Manipuri alphabet  Manipuri (মনিপুরি/Meetei Mayek)

Origin

The origins of the Manipuri alphabet, or Meetei Mayek as it is know in Manipuri, are shrouded in mystery as many historical documents were destroyed at the beginning of the 18th century during the reign of King Pamheiba. Some believe the alphabet has been used for almost 4,000 years, while others think it developed from the Bengali alphabet during the 17th century.

Between 1709 and the middle of the 20th century, the Manipuri language was written with the Bengali alphabet. During the 1940s and 50s, Manipuri scholars began campaigning to bring back the old Manipuri alphabet. In 1976 at a writers conference all the scholars finally agreed on a new version of the alphabet containing a number of additional letters to represent sounds not present in the language when the script was first developed. The current Manipuri script is a reconstruction of the ancient Manipuri script.

Since the early 1980s the Manipuri alphabet as been taught in schools in Manipur.

Notable features

  • This is a syllabic alphabet in which consonants all have an inherent vowel /a/.Other vowels are written as independent letters, or by using a variety of diacritical marks which are written above, below, before or after the consonant they belong to.
  • Each letter is named after a part of the human body.

Used to write:

Manipuri, or Meeteilon/Meitei, one of the official languages of the Indian state of Manipur in north-east India and has about 1.6 million speakers. It is a member of the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family and is also spoken in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Manipuri alphabet

Manipuri alphabet

Sample text

Sample text in Manipuri

Bengali alphabet for Manipuri

Bengali alphabet for Manipuri

Information about the Manipuri scripts and pronunciation compiled or corrected by Wolfram Siegel

Sample text in Manipuri

Sample text in Manipuri (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Links

Bishnupriya Manipuri Society - information about Manipuri society, language and culture
http://www.bishnupriya-manipuri.org/

Manipuri web portal
http://manipuri.org

E-Pao! News from Manipur (in English and Manipuri)
http://www.e-pao.net

Tibeto-Burman languages

Burmese, Dzongkha, Garo, Kayah Li, Karen, Lepcha, Limbu, Lisu, Manipuri, Marma, Mizo, Mro, Naxi, Nepal Bhasa / Newari, Sunuwar, Tangut, Tibetan, Tshangla, Tujia, Yi

Syllabic alphabets / abugidas

Ahom, Badaga, Balinese, Batak, Baybayin (Tagalog), Bengali, Brahmi, Buhid, Burmese, Chakma, Cham, Dehong Dai, Devanagari, Dives Akuru, Ethiopic, Evēla Akuru, Fraser, Gondi, Grantha, Gujarati, Gupta, Gurmukhi, Hanuno'o, Javanese, Jenticha, Kaithi, Kannada, Kharosthi, Khmer, Khojki, Kulitan, Lanna, Lao, Lepcha, Limbu, Lontara/Makasar, Malayalam, Manpuri, Modi, Mongolian Horizontal Square Script, Mro, New Tai Lue, Oriya, Pahawh Hmong, Pallava, Phags-pa, Ranjana, Redjang, Shan, Sharda, Siddham, Sindhi, Sinhala, Sorang Sompeng, Sourashtra, Soyombo, Sundanese, Syloti Nagri, Tagbanwa, Takri, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tigalari (Tulu), Tikamuli, Tocharian, Tolong Siki, Varang Kshiti

Languages written with the Bengali alphabet

Bengali, Garo, Manipuri, Mundari, Sylheti

Also used to write: Bishnupriya, Bodo, Chakma, Chiru, Koda, Nisi, Deori, Dimasa, Hajong, Koch, Khasi, Kudmali, Tiwa, Sauria Paharia, Miri, Chothe Naga, Thangal Naga, Moyon Naga, Maring Naga, Rabha, Rangpuri, Santali, Sadri, Oraon Sadri, Sulung, Panchpargania, Tippera, Kok Borok, Toto and Usui.