Thaana script summary

Updated 17 March, 2018 • tags scriptnotes, thaana

This page provides basic information about the Thaana script. It is not authoritative, peer-reviewed information – these are just notes I have gathered or copied from various places as i learned. For character-specific details follow the links to the Thaana character notes.

For similar information related to other scripts, see the Script comparison table.

Clicking on red text examples, or highlighting part of the sample text shows a list of characters, with links to more details. Click on the vertical blue bar (bottom right) to change font settings for the sample text.

Sample (dhivehi)

1 ވަނަ މާއްދާ ހުރިހާ އިންސާނުންވެސް ދުނިޔެއަށް އުފަންވަނީ، މިނިވަންކަމުގައި، ހަމަހަމަ ޙައްޤުތަކަކާއެކު، ހަމަހަމަ ދަރަޖައެއްގައި ކަމޭހިތެވިގެންވާ ބައެއްގެ ގޮތުގައެވެ. ހެޔޮ ވިސްނުމާއި، ހެޔޮބުއްދީގެ ބާރު އެމީހުންނަށް ލިބިގެންވެއެވެ. އަދި އެކަކު އަނެކަކާމެދު އެމީހުން މުޢާމަލާތް ކުރަންވާނީ، އުޚުއްވަތްތެރިކަމުގެ ރޫޙެއްގައެވެ.

2 ވަނަ މާއްދާ ހަމަ ކޮންމެ މީހަކަށްމެ، މިޤަރާރުގައި ބަޔާންކޮށްފައިވާ ހުރިހާ ޙައްޤުތަކަކާއި މިނިވަންކަމުގެ މިންގަނޑުތަކެއް ހޯދުމާއި، ލިބިގަތުމުގެ ޙައްޤު ލިބިގެންވެއެވެ. އެޙައްޤުތަކާއި އެމިންގަނޑުތައް ލިބިދެނީ، ނަސްލާއި، ކުލައާއި، ޖިންސާއި، ބަހާއި، ދީނާއި، ސިޔާސީގޮތުން ނުވަތަ އެހެންވެސް ކަމަކާ ގުޅޭގޮތުން ވިސްނުން ގެންގުޅޭ ގޮތާއި، ވަކި ޤައުމަކަށް ނުވަތަ މުޖުތަމަޢަކަށް ނިސްބަތްވުމާއި، މުދާ ލިބިހުރުމާއި، އުފަންވީ ޢާއިލާއެއްގެ ސަބަބުން ޤަދަރުވެރިވުމާއި، އެހެންވެސް ސަބަބަކާ ހުރެ ޤަދަރުވެރިވުންފަދަ، އެއްވެސް ބާވަތެއްގެ މިންގަނޑަކުން ތަފާތު ކުރުމެއް ނެތިއެވެ. އަދި މީހަކު ނިސްބަތްވާ ޤައުމަކީ، ނުވަތަ ސަރަޙައްދަކީ ސިޔާސީ ގޮތުން، ނުވަތަ އެޤައުމުގެ ބާރު ހިނގާ ސަރަޙައްދުގެ މިންވަރުގެ ގޮތުން، ނުވަތަ އެޤައުމުގެ ބައިނަލްއަޤްވާމީ ހައިސިއްޔަތުގެ ގޮތުން ނަމަވެސް، އެއްވެސް ތަފާތުކުރުމެއް ގެންގުޅެގެން ނުވާނޭ ގޮތުންނެވެ. އެޤައުމަކީ، ނުވަތަ މީހަކު ނިސްބަތްވާ އެސަރަޙައްދަކީ، މިނިވަން ޤައުމަކަށް ވިޔަސް، ނުވަތަ އެކުވެރި ދައުލަތްތަކުގެ ބެލުމުގެ ދަށުން އެހެން ޤައުމަކުންބަލަހައްޓަމުންދާ ޤައުމެއް ކަމުގައިވިޔަސް، ނުވަތަ އަމިއްލަ ވެރިކަމެއް ނެތް ޤައުމެއް ކަމުގައި ވިޔަސް، ނުވަތަ އެހެންވެސް ގޮތަކުން ސިޔާދަތީ ބާރު މަޙްދޫދު ކުރެވިގެންވާ ޤައުމަކަށް ވީނަމަވެހެވެ.

Usage & history

From Scriptsource:

The Thaana script is used for writing the Maldivian language, also known as Dhivehi, spoken by about 370,000 people in the Maldives and in Maldivian communities in India. The script is unique to this language. The language is also called Mahl, particularly on the island of Minicoy in the Indian territory of Lakshadweep. The Maldivian language has been written in its own script, it is thought, for over two millennia, when it was developed by Maldivian Buddhist monks translating the Buddhist scriptures.

From Wikipedia:

Thaana, Taana or Tāna ( ތާނަ‎ in Tāna script) is the present writing system of the Maldivian language spoken in the Maldives. ...

The Thaana script first appeared in a Maldivian document towards the beginning of the 18th century in a crude initial form known as Gabulhi Thaana which was written scripta continua. This early script slowly developed, its characters slanting 45 degrees, becoming more graceful and spaces were added between words. As time went by it gradually replaced the older Dhives Akuru alphabet. The oldest written sample of the Thaana script is found in the island of Kanditheemu in Northern Miladhunmadulu Atoll. It is inscribed on the door posts of the main Hukuru Miskiy (Friday mosque) of the island and dates back to 1008 AH (AD 1599) and 1020 AH (AD 1611) when the roof of the building were built and the renewed during the reigns of Ibrahim Kalaafaan (Sultan Ibrahim III) and Hussain Faamuladeyri Kilege (Sultan Hussain II) respectively.

Key features

Dhivehi is an alphabetic abjad. All vowels are written, but as diacritics above the consonants. See the table to the right for a brief overview of features, taken from the Script Comparison Table.

Thaana text is written horizontally, right to left, but unlike Arabic or N'Ko, the text is not cursive. Multi-digit numbers are displayed left-to-right.

A number of characters in the Thaana block are for writing sounds of Arabic or other languages, rather than to represent sounds native to Maldivian languages. Western numeric digits are used, and a mixture of Western and Arabic punctuation.

Words are separated by spaces.

Character lists

The Thaana script characters in Unicode 10.0 is in a single block:

The following links give information about characters used for languages associated with this script. The numbers in parentheses are for non-ASCII characters.

* Character counts are based on an analysis of UDHR only – not on CLDR information or other research.

For character-specific details see Thaana character notes.

Consonants

Basic consonants

For writing the languages of the Maldives there are 24 consonants in this block.

list all
ހhh
ށšʂ
ނnn
ރrr
ބbb
ޅɭ
ކkk
އ-
ވvv
މmm
ފff
ދdd
ތtt
ލll
ގgɡ
ޏnɲ
ސss
ޑɖ
ޒzz
ޓʈ
ޔyj
ޕpp
ޖjɟ
ޗcc

Consonant clusters

The diacritic ◌ް [U+07B0 THAANA SUKUN​] indicates that there is no vowel following the consonant it sits on. This is always used, with one exception: when ށ [U+0781 THAANA LETTER SHAVIYANI] is written with no diacritic, this indicates prenasalization of a following stop, eg. ކަނޑު kaⁿɖu sea. It is the only case where a letter can appear without a diacritic.

The sukun is also used over a few other characters to indicate gemination of the following consonant, eg. ބައްޓެއް baʈʈeʔ eggplant, and އެންމެ emme only.

Transcription

A further 14 dotted versions of the normal consonants are available for transcribing arabic sounds and the english sound ʒ (ޜ).

list all
ޘث
ޙح
ޚخ
ޛذ
ޜʒʒ
ޝšش
ޞص
ޟض
ޠط
ޡظ
ޢʻع
ޣǵغ
ޤqق
ޥwو

Obsolete consonant

There is also one character, ޱ [U+07B1 THAANA LETTER NAA], that was abolished from Maldivian official documents around 1953, but it is still seen in reprints of old books like the Bodu Tartheebu, and is used by the people of Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah.

list all
ޱɳ

Vowels

All vowels are always written, but as diacritics above or below the consonant they follow.

list all
ަaə
ާāəː
ިii
ީī
ުuu
ޫū
ެee
ޭē
ޮoɔ
ޯōɔː
ް ̊

Word-initial or independent vowel sounds use އ [U+0787 THAANA LETTER ALIFU] as a base.

As mentioned just above, the diacritic ◌ް [U+07B0 THAANA SUKUN​] signifies that no vowel sound follows a consonant.

Digits

Either european digits or arabic-indic digits are used.

Text layout

Text direction

Thaana script is written horizontally and right-to-left in the main, but as with most RTL scripts, numbers and embedded LTR script text are written left-to-right (producing 'bidirectional' text).

7.2.2 ބައްތެލި

The section number in this example is read LTR, ie 7.2.2, but the Thaana word following is RTL.

Text delimiters

Words are separated by spaces.

Dhivehi punctuation uses a mixture of western and arabic punctuation.

އުފަންވަނީ،

An excerpt from the sample text above showing the use of an arabic comma.

The same sample text, however, uses ASCII full stops at the end of sentences.

Justification

I'm not sure how justification works, but assume it is like in English.

Use the control below to see how your browser justifies the text sample here.

ހުރިހާ އިންސާނުންވެސް ދުނިޔެއަށް އުފަންވަނީ، މިނިވަންކަމުގައި، ހަމަހަމަ ޙައްޤުތަކަކާއެކު، ހަމަހަމަ ދަރަޖައެއްގައި ކަމޭހިތެވިގެންވާ ބައެއްގެ ގޮތުގައެވެ. ހެޔޮ ވިސްނުމާއި، ހެޔޮބުއްދީގެ ބާރު އެމީހުންނަށް ލިބިގެންވެއެވެ.

TBD

Features to be investigated in this section include: text delimiters, emphasis & highlighting, text decoration, abbreviations & ellipsis, hyphens & dashes quotations, repetition, line breaking, hyphenation, justification & alignment, first-letter styling, vertical text, notes & footnotes, page layout

References

  1. [U] The Unicode Standard v10.0, Thaana, pp 511-512.
  2. [D] Peter T. Daniels and William Bright, The World's Writing Systems, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-507993-0
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