Varang Chiti — 1963 AD?, India

Varang Chiti "ha"

The Ho language is a minority language in northeastern India, but in India, minority languages can have a large number of speakers: there are over a million Ho speakers.

At some point in the 20th century, a gentleman named Lako Bodra developed or discovered the Varang Chiti writing system.  Bodra asserted that the Varang Chiti script was invented in the 13th century by Dhawan Turi, and that it was revealed to Bodra in a dream.  He modernized it, and released it to the world.  Note that this is not an uncommon story: I will describe more cases in later posts where an ancient script was revealed to someone in modern times who popularized it.

Like Santali, which I mentioned in yesterday’s post on Ol Chiki, Ho is an Austro-Asiatic language, somewhat related to Santali.

Varang Chiti is an abugida, but a somewhat unusual one.  Most Brahmi-derived writing systems have a default vowel attached to consonants that can be changed with diacritics or killed with a virama.  Varang Chiti is similar, but while most Brahmi-derived writing systems have the same default vowel for all of their consonant+vowel syllables, Varang Chiti has a different vowel for different syllables.

Links: Wikipedia, Omniglot, Swarthmore, LisIndia

About ducky

I'm a computer programmer professionally, currently working on mapping applications. I have been interested non-professionally for a long time in the effect on society on advances in communications technology -- things like writing, vowels, spaces between words, paper, etc.
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