱ␣ ␣ᬧ᬴␣ᬯ᬴␣ᬚ᬴␣ᬓ᬴␣ᬕ᬴␣ᬳ᬴

For more details see consonant_mappings.

Basic consonants

The characters listed here and in the following sections also have conjoined and/or subjoined forms, which may differ significantly from those shown here. See clusters for a list of glyph shapes.

This section lists the basic 18 consonants known as aksara wreṣāstra (ᬅᬓ᭄ᬱᬭᬯᬺᬱᬵᬲ᭄ᬢ᭄ᬭ). Whereas the table just above takes you from sounds to letters, the following simply lists the basic consonant letters (however, since the orthography is highly phonetic there is little difference in ordering).

ᬧ␣ᬩ␣ᬢ␣ᬤ␣ᬓ␣ᬕ␣ ␣ᬘ␣ᬚ␣ ␣ᬲ␣ᬳ␣ ␣ᬫ␣ᬦ␣ᬗ␣ᬜ␣ ␣ᬯ␣ᬭ␣ᬮ␣ᬬ

at the beginning of a word or after a preceding vowel is mostly used as a support for a vowel sign (see standalone), and is not pronounced or transcribed. Word finally with a suffix vowel, however, it is transcribed.loc

Additional/honorific consonants

These are called aksara sualalita (ᬅᬓ᭄ᬱᬭᬰ᭄ᬯᬮᬮᬶᬢ).

Many of the additional consonants are commonly used in words originating from Arabic and Dutch, and are most common in north Bali and Lombok. When used in pure Balinese words, they are similar to capital letters and are used to create an honorific effect. There are similar characters in Javanese.

They don't add any consonant sounds to the Balinese repertoire. In words originating from Sanskrit, Old Javanese, or Old Balinese, they represent aspirated or other consonants.loc

Additional consonants used for Sanskrit words.


Additional consonants used for words from Kawi.


Two consonants, and , are considered very rare, and one other, , seems to be known from only one word:


(It is possible that an original ai may have been lost in Balinese, to be replaced by the glyph for jʰa.)

A number of the Sanskrit or Kawi consonants are rather poorly attested. The letter is only found in non-initial position following , ie. ᬘ᭄ᬙ c͓CMost of the series that originally represented retroflex sounds is often omitted in books about the script.


The combining mark is used, as is a similar sign in Javanese, to extend the character repertoire for foreign sounds.


The first 7 of the 8 listed above are attested in Library of Congress transliterations and in earlier Sasak orthography. The 8th, ᬤ᬴ could be used for one-to-one transliteration for Javanese ɖ.

In rendering, the dots of these letters appear above the top character, which can cause some ambiguity in reading. The following are all visually indistinguishable: ᬓ᬴᭄ᬚ kˑ͓ʤ xja ᬓ᭄ᬚ᬴ k͓ʤˑ kza ᬓ᬴᭄ᬚ᬴ kˑ͓ʤˑ xza

In practice these combinations are probably rather rare.


In recent times, Sasak users abandoned the use of the Javanese-influenced rerekan in favour of a series of modified letters (see above), making use, in addition, of some of unused Kawi letters for the Arabic sounds. In place of ᬓ᬴ x and ᬕ᬴ ɣ, for instance, the new fusion of KA and HA, and the Kawi letter are used.

(Does the fact that these relate to aspirated or retroflex forms originally affect the pronunciation?)


Onset consonants


The consonants ya, ra, la and wa regularly appear immediately after the initial consonant in a syllable. Unlike Javanese, Balinese has no special characters for these medial sounds (other than the vocalics mentioned earlier); they are just written using the normal approach for dealing with consonant clusters. These shapes are called pangangge aksara (ᬧᬗ᭢​ᬗ᭄ᬕᬅᬓ᭄ᬱᬭ).


Multiple medials can occur: r or l can be followed by w or y, eg.


In addition, the vocalics can produce consonant sounds (tied to a specific vowel) in medial position, eg.


See clusters for more details on shaping of glyphs.

Final consonants

Word-final consonant sounds with no following consonant are by default represented by ordinary consonant characters, followed by . which is visible if not followed by another consonant. These shapes are called



However, there is also a set of combining marks for syllable-final consonants that don't need to be followed by the adeg adeg.


1B02 and 1B04 only appear at the end of a word, eg. ᬓᭂᬋᬂ ᬫᬗᬄ unless the word involves repetition, eg. ᬘᬾᬂᬘᬾᬂ

1B03 can appear at the end of any syllable.


A syllable-final diacritic may appear above a stack. It is typed and stored after the other components in the stack, eg. ᬩᬗ᭄ᬓᬸᬂ

When the syllable has a spacing vowel sign, any above-base final-consonant mark appears over the base character, rather than over the vowel sign. This is positioned by the font; the final consonant mark is still typed and stored after the other syllable components, eg. ᬕᭂᬤᭀᬂ

See also cchar_modre.

Consonant clusters

The absence of a vowel sound between two or more consonants is visually indicated in one of the following ways.

  1. Stacked consonants, where the non-initial (subjoined) consonant appears below the initial, often with a different shape from normal.
  2. Conjoined consonants, where consonants sit side-by-side but the non-initial consonant has a slightly different form than usual.
  3. A visible adeg adeg following the initial consonant.

See also finals for a dedicated final consonant mark followed by a regular consonant.

Word boundaries. Conjuncts span word boundaries. Because there are no spaces between words, a cluster is created when a consonant with no following vowel at the end of a word is followed by a consonant at the beginning of the next word.

In the sequence of words kahanan lan kwasa the initial consonant of each word is subjoined below the final consonant of the preceding word.

Stacks and conjoined sequences are not normally split at line ends (see word and linebreak for the ramifications of this).

Conjunct formation

See a table of 2-consonant clusters.
The table allows you to test results for various fonts.

Stacked and conjoined consonant clusters are referred to as conjuncts.

In Unicode, the stacking and conjoining behaviour is achieved by adding 1B44 between the consonants. The font hides the glyph automatically when a conjunct is formed.

In some cases, however, the adeg adeg remains visible (see adegadeg).


To represent consonants without intervening vowels, the non-initial consonant is typically drawn below the initial consonant, and with a slightly different shape. These subjoined forms are called gantungan (ᬕᬦ᭄ᬢᬸᬗᬦ᭄).

Many of the subjoined forms are just slightly smaller versions of the original, but several have very different shapes altogether, most of which ligate with the cluster initial consonant by joining strokes.

There can be up to 3 consonants combined in this way, but the third consonant must be one of ya, ra, la or wa.

The lists below show consonants in their normal and subjoined forms

Native letters
Sanskrit letters
Kawi letters

Conjoined consonants

In conjoined clusters, the consonant glyphs remain side by side, but the non-initial consonant is reduced on the left side. These conjoined forms are called gempelan (ᬕᬾᬫ᭄ᬧᬾᬮᬦ᭄).

The left side of is reduced when conjoined.
show composition


This list shows consonants in their normal and conjoined forms

native letters
Kawi letters

The conjoined is unusual in that it also adds a stroke below the initial consonant (see fig_conjoined_sa). This helps distinguish it from the conjoined p.

when conjoined not only loses some of its left side but also adds a glyph below the initial consonant.
show composition


Visible adeg adeg

Because there is no word separator, consonants at the end of one word and beginning of the following word are normally stacked, too.

In some cases this leads to ambiguity about whether this is one or two words. If you really want to make clear which is which, you can use an explicit adeg-adeg, eg. compare ᬧᬓ᭄ᬭᬫᬦ᭄ ᬧᬓ᭄‌ᬭᬫᬦ᭄

The Unicode Standard recommends the use of 200C (ZWNJ) after the adeg-adeg in order to prevent conjunct formation. However, not many people understand the function of ZWNJ or can access it easily from the keypad. It also doesn't introduce line-break opportunities. A better solution may be to use 200B (ZWSP). This character is needed anyway on most systems in order to allow line-breaking, and it appears to work equally well for this.

A somewhat ambiguous situation arises where conventions prevent certain combinations stacking. For example, the name of the village tamblung should not stack the mbl, but should look as follows.


The Unicode Standard advises to use a zero-width non-joiner after ma, to achieve this.

Observation: Note that this may also be achieved by intelligence in the font, as was actually the case when I generated this example (click on it to see). It's not clear to me what is the preferred approach: put ZWNJ in only when the font doesn't do what you want, or use it always. The latter may lead to more consistent content where different fonts are applied to the text (eg. after cut and paste). In theory, this shouldn't affect searching and sorting, although some applications may not ignore the ZWNJ as they should.

Dedicated final marks

Balinese represents some final consonants using dedicated marks (see finals). Such final marks are followed by ordinary consonant shapes in consonant clusters. There is no visual indication of missing vowel sounds other than the use of the mark itself.

A cluster involving a dedicated final mark doesn't form a conjunct.
show composition


Consonant sounds to characters

This section maps Balinese consonant sounds to common graphemes in the Balinese orthography.

The left column contains native Balinese letters. The right column contains letters borrowed from Sanskrit or Kawi, or extended with rerekan.

Click on a grapheme to find other mentions on this page (links appear at the bottom of the page). Click on the character name to see examples and for detailed descriptions of the character(s) shown. Sounds listed as 'infrequent' are allophones, or sounds used for foreign words, Sanskrit, etc.

































Used in only one word.














































in vocalic .

in vocalic rəː.




in vocalic .

in vocalic ləː.






Modre symbols

Two combining marks have a specialist usage related to (usually religious) Sanskrit words.


when combined with certain syllables becomes part of the Aksara Modre, or holy letters, which are used to write words in Sanskrit, usually part of prayers. This character only appears in Sanskrit texts, eg. ᬰᬶᬤ᭄ᬥᬀ siddham

appears only in holy letters, eg. ᬫᬁ mŋ̽ (Mang)When combined with independent vowel ạʷ it becomes a special symbol called omkara and is pronounced m. In this form it is used to represent god, eg. ᬒᬁᬱᬦ᭄ᬢᬶ᭞ᬱᬦ᭄ᬢᬶ᭞ᬱᬦ᭄ᬢᬶ᭞ᬒᬁ

᭜ᬁ   ᭟ᬁ   ᭛ᬁ.
Modre symbols that include ulu candra.

Musical marks and symbols

The other symbols in the Balinese block are all musical symbols, and are not described here.


There is also a set of musical diacritical marks, which are not described here.


Encoding choices

Balinese is a script where different sequences of Unicode characters may produce the same visual result. Here we look at those related to vowels.

Encoding vowel signs

Five of the circumgraphs can be written as a single character, or as two characters, the second being [U+1B35 BALINESE VOWEL SIGN TEDUNG] in all cases.

Atomic Decomposed
1B3E 1B35
1B42 1B35
1B3F 1B35
1B3A 1B35
1B3C 1B35

The single code point per vowel sign is preferred, however the parts are separated in Unicode Normalisation Form D (NFD), and recomposed in Unicode Normalisation Form C (NFC), so both approaches are canonically equivalent.

Whichever approach is used, the vowel signs must be typed and stored after the consonant characters they surround, and in left to right order.

Encoding independent vowels

Three of the independent vowels can be written as a single character, or as two. Again, this always involves .

Atomic Decomposed
1B09 1B35
1B11 1B35
1B05 1B35

The precomposed characters decompose in NFD, and reform again in NFC. It is generally recommended to use the precomposed character.

Combining mark order

The following indicates the expected ordering of Unicode characters within a Burmese combining character sequence. The labels are those used for the Unicode Indic Syllabic Categories. Follow the links to see what characters are represented by a given label.

Burmese has 2 types of combining character sequence (CCS).

The first type is a base plus Virama. This is the non-final part of a consonant cluster or a consonant with a killed vowel, and consists of just the base and the virama.

The general CCS type uses the following preferred ordering after a base.

  1. Nukta
  2. Vowel_Dependent (15)
  3. Bindu (3) | Visarga | Consonant_Final

Ordering characters as shown above avoids potential ambiguities and maximises the likelihood of success when rendering the text.


There is a set of Balinese digits, and they are used in the same way as ASCII digits in Latin text.


However, because many of the digit symbols are indistinguishable from other Balinese letters, numbers are typically surrounded by , so that they are clearly distinguished, eg. ᬩᬮᬶ᭞᭓᭞ᬚᬸᬮᬶ᭞᭑᭙᭘᭒᭟

Text direction

Balinese text is written horizontally, left to right.

Show default bidi_class properties for characters in the Balinese orthography described here.

Glyph shaping & positioning

You can experiment with examples using the Balinese character app.

Context-based shaping & positioning

Balinese text relies on OpenType rules to correctly position glyphs and shape them according to the surrounding text.

One major area where this applies is in the use of conjunct forms for consonant clusters. See the relevant sections for lists of stacked and conjoined shapes.

Stacked conjunct forms in the word om swastiastu.
show composition


The following is a selection of other examples of contextual shaping and positioning.

After a stacked consonant, the vowel signs that would normally appear below a base are moved to the side, and the shape is modified.

  Composition Example
ᬓ᭄ᬭᬸ 1B44 1B2D 1B38 ᬓ᭄ᬭᬸᬦ
ᬓ᭄ᬬᬹ  1B44 1B2C 1B39  

and the right side of combine with several of the consonants. The table below shows 2 examples.

  Composition Example
ᬳᬵ  ᬳᬵ  
ᬭᬵ ᬭᬵ ᬢᬭᬵ

When a vowel sign and a syllable-final consonant mark appear over the same base, they are typically drawn side by side. Combinations such as rerekan and above-base vowels are typically stacked.§

  Composition Example
ᬓᬷᬃ ᬷᬃ ᬢᬷᬃᬢ
ᬰᬶᬁ ᬶᬁ  


Typographic units

Word boundaries

Words are not separated by spaces, and in fact some word boundaries occur between stacked consonants. This means that segmentation for line-breaking, etc. uses orthographic syllables as a unit (see graphemes).

In this sequence of three words kahanan + lan + kwasa, the initial letter of both the 2nd and 3rd words are subjoined below the last letter of the previous word.

ᬓᬳᬦᬦ᭄ pŋn kahanan
ᬮᬦ᭄ pŋn lan
ᬓ᭄ᬯᬲ dik kwasa


Grapheme clusters alone are not sufficient to represent typographic units in Balinese. Stacks and conjoined sequences are very common and must not be split apart by edit operations that visually change the text (such as letter-spacing, first-letter highlighting, and line breaking). For those operations one needs to segment the text using orthographic syllables, which string grapheme clusters together with , which has an Indic Syllabic Category of Virama.

The adeg-adeg is rendered visibly if it is not part of a consonant cluster, for example at the end of a word followed by a space.

Balinese doesn't use word boundaries for text segmentation, relying instead on grapheme boundaries because consonant clusters that span word boundaries are combined into stacks or conjoined forms.

Grapheme clusters

Base Combining_mark* Joiner?

Combining marks may include zero or more of the following types of character:

  1. Nukta (see extendedC)
  2. Dependent vowels (see combiningV and vocalics)
  3. Final consonants (see finals)
  4. Virama (adeg adeg) (see clusters and novowel)

Any of the above may occur after a consonant base. Independent vowel bases usually only have final consonant marks.

The following examples show a variety of grapheme clusters:

Click on the text version of these words to see more detail about the composition.


Note how grapheme clusters break up the conjuncts. This is not usually desirable (see orthographicS just below).

Larger typographic units

(Consonant Rerekan? Adeg_adeg)* Grapheme_cluster

Balinese commonly stacks or conjoins glyphs, to form conjuncts. The conjuncts represent consonant clusters, which can arise (a) where one phonetic syllable ends in a consonant letter and the following syllable begins with a consonant, or (b) when most medial consonants are written, since Balinese uses conjunct forms for sequences such as Cr-, Cy-, Cw-, Cry-, etc. The cluster of consonants that make up the conjunct are all encoded with adeg adeg between them (see clusters).

Balinese is unusual in that these conjuncts occur across word boundaries, so the word-final consonant of the first word may be stacked above the word-initial consonant of the second. See fig_kahananlankwasa2 for an example.

Grapheme clusters terminate after a sequence of marks containing an adeg adeg, but editorial operations that change the visual appearance of the text, such as letter-spacing, first-letter highlighting, line-breaking, and justification, should never split conjunct forms apart. For this reason, an alternative way of segmenting graphemes is needed. This may not apply, however, for some other operations such as cursor movement or backwards delete.

Where conjuncts appear, a typographic unit contains multiple grapheme clusters. The non-final grapheme clusters all end with , and the final grapheme cluster begins with a consonant.

The following are examples.

Click on the text version of these words to see more detail about the composition.


Note that one of the characteristic features of the Indic category of Virama is that the adeg adeg is visible when not followed by a consonant, but invisible when a consonant does follow (creating a stack). This means that the adeg adeg sometimes participates in a simple grapheme cluster, but when followed by a consonant it becomes the 'glue' that creates an orthographic syllable.

On the infrequent occasions when an adeg adeg needs to be visible even though it is followed by another base, an invisible character must be added to prevent it joining with the following base. A zero-width space can achieve that.


Browser behaviour

Test in your browser. The words test units that equate to grapheme clusters only, and others that include conjuncts. First, the text is displayed in a contenteditable paragraph, then in a textarea. Results are reported for Gecko (Firefox), Blink (Chrome), and WebKit (Safari) on a Mac.

ᬢᬷᬃᬢ ᬓᬺᬰ᭄ᬡ ᬧᬾᬜ᭄ᬚᭀᬃ ᬢᬶᬫ᭄ᬧᬮ᭄ᬩ᭄ᬭ᭄ᬬᬕ᭄

Cursor movement. Move the cursor through the text.
Gecko steps through the whole text using grapheme clusters. It takes 2 or more steps (depending on the number of GCs) to get through the stacks, one grapheme cluster at a time. Blink and WebKit step through all words using the orthographic syllables described here (ie. they step over a stack and all associated combining characters in one jump).

Selection. Place the cursor next to a character and hold down shift while pressing an arrow key.
The behaviour is the same as for cursor movement.

Deletion. Forward deletion works in the same way as cursor movement. The backspace key deletes code point by code point, except for WebKit, which deletes one grapheme cluster at a time.

Line-break. See this test. The CSS sets the value of the line-break property to anywhere. Change the size of the box to slowly move the line break point.
Gecko appears to segment on orthographic syllable, per the description here, except for one case where the complex stack is split. WebKit and Blink appear to sometimes wrap inside stacks and other times not. It's not obvious why, but both segment in the same way.

Punctuation & inline features

Phrase & section boundaries


Balinese has its own punctuation marks.






is used as a colon, and and are used as comma and full stop respectively.

Both and are used to begin a section in text. At the end of a section, pasalinan᭟᭜᭟ and carik agung᭛᭜᭛ may be used (depending on what sign began the section).

Line & paragraph layout

Line breaking & hyphenation

Because there are no spaces between words, and because the end of one word and the beginning of another often form conjuncts (see fig_kahananlankwasa2), Balinese doesn't wrap at word boundaries. See graphemes for a description of the typographic units that are used for line break opportunities.

Unfortunately, modern browsers are often unable to detect appropriate break points for Balinese, so in the sample text at the beginning of this page 200B is used at places where the line could be broken. Otherwise, the line would continue, unbroken off the right side of the page.


In lontar texts where a word must be broken at the end of a line (always after a full syllable), the sign is inserted. This sign is not used as a word-joining hyphen; it is used only in linebreaking.

Observation: The images appear to show a gap before the pameneng.

A compacted image of a lontar showing a pameneng at the end of a line, with the beginning of the following line below. (Click to see more.)

In online use, an application would need to insert the pameneng, rather than the content author. As line-length is changed by stretching a window, or as content is added earlier in the same paragraph, the location of the word relative to the line edge will change. The insertion of pameneng is only appropriate at those instants when the appropriate sequence of characters appears at the line end.

For an application to use this correctly, it would need to know where the word boundaries are in the text, and then put this character at the end of the line only when a multisyllabic word is broken. This would require a dictionary to be applied to the text, since it would not be appropriate to insert the pameneng at the boundary of 2 words.

Observation: Aditya Bayu Perdana has found instances in lontar where is moved to the beginning of a line, alone, while a pameneng appears at the end of the previous line. If this is not just a scribal inconsistency (eg. it's not clear why you wouldn't put the bisah at the end of the line if there's space for a pameneng), it may indicate that this letter should not be a combining mark in Unicode; however, the usage needs to be verified first. See pictures.

Line-edge rules

As in almost all writing systems, certain punctuation characters should not appear at the end or the start of a line. The Unicode line-break properties help applications decide whether a character should appear at the start or end of a line.

Show (default) line-breaking properties for characters in the Balinese orthography.

The following list gives examples of typical behaviours for characters used in contemporary Balinese. Context may affect the behaviour of some of these and other characters.

Click on the Balinese characters to show what they are.

  • ᭚ ᭛ ᭝ ᭞ ᭟ ᭠   should not begin a new line

Text alignment & justification

According to Sudewa, full justification is not a feature of Balinese text in traditional palm-leaf manuscripts, and only left, or occasionally centred or right alignment is relevant.

Baselines, line height, etc.

Balinese uses the so-called 'alphabetic' baseline, which is the same as for Latin and many other scripts.

fig_baselines shows glyphs from the Noto Serif fonts. The basic height of Balinese letters is the same as the Latin x-height, however extenders and combining marks, extend well beyond the Latin ascenders and descenders, creating a need for larger line heights.

Font metrics for Latin text in the Noto Serif font compared with Balinese glyphs in the Noto Serif Balinese font.

Page & book layout

General page layout & progression

Traditionally, Balinese was written on thin, landscape palm-leaf manuscripts, called lontar.

Picture of a palm leaf manuscript.

Example of a palm-leaf manuscript from Wikipedia.

The text was packed in without paragraph breaks.


ᬅᬓ᭄ᬱᬭ aksara letter

ᬯ᭄ᬬᬜ᭄ᬚᬦ wianjana consonant

ᬅᬓ᭄ᬱᬭᬯ᭄ᬬᬜ᭄ᬚᬦ aksara wianjana consonant

ᬯᬺᬱᬵᬲ᭄ᬢ᭄ᬭ wreṣāstra 18 consonants used to write basic Balinese words

ᬰ᭄ᬯᬮᬮᬶᬢ sualalita consonants used used for writing Sanskrit and Kawi loanwords

ᬅᬮ᭄ᬧᬧ᭄ᬭᬵᬡ alpaprāṇa unaspirated

ᬫᬵᬳᬵᬧ᭄ᬭᬵᬡ mahāprāṇa aspirated