Lao script

Lao
Lao Script Sample.svg
Type
LanguagesLao, Thai and others
Time period
c. 1350–present
Parent systems
Sister systems
Thai
DirectionLeft-to-right
ISO 15924Laoo, 356
Unicode alias
Lao

Lao script or Akson Lao (Lao: ອັກສອນລາວ [ʔáksɔ̌ːn láːw]) is the primary script used to write the Lao language and other minority languages in Laos. It was also used to write the Isan language, but was replaced by the Thai script. It has 27 consonants (ພະຍັນຊະນະ [pʰāɲánsānā]), 7 consonantal ligatures (ພະຍັນຊະນະປະສົມ [pʰāɲánsānā pá sǒm]), 33 vowels (ສະຫລະ [sálā]), and 4 tone marks (ວັນນະຍຸດ [ván nā ɲūt]).

The Lao alphabet was adapted from the Khmer script, which itself was derived from the Pallava script, a variant of the Grantha script descended from the Brāhmī script, which was used in southern India and South East Asia during the 5th and 6th centuries AD. Akson Lao is a sister system to the Thai script, with which it shares many similarities and roots. However, Lao has fewer characters and is formed in a more curvilinear fashion than Thai.

Lao is written from left to right. Vowels can be written above, below, in front of, or behind consonants, with some vowel combinations written before, over and after. Spaces for separating words and punctuation were traditionally not used, but a space is used and functions in place of a comma or period. The letters have no majuscule or minuscule (upper- and lowercase) differentiation.

History

The Lao script derived locally from the Khmer script of Angkor[1] with additional influence from the Mon script. Both Khmer and Mon were ultimately derived from the Brahmi script of India. The Lao script was slowly standardized in the Mekong River valley after the various Tai principalities of the region were merged under Lan Xang in the 14th century. It has changed little since its inception and continued use in the Lao-speaking regions of modern-day Laos and Isan. Although the Thai script continued to evolve, both scripts still bear a resemblance.[2] However, this is less apparent today due to the communist party simplifying the spelling to be phonemic and omitting extra letters used to write words of Pali-Sanskrit origin.

In its earlier form, Lao would be considered an abugida, in which the inherent vowel is embedded in the consonant letters. With the spelling reforms by the communist Lao People's Revolutionary Party, all vowels are now written explicitly.[3] However, many Lao outside of Laos, and some inside Laos, continue to write according to former spelling standards. For example, the old spelling of ສເລີມ[4] 'to hold a ceremony, celebrate' contrasts with the new ສະເຫລີມ.[5]

Other Languages
brezhoneg: Skritur laoek
한국어: 라오 문자
हिन्दी: लाओ लिपि
hrvatski: Laoško pismo
Bahasa Indonesia: Aksara Lao
lietuvių: Lao raštas
македонски: Лаошко писмо
Bahasa Melayu: Tulisan Lao
日本語: ラーオ文字
پنجابی: لاؤ لپی
українська: Лаоське письмо
Tiếng Việt: Bảng chữ cái Lào
中文: 寮文字