N'Ko character notes

Updated 7 August, 2017 • tags scriptnotes, nko

This page lists characters in the following Unicode block and provides information about them. It is not authoritative, peer-reviewed information – these are just notes I have gathered and copied from various places.

For information about general features of the N'Ko script see the companion document N'Ko script summary.

To view this page as intended, you need a N'Ko font. This page comes with a Noto Sans N'Ko webfont. Click the blue vertical bar at the bottom right of the page to apply other fonts, if you have them on your system. For transcriptions I recommend the excellent and free Doulos SIL font.

If you click on any red example text, you will see at the bottom right of the page a list of the characters that make up the example.

To find a character by codepoint, type #char0000 at the end of the URL in the address bar, where 0000 is a four-figure, hex codepoint number, all in uppercase. Or type the hex number here:

Find

You can also find characters for which there are annotations using UniView (switch on Show notes).

The large character in the box will not be rendered unless the webfont downloaded with the page or a system font has a glyph for it. If there is no glyph and you want to see what it looks like, click on See in UniView.

Consonants

Basic consonants

ߒ

U+07D2 NKO LETTER N

Kangbe nasal syllable

This is considered to be neither a consonant nor a vowel. It represents a syllabic alveolar or velar nasal. It doesn't take the nasal diacritic  ߲ [U+07F2 NKO COMBINING NASALIZATION MARK​].1

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߓ

U+07D3 NKO LETTER BA

Kangbe consonant b

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߔ

U+07D4 NKO LETTER PA

Kangbe consonant p

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߕ

U+07D5 NKO LETTER TA

Kangbe consonant t

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߖ

U+07D6 NKO LETTER JA

Kangbe consonant ʤ

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߗ

U+07D7 NKO LETTER CHA

Kangbe consonant ʧ

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߘ

U+07D8 NKO LETTER DA

Kangbe consonant d

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߙ

U+07D9 NKO LETTER RA

Kangbe consonant r

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߚ

U+07DA NKO LETTER RRA

Kangbe consonant rr

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߛ

U+07DB NKO LETTER SA

Kangbe consonant s

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߜ

U+07DC NKO LETTER GBA

Kangbe consonant ɡb

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߝ

U+07DD NKO LETTER FA

Kangbe consonant f

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߞ

U+07DE NKO LETTER KA

Kangbe consonant k

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߟ

U+07DF NKO LETTER LA

Kangbe consonant l

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߠ

U+07E0 NKO LETTER NA WOLOSO

Kangbe abstract consonant

Indicates a NA mutated by a preceding nasal, either word-internally or across word boundaries,1 eg. ߘߋ߲ߣߍ߲ ߠߎ߬ ߟߊ߫ ߓߋߟߋ߲ߠߊ dẽnɛ̃ łu la belẽła a speech from the children.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738  [2] Evertype 

ߡ

U+07E1 NKO LETTER MA

Kangbe consonant m

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߢ

U+07E2 NKO LETTER NYA

Kangbe consonant ɲ

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߣ

U+07E3 NKO LETTER NA

Kangbe consonant n

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߤ

U+07E4 NKO LETTER HA

Kangbe consonant h

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߥ

U+07E5 NKO LETTER WA

Kangbe consonant w

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߦ

U+07E6 NKO LETTER YA

Kangbe consonant j

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߧ

U+07E7 NKO LETTER NYA WOLOSO

Kangbe abstract consonant

Indicates a NYA mutated by a preceding nasal, either word-internally or across word boundaries,1 eg. ߊ߲ ߧߴߌ ߝߏ߬ ߟߊ߫ ߸ ߞߵߌ ߞߎߟߎ߲ߖߋ߲. ã ñ‘i fo la, k’i kulũjẽ. We give you thanks.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738  [2] Evertype 

archaic consonants

ߪ

U+07EA NKO LETTER JONA RA

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (nko letter ra - 07D9)

Vowels

ߊ

U+07CA NKO LETTER A

Kangbe consonant a

Refs: [1] [wp] nko 

ߋ

U+07CB NKO LETTER EE

Kangbe consonant e

Refs: [1] [wp] nko 

ߌ

U+07CC NKO LETTER I

Kangbe consonant i

Refs: [1] [wp] nko 

ߍ

U+07CD NKO LETTER E

Kangbe consonant ɛ

Refs: [1] [wp] nko 

ߎ

U+07CE NKO LETTER U

Kangbe consonant u

Refs: [1] [wp] nko 

ߏ

U+07CF NKO LETTER OO

Kangbe consonant o

Refs: [1] [wp] nko 

ߐ

U+07D0 NKO LETTER O

Kangbe consonant ɔ

Refs: [1] [wp] nko 

ߑ

U+07D1 NKO LETTER DAGBASINNA

Kangbe vowel killer

Indicates that adjacent consonants have no intervening vowel sound, eg. ߓߟߏ bolo bloo is pronounced with the vowel after the first letter, even though none is present. To show that this should be pronounced without the vowel you need ߓߑߟߏ blo.1

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

Tone marks

Basic tone marks

߫

U+07EB NKO COMBINING SHORT HIGH TONE

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (combining macron - 0304)

Kangbe tone mark

Tone mark indicating a short high tone.

Also used above consonants to represent sounds from other languages, particularly French and Arabic, as follows:

ߛ߫ ߛ [U+07DB NKO LETTER SA] Arabic ص
ߜ߫ ɣ ߜ [U+07DC NKO LETTER GBA] Arabic غ
ߞ߫ q ߞ [U+07DE NKO LETTER KA] Arabic ق

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߬

U+07EC NKO COMBINING SHORT LOW TONE

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (combining tilde - 0303)

Kangbe tone mark

Tone mark indicating a short low tone.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߭

U+07ED NKO COMBINING SHORT RISING TONE

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (combining dot above - 0307)

Kangbe tone mark

Tone mark indicating a short rising tone.

Also used to indicate the first ordinal, eg. ߁߭ first.1

For ordinal numbers after the first see  ߲ [U+07F2 NKO COMBINING NASALIZATION MARK​].

Also used above consonants to represent sounds from other languages, particularly French and Arabic, as follows:

ߓ߭ ߓ [U+07D3 NKO LETTER BA]  
ߕ߭ ߕ [U+07D5 NKO LETTER TA] Arabic ط
ߖ߭ z ߖ [U+07D6 NKO LETTER JA]  
ߗ߭ ð and ʒ ߗ [U+07D7 NKO LETTER CHA] Arabic ذ and French
ߘ߭ đ ߘ [U+07D8 NKO LETTER DA]  
ߙ߭ ʀ ߙ [U+07D9 NKO LETTER RA] French
ߛ߭  ʃ ߛ [U+07DB NKO LETTER SA] Arabic ش
ߜ߭  g ߜ [U+07DC NKO LETTER GBA]  
ߝ߭ v ߝ [U+07DD NKO LETTER FA]  
ߞ߭ x ߞ [U+07DE NKO LETTER KA] Arabic خ
ߟ߭ ߟ [U+07DF NKO LETTER LA]  
ߡ߭ ߡ [U+07E1 NKO LETTER MA]  
ߢ߭ ߢ [U+07E2 NKO LETTER NYA]  
ߤ߭ ߤ [U+07E4 NKO LETTER HA] Arabic ح
ߦ߭ ߦ [U+07E6 NKO LETTER YA]  

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߮

U+07EE NKO COMBINING LONG DESCENDING TONE

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (combining circumflex accent - 0302)

Kangbe tone mark

Tone mark indicating a long descending tone.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߯

U+07EF NKO COMBINING LONG HIGH TONE

Kangbe tone mark

Tone mark indicating a long high tone.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߰

U+07F0 NKO COMBINING LONG LOW TONE

Kangbe tone mark

Tone mark indicating a long low tone.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߱

U+07F1 NKO COMBINING LONG RISING TONE

Kangbe tone mark

Tone mark indicating a long rising tone.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

Tonal apostrophes

ߴ

U+07F4 NKO HIGH TONE APOSTROPHE

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (modifier letter apostrophe - 02BC)
ߵ

U+07F5 NKO LOW TONE APOSTROPHE

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (modifier letter turned comma - 02BB)

Nasalisation marks

߲

U+07F2 NKO COMBINING NASALIZATION MARK

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (combining dot below - 0323)

Kangbe nasalisation mark

Applied to a vowel to indicate nasalisation, eg. ߣߌ߲߬.

Also used to indicate an ordinal number (except for the first), eg. ߂߲ second. When there are multiple digits in a number, the diacritic appears only under the last in sequence, eg. ߁߂߃߲ 123rd.1

For the first ordinal number, see  ߭ [U+07ED NKO COMBINING SHORT RISING TONE​].

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߳

U+07F3 NKO COMBINING DOUBLE DOT ABOVE

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (combining diaeresis - 0308)

Kangbe transliteration symbol

Used above vowels and consonants to represent sounds from other languages, particularly French and Arabic, as follows:

ߊ߳ʕaߊ [U+07CA NKO LETTER A]Arabic عَ
ߋ߳ ǝ ߋ [U+07CB NKO LETTER EE] French
ߎ߳ y ߎ [U+07CE NKO LETTER U]  French
ߖ߳ ƶ ߖ [U+07D6 NKO LETTER JA]  Arabic ظ
ߙ߳ ߙ [U+07D9 NKO LETTER RA]   
ߛ߳ θ ߛ [U+07DB NKO LETTER SA]  Arabic ث
ߜ߳ kp ߜ [U+07DC NKO LETTER GBA]  

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

Symbols & punctuation

Punctuation

߸

U+07F8 NKO COMMA

Kangbe punctuation

Comma. Sometimes used distinctively with the arabic comma in the same text, eg.

ߕߏ߲ߘߋ ߟߊ߫ ߊߙߊߓߎ ߞߐ߲ߛߐߣ ߊ ߛߌ߰ߙߊ߬ߕߊ ߊ ߘߏ߫ ߟߎ߫ ߞߊ߲߬ ߸ ߛߊ߫ ( ߜ ، ߔ ، ߗ ) ߟߎ߬ ߘߌ߫ ߛߋ߫ ߛߓߍ߫ ߟߊ߫ ߸ ߏ߬ ߟߎ߬ ߡߍ߲ ߠߎ߬ ߕߍ߫ ߊߙߊߓߎ߫ ߞߊ߲ ߘߐ߫ ߡߎ߰ߡߍ߫ .

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

ߺ

U+07FA NKO LAJANYALAN

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (low line - 005F)
→ (arabic tatweel - 0640)

Kangbe punctuation

Sometimes used like the ـ [U+0640 ARABIC TATWEEL] to instead stretch the intra-word baseline, either for justification, or headings, etc.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

Other symbols

߶

U+07F6 NKO SYMBOL OO DENNEN

Kangbe symbol

Added to phrases to indicate remote future placement of the topic under discussion.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߷

U+07F7 NKO SYMBOL GBAKURUNEN

Kangbe symbol

Used to end major sections of the text.

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

Digits

߀

U+07C0 NKO DIGIT ZERO

Kangbe digit 0

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߁

U+07C1 NKO DIGIT ONE

Kangbe digit 1

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߂

U+07C2 NKO DIGIT TWO

Kangbe digit 2

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߃

U+07C3 NKO DIGIT THREE

Kangbe digit 3

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߄

U+07C4 NKO DIGIT FOUR

Kangbe digit 4

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߅

U+07C5 NKO DIGIT FIVE

Kangbe digit 5

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߆

U+07C6 NKO DIGIT SIX

Kangbe digit 6

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߇

U+07C7 NKO DIGIT SEVEN

Kangbe digit 7

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߈

U+07C8 NKO DIGIT EIGHT

Kangbe digit 8

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

߉

U+07C9 NKO DIGIT NINE

Kangbe digit 9

Refs: [1] [Unicode] p738 

Further reading

  1. [Sudewa] The N'Ko Alphabet
  2. [Everson et al.] Proposal for encoding the N'Ko script in the UCS
  3. [Wikipedia] N'Ko script
  4. [Unicode] The Unicode Standard v6.0
  5. [Omniglot] N'Ko
  6. [ScriptSource] N'Ko
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