Buhid

orthography notes

Updated 25 January, 2024

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

Citing this document

Richard Ishida, Buhid Orthography Notes, 25-Jan-2024, https://r12a.github.io/scripts/buhd/bku

Note: Given the difficulty in finding term lists in written in the Buhid orthography, the examples cited here were derived manually by applying the rules of the orthography to Latin transcriptions. Buhid is a simple enough script that these should be reliable, except that there is a question around the representation of the consonant f. In this page we represent that sound using (click the name for more information). This tallies with usage for Baybayin.

Sample

Select part of this sample text to show a list of characters, with links to more details.
Change size:   44px

ᝃᝑᝓ ᝃᝑᝓ ᝃᝓ ᝋᝎᝄᝓ
ᝃᝊᝓᝌᝓ ᝊᝓᝌᝓ ᝐᝒ ᝂᝎᝓ
ᝃᝇᝓᝌ ᝇᝓᝌ ᝐᝒ ᝇᝄᝓ᜵
ᝇᝎᝃ ᝐ ᝉᝍᝓᝋᝒᝌᝓ
ᝐᝒᝑᝋᝓ ᝃ ᝐ ᝊᝎ ᝊᝃᝓ
ᝀᝈ ᝂᝋᝊᝓᝓ ᝃ ᝈᝒᝋᝓ᜶

Source: Wikipedia, Buhid urukays from The Mangyans of Mindoro by Violeta B Lopez.

Usage & history

The Buhid language is spoken by around 11,000e Mangyans in the island of Mindoro, Philippines.

The Buhid script is currently endangered, and authorities in the area where it is spoken are trying to encourage its use by the younger generation. One particularly common former use was for writing ambahan, traditional poetry.

ᝊᝓᝑᝒ

When the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines in the 1500s they were surprised to find that the inhabitants were largely literate in scripts of which Buhid is one survivor. The scripts have the characteristics of Brahmi-derived scripts, but the pathway that led to this orthography is not clear. It is thought that it may lead via Java and have arrived in the Philippines between the 10th and 14th centuries.me

For more detailed historical information see Lorenzo Catapang.

Basic features

The Buhid script is an abugida. Consonants carry an inherent vowel which can be modified by appending vowel signs to the consonant. See the table to the right for a brief overview of features for the modern Buhid orthography.

Buhid text runs left-to-left in horizontal lines, and is unicameral.

Buhid has 15 consonant letters, but they are only used to indicate syllable onsets. Syllable codas are not written. This can lead to some word ambiguity, and also means also that the text doesn't indicate any consonant clusters.

❯ basicV

The Buhid orthography is an abugida with one inherent vowel, generally pronounced a, but sometimes ʌ. Other vowels are written using one of only 2 vowel signs (for 4 sounds).

Buhid has 3 independent vowels, used for vowels that are preceded by a glottal stop. These may occur word-initially or word-medially.

Character index

Letters

Show

Consonants

ᝃ␣ᝄ␣ᝅ␣ᝆ␣ᝇ␣ᝈ␣ᝉ␣ᝊ␣ᝋ␣ᝌ␣ᝍ␣ᝎ␣ᝏ␣ᝐ␣ᝑ

Vowels

ᝀ␣ᝁ␣ᝂ

Combining marks

Show

Vowels

ᝒ␣ᝓ

Punctuation

Show
᜵␣᜶
Items to show in lists

Phonology

The following represents the repertoire of the Buhid language.

Click on the sounds to reveal locations in this document where they are mentioned.

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

Vowel sounds

Plain vowels

i u e o ʌ ʌ a

a and ʌ are sometimes interchangeable.

Consonant sounds

labial dental alveolar palatal velar glottal
stop p b t d     k ɡ ʔ
fricative f   s   x ɣ h
nasal m   n   ŋ
approximant w   l j  
trill/flap     r

Tone

Buhid is not a tonal language.

Structure

Barhammb reports 2 syllable types:

CV | CVC

These are combined into words with the following structures:

CVC | CVCV | CVCVC |CVCCVC | CVCCV

Barham reportsmb,9 that certain Tagalog words with the structure CVCVC have corresponding words in Buhid with the structure CVC where there is a tendency to lengthen the single vowel, but only in slow speech.

The following restrictions apply:

Onset
p only appears in loan words. Otherwise all consonants can appear.
Nucleus
Includes any vowel.
Coda
Can be any consonant except f and h.

Barham (p8) provides additional detail about which consonant sequences can appear in clusters.

Vowels

Vowel summary table

ⓘ represents the inherent vowel. The left column shows dependent vowels, and the right independent.

Simple:
ᝒ␣␣ᝓ
ᝁ␣ ␣ᝂ
ᝒ␣␣ᝓ
ᝁ␣ ␣ᝂ

For additional details see vowel_mappings.

Inherent vowel

ka U+1743 LETTER KA

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.

Combining marks used for vowels

ᝃᝒ ki U+1743 LETTER KA + U+1752 VOWEL SIGN I

Buhid uses only two combining marks for vowels when it is necessary to override the inherent vowel.

ᝒ␣ᝓ

Each vowel sign represents one of 2 sounds. 1752 represents either the sound i or the sound e; 1753 represents either o or u.

In principle, the glyphs look the same, and the distinction is made by position: i ~ e goes above the base, and o ~ u goes below. However, in practise, although the relative height distinction is always preserved, the way the vowel sign connects with the base varies from consonant to consonant. The differences are significant enough to make it worthwhile to show all possible combinations in the table below.

ConsonantNo vowel signWith i/eWith o/u
pᝉᝒᝉᝓ
bᝊᝒᝊᝓ
tᝆᝒᝆᝓ
dᝇᝒᝇᝓ
kᝃᝒᝃᝓ
ɡᝄᝒᝄᝓ
sᝐᝒᝐᝓ
hᝑᝒᝑᝓ
mᝋᝒᝋᝓ
nᝈᝒᝈᝓ
ŋᝅᝒᝅᝓ
wᝏᝒᝏᝓ
rᝍᝒᝍᝓ
lᝎᝒᝎᝓ
jᝌᝒᝌᝓ
Placement of vowel signs with Buhid consonants.

Standalone vowels

a U+1740 LETTER A

ᝀ␣ᝁ␣ᝂ

Vowels at the beginning of a word or following another vowel are actually transcribed in IPA with a preceding glottal stop (ʔ), but they are written using one of 3 independent vowel letters.

As with the vowel signs, these letters each represent one of two possible sounds. (See the box above.)

ᝀᝊᝓᝑ

ᝁᝇᝓ

ᝄᝓᝂ

Vowel sounds to characters

This section maps Buhid vowel sounds to common graphemes in the Buhid orthography.

The left column shows dependent vowels; the right column shows independent vowel letters.

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

Plain vowels

i
 

1752

ᝐᝒᝆ

1741

ᝁᝇᝓ

u
 

1753

ᝎᝓᝆᝓ

1742

ᝂᝇᝓ

e
 

1752

ᝈᝎᝒ

1741

o
 

1753

ᝐᝓᝑᝓ

1742

ᝄᝓᝂ

a
 

Inherent vowel

ᝆᝊᝓ

1740

ᝀᝊᝓᝑ

ʌ
 

Inherent vowel

ᝇᝆ

1740

ᝀᝊᝐ

Consonants

Basic consonants

Buhid consonants are few and simple. There is no repertoire extension mechanism.

ᝉ␣ᝊ␣ᝆ␣ᝇ␣ᝃ␣ᝄ
ᝐ␣ᝑ
ᝋ␣ᝈ␣ᝅ
ᝏ␣ᝍ␣ᝎ␣ᝌ

may be pronounced x when word-medial and before a vowel; likewise, may be pronounced ɣ.

The f phoneme

The phonetic transcriptions by Barhammb indicate common use of the phoneme f, but no character for that sound exists in the Buhid Unicode block. The Unicode proposal document mentions a possible character for f introduced during a script reform, but doesn't propose anything because it is 'wanting attestation'. Room was left in the block for later additions, if necessary.

It has been difficult to find evidence of how this sound is written, but Satots mentions that in Philippine Latin orthography f is usually written as p. This page therefore uses 1749 to represent this sound. This needs to be checked against actual usage.

Onsets

Buhid syllable onsets are straightforward. They don't involve consonant clusters.

Finals

Like some other neighouring scripts, the syllable codas are not written in the Buhid orthography. This, of course, can lead to a certain amount of ambiguity. Examples:

ᝄᝋ

ᝏᝐ

Consonant clusters

Buhid has no conjuncts or other special mechanisms for handling consonant clusters, which only occur normally when a syllable with a code precedes a syllable with a consonant onset.

Consonant sounds to characters

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

Syllable-final consonants are never written. The right-hand column shows the shape alone, combined with vowel sign I, and combined with vowel sign U, respectively.

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, etc.

Stops

p
 

1749

ᝉᝃᝓ

ᝉ ᝉᝒ ᝉᝓ

b
 

174A

ᝊᝄᝓ

ᝊ ᝊᝒ ᝊᝓ

t
 

1746

ᝆᝊᝓ

ᝆ ᝆᝒ ᝆᝓ

d
 

1747

ᝇᝄ

ᝇ ᝇᝒ ᝇᝓ

k
 

1743

ᝃᝏ

ᝃ ᝃᝒ ᝃᝓ

ɡ
 

1743

ᝄᝓᝂ

ᝄ ᝄᝒ ᝄᝓ

Fricatives

f
 

1749 This has to be checked!

ᝉᝉ

ᝉ ᝉᝒ ᝉᝓ

s
 

1750

ᝐᝓᝎ

ᝐ ᝐᝒ ᝐᝓ

x
 

1743 when word-medial and followed by a vowel.

ᝃᝃᝒᝆ

ᝃ ᝃᝒ ᝃᝓ

ɣ
 

1744 when word-medial and followed by a vowel.

ᝀᝄᝓ

ᝄ ᝄᝒ ᝄᝓ

h
 

1751

ᝑᝓᝋᝒ

ᝑ ᝑᝒ ᝑᝓ

Nasals

m
 

174B

ᝋᝒᝊᝓᝎᝓ

ᝋ ᝋᝒ ᝋᝓ

n
 

1748

ᝈᝓᝋᝍᝓ

ᝈ ᝈᝒ ᝈᝓ

ŋ
 

1745

ᝅᝒᝉᝓ

ᝅ ᝅᝒ ᝅᝓ

Other sonorants

w
 

174F

ᝄᝎᝏᝒ

ᝏ ᝏᝒ ᝏᝓ

r
 

174D

ᝍᝒᝍᝓ

ᝍ ᝍᝒ ᝍᝓ

l
 

174E

ᝎᝓᝆᝓ

ᝎ ᝎᝒ ᝎᝓ

j
 

174C

ᝐᝒᝌᝓ

ᝌ ᝌᝒ ᝌᝓ

Numbers

The Buhid Unicode block doesn't have a set of native digits.

Text direction

Buhid text runs left to right in horizontal lines.

Eversonme reports that the writing often runs bottom to top on lines that progress from left to right. However, the letter glyphs are rotated in this case, so this is simply a rotation of the medium, rather than a different writing direction. It makes it easier to fit the writing on bamboo strips.

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

Glyph shaping & positioning

You can experiment with examples using the Buhid character app.

Context-based shaping & positioning

Buhid letters don't interact with each other, but the placement of the vowel signs requires context-sensitive placement, and in some cases reshaping of the letter. The various combinations are shown in dependent_vowel_table.

Buhid has no multiple combining marks, or other shaping to consider.

Letterform slopes, weights, & italics

tbd

Since it is very hard to find any printed examples of Buhid text, it is likely that there is no standard approach to the use of oblique and bold forms, if they are used at all. The Noto Buhid font has only a regular face.

Graphemes

Buhid is a simple orthography and typographic units can be easily segmented using grapheme clusters.

Phrase, sentence, and section delimiters are described in phrase.

Grapheme clusters

Base Combining_mark*

Buhid typographic units consist of a letter or a letter with a single combining mark (one of two vowel signs). Both of these units fit the definition of a grapheme cluster.

As previously noted, syllable codas are not written in Buhid text, and so the segmentation only captures onsets and the syllable nucleus.

Punctuation & inline features

Word boundaries

Words are separated by spaces.

Phrase & section boundaries

᜵␣᜶

Buhid uses for a short pause, and for a longer or sentence-like pause. It may also be used at the end of a poem.

phrase
sentence

Line & paragraph layout

Line breaking & hyphenation

The primary line-break opportunity occurs at word boundaries.

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 line-breaking properties for characters in the Buhid orthography.

Baselines, line height, etc.

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

Buhid letters vary slightly in height but are mostly around the same, with no ascenders or descenders. Vowel signs may appear above or below some letters, but these are on horizontal dashes.

To give an approximate idea, fig_baselines compares Latin and Buhid glyphs from the Noto Sans font. The basic height of Buhid letters is typically around the Latin x-height, however some taller letters and combining marks can reach just beyond the Latin ascenders (but not the descenders), creating a need for slightly larger line spacing.

Hhqxᝉᝇᝏᝒᝌᝒᝐᝒᝁ᜶
Font metrics for Latin text compared with Buhid glyphs in the Noto Sans Buhid font.

Page & book layout

References