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The AVESTAN ALPHABET is a writing system developed during Iran's Sassanid era (226 CE–651) to render the Avestan language
Avestan language
.

As a side effect of its development, the script was also used for Pazend , a method of writing Middle Persian
Middle Persian
that was used primarily for the Zend commentaries on the texts of the Avesta
Avesta
. In the texts of Zoroastrian tradition, the alphabet is referred to as din dabireh or din dabiri, Middle Persian
Middle Persian
for "the religion's script".

CONTENTS

* 1 History * 2 Genealogy and script * 3 Graphemes * 4 Unicode
Unicode
* 5 References * 6 Bibliography * 7 Further reading

HISTORY

History of the alphabet -------------------------

Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
32 c. BCE

* Hieratic
Hieratic
32 c. BCE

* Demotic 7 c. BCE

* Meroitic 3 c. BCE

* Proto-Sinaitic 19 c. BCE

* Ugaritic 15 c. BCE

* Epigraphic South Arabian 9 c. BCE

* Ge’ez 5–6 c. BCE

* Phoenician 12 c. BCE

* Paleo-Hebrew 10 c. BCE

* Samaritan 6 c. BCE

* Libyco-Berber
Libyco-Berber
3 c. BCE

* Tifinagh
Tifinagh

* Paleohispanic (semi-syllabic) 7 c. BCE

* Aramaic 8 c. BCE

* Kharoṣṭhī 4 c. BCE

* Brāhmī 4 c. BCE

* Brahmic family
Brahmic family
(see)

* E.g. Tibetan 7 c. CE

* Hangul
Hangul
(core letters only) 1443

* Devanagari
Devanagari
13 c. CE

* Canadian syllabics 1840

* Hebrew 3 c. BCE

* Pahlavi 3 c. BCE

* Avestan 4 c. CE

* Palmyrene 2 c. BCE

* Syriac 2 c. BCE

* Nabataean 2 c. BCE

* Arabic 4 c. CE

* N\'Ko 1949 CE

* Sogdian 2 c. BCE

* Orkhon (old Turkic) 6 c. CE

* Old Hungarian c. 650 CE

* Old Uyghur

* Mongolian 1204 CE

* Mandaic 2 c. CE

* Greek 8 c. BCE

* Etruscan 8 c. BCE

* Latin 7 c. BCE

* Cherokee (syllabary; letter forms only) c. 1820 CE

* Runic 2 c. CE * Ogham
Ogham
(origin uncertain) 4 c. CE

* Coptic 3 c. CE * Gothic 3 c. CE * Armenian 405 CE * Georgian (origin uncertain) c. 430 CE * Glagolitic 862 CE

* Cyrillic c. 940 CE

* Old Permic 1372 CE

Thaana 18 c. CE (derived from Brahmi numerals
Brahmi numerals
)

* v * t * e

The development of the Avestan alphabet
Avestan alphabet
was initiated by the need to represent recited Avestan language
Avestan language
texts correctly. The various text collections that today constitute the canon of Zoroastrian scripture are the result of a collation that occurred in the 4th century, probably during the reign of Shapur II (309–379). It is likely that the Avestan alphabet
Avestan alphabet
was an ad hoc innovation related to this – "Sassanid archetype" – collation.

The enterprise, "which is indicative of a Mazdean revival and of the establishment of a strict orthodoxy closely connected with the political power, was probably caused by the desire to compete more effectively with Buddhists, Christians, and Manicheans, whose faith was based on a revealed book". In contrast, the Zoroastrian priesthood had for centuries been accustomed to memorizing scripture — following by rote the words of a teacher-priest until they had memorized the words, cadence, inflection and intonation of the prayers. This they passed on to their pupils in turn, so preserving for many generations the correct way to recite scripture. This was necessary because the priesthood considered (and continue to consider) precise and correct enunciation and cadence a prerequisite of effective prayer. Further, the recitation of the liturgy was (and is) accompanied by ritual activity that leaves no room to attend to a written text.

The ability correctly to render Avestan did, however, have a direct benefit: By the common era the Avestan language
Avestan language
words had almost ceased to be understood, which led to the preparation of the Zend texts (from Avestan zainti "understanding"), that is commentaries on and translations of the canon. The development of the Avestan alphabet allowed these commentaries to interleave quotation of scripture with explanation thereof. The direct effect of these texts was a "standardized" interpretation of scripture that survives to the present day. For scholarship these texts are enormously interesting since they occasionally preserve passages that have otherwise been lost.

The 9th–12th century texts of Zoroastrian tradition suggest that there was once a much larger collection of written Zoroastrian literature , but these texts — if they ever existed — have since been lost, and it is hence not known what script was used to render them. The question of the existence of a pre-Sassanid "Arsacid archetype" occupied Avestan scholars for much of the 19th century, and, "hatever may be the truth about the Arsacid Avesta
Avesta
, the linguistic evidence shows that even if it did exist, it can not have had any practical influence, since no linguistic form in the Vulgate can be explained with certainty as resulting from wrong transcription and the number of doubtful cases is minimal; in fact it is being steadily reduced. Though the existence of an Arsacid archetype is not impossible, it has proved to contribute nothing to Avestan philology."

GENEALOGY AND SCRIPT

The Pahlavi script , upon which the Avestan alphabet
Avestan alphabet
is based, was in common use for representing various Middle Iranian languages , but was not adequate for representing a religious language that demanded precision since Pahlavi was a simplified abjad syllabary with at most 22 symbols, most of which were ambiguous (i.e. could represent more than one sound).

In contrast, Avestan was a full alphabet, with explicit characters for vowels, and allowed for phonetic disambiguation of allophones . The alphabet included many characters (a, i, k, t, p, b, m, n, r, s, z, š, xv) from cursive Pahlavi, while some (ā, γ) are characters that only exist in the Psalter Pahlavi variant (in cursive Pahlavi γ and k have the same symbol). Some of the vowels, such as ə appear to derive from Greek minuscules . Avestan o is a special form of Pahlavi l that exists only in Aramaic signs. Some letters (e.g. ŋ́, ṇ, ẏ, v), are free inventions.

Avestan script, like Pahlavi script and Aramaic script also, is written from right to left. In Avestan script, letters are not connected, and ligatures (the "standard" ones being sk, šc, št, ša) are "rare and clearly of secondary origin". Fossey lists altogether 16 ligatures, but most are formed by the interaction of swash tails.

Words and the end of the first part of a compound are separated by a dot (point). Beyond that, punctuation is weak or non-existent in the manuscripts, and in the 1880s Karl Friedrich Geldner had to devise one for standardized transcription. In his system, which he developed based on what he could find, a triangle of three dots serves as a colon, a semicolon, an end of sentence or end of section; which is determined by the size of the dots and whether there is one dot above and two below, or two above and one below. Two above and one below signify — in ascending order of "dot" size — colon, semicolon, end of sentence or end of section. One above and two below signify "turned end of sentence" and "turned end of section" .

GRAPHEMES

Image showing the Avestan letter LE (leftmost letter) in a Pazand title for a published Avesta. The text (transliterated in the Hoffmann system) is pargart auual.

In total, the Avestan alphabet
Avestan alphabet
has 37 consonants and 16 vowels. There are two main transcription schemes for Avestan, the older style used by Christian Bartholomae , and the newer style used by Karl Hoffmann .

The following list shows the letters as ordered and transcribed by Hoffmann (1996), based on Bartholomae:

LETTER TRANSCRIPTION UNICODE NAME

𐬀 a AVESTAN LETTER A

𐬁 ā AVESTAN LETTER AA

𐬂 å AVESTAN LETTER AO

𐬃 ā̊ AVESTAN LETTER AAO

𐬄 ą AVESTAN LETTER AN

𐬅 ą̇ AVESTAN LETTER AAN

𐬆 ə AVESTAN LETTER AE

𐬇 ə̄ AVESTAN LETTER AEE

𐬈 e AVESTAN LETTER E

𐬉 ē AVESTAN LETTER EE

𐬊 o AVESTAN LETTER O

𐬋 ō AVESTAN LETTER OO

𐬌 i AVESTAN LETTER I

𐬍 ī AVESTAN LETTER II

𐬎 u AVESTAN LETTER U

𐬏 ū AVESTAN LETTER UU

𐬐 k AVESTAN LETTER KE

𐬑 x AVESTAN LETTER XE

𐬒 x́ AVESTAN LETTER XYE

𐬓 xʷ AVESTAN LETTER XVE

𐬔 g AVESTAN LETTER GE

𐬕 ġ AVESTAN LETTER GGE

𐬖 γ AVESTAN LETTER GHE

𐬗 c AVESTAN LETTER CE

𐬘 j AVESTAN LETTER JE

𐬙 t AVESTAN LETTER TE

𐬚 ϑ AVESTAN LETTER THE

𐬛 d AVESTAN LETTER DE

𐬜 δ AVESTAN LETTER DHE

𐬝 t̰ AVESTAN LETTER TTE

𐬞 p AVESTAN LETTER PE

𐬟 f AVESTAN LETTER FE

𐬠 b AVESTAN LETTER BE

𐬡 β AVESTAN LETTER BHE

𐬢 ŋ AVESTAN LETTER NGE

𐬣 ŋ́ AVESTAN LETTER NGYE

𐬤 ŋʷ AVESTAN LETTER NGVE

𐬥 n AVESTAN LETTER NE

𐬦 ń AVESTAN LETTER NYE

𐬧 ṇ AVESTAN LETTER NNE

𐬨 m AVESTAN LETTER ME

𐬩 m̨ AVESTAN LETTER HME

𐬪 ẏ AVESTAN LETTER YYE

𐬫 y AVESTAN LETTER YE

𐬬 v AVESTAN LETTER VE

𐬭 r AVESTAN LETTER RE

𐬮 l AVESTAN LETTER LE

𐬯 s AVESTAN LETTER SE

𐬰 z AVESTAN LETTER ZE

𐬱 š AVESTAN LETTER SHE

𐬲 ž AVESTAN LETTER ZHE

𐬳 š́ AVESTAN LETTER SHYE

𐬴 ṣ̌ AVESTAN LETTER SSHE

𐬵 h AVESTAN LETTER HE

Not represented in this table are the semi-vocalic glides ii and uu, which in the Bartholomae system are transcribed as y and w. Later, when writing Middle Persian
Middle Persian
in the script (i.e. Pazend ), another consonant was added to it to represent the /l/ phoneme that didn't exist in the Avestan language.

UNICODE

Main article: Avestan ( Unicode
Unicode
block)

The Avestan alphabet
Avestan alphabet
was added to the Unicode
Unicode
Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2.

The characters are encoded at U+10B00—10B35 for letters (ii and uu are not represented as single characters, but as sequences of characters ) and U+10B38—10B3F for punctuation.

AVESTAN Official Unicode
Unicode
Consortium code chart (PDF)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

U+10B0x 𐬀 𐬁 𐬂 𐬃 𐬄 𐬅 𐬆 𐬇 𐬈 𐬉 𐬊 𐬋 𐬌 𐬍 𐬎 𐬏

U+10B1x 𐬐 𐬑 𐬒 𐬓 𐬔 𐬕 𐬖 𐬗 𐬘 𐬙 𐬚 𐬛 𐬜 𐬝 𐬞 𐬟

U+10B2x 𐬠 𐬡 𐬢 𐬣 𐬤 𐬥 𐬦 𐬧 𐬨 𐬩 𐬪 𐬫 𐬬 𐬭 𐬮 𐬯

U+10B3x 𐬰 𐬱 𐬲 𐬳 𐬴 𐬵

𐬹 𐬺 𐬻 𐬼 𐬽 𐬾 𐬿

NOTES 1.^ As of Unicode
Unicode
version 10.0 2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

REFERENCES

* ^ A B C Kellens 1989 , p. 36. * ^ A B C Hoffmann 1989 , p. 49. * ^ Hoffmann 1989 , p. 50. * ^ Fossey 1948 , p. 49. * ^ Everson & Pournader 2007 , p. 4

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Dhalla, Maneckji Nusservanji (1938), History of Zoroastrianism, New York: OUP . * Everson, Michael; Pournader, Roozbeh (2007), Revised proposal to encode the Avestan script in the SMP of the UCS (PDF), retrieved 2007-06-10 . * Fossey, Charles (1948), "Notices sur les caractères étrangers anciens et modernes rédigées par une groupe de savants", Nouvelle édition mise à jour à l’occasion du 21e Congrès des Orientalistes, Paris: Imprimerie Nationale de France . * Hoffmann, Karl (1989), "Avestan language", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 3, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 47–52 . * Hoffmann, Karl; Forssman, Bernhard (1996), Avestische Laut- und Flexionslehre (in German), Innsbruck: Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, ISBN 3-85124-652-7 . * Kellens, Jean (1989), "Avesta", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 3, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 35–44 .

FURTHER READING

* Avestan alphabet, Omniglot * Pahlavi alphabet, Omniglot

Wikimedia Commons has media related to AVESTAN SCRIPT .

* v * t * e

Types of writing systems

OVERVIEW

* History of writing
History of writing
* Grapheme
Grapheme

LISTS

* Writing systems

* undeciphered * inventors * constructed

* Languages by writing system / by first written accounts

TYPES

ABJADS

* Numerals

* Aramaic

* Hatran

* Arabic * Pitman shorthand

* Hebrew

* Ashuri * Cursive * Rashi * Solitreo

* Tifinagh
Tifinagh
* Manichaean * Nabataean * Old North Arabian * Pahlavi * Pegon

* Phoenician

* Paleo-Hebrew

* Proto-Sinaitic * Psalter * Punic * Samaritan

* South Arabian

* Zabur * Musnad

* Sogdian

* Syriac

* ʾEsṭrangēlā * Serṭā * Maḏnḥāyā

* Teeline Shorthand * Ugaritic

ABUGIDAS

BRAHMIC

NORTHERN

* Asamiya (Ôxômiya) * Bānglā * Bhaikshuki * Bhujinmol * Brāhmī * Devanāgarī * Dogra * Gujarati * Gupta * Gurmukhī * Kaithi
Kaithi
* Kalinga * Khojki * Khotanese * Khudawadi * Laṇḍā * Lepcha * Limbu * Mahajani * Marchen * Marchung * Meitei Mayek * Modi * Multani * Nāgarī * Nandinagari * Odia * \'Phags-pa * Newar * Pungs-chen * Pungs-chung * Ranjana * Sharada * Saurashtra * Siddhaṃ * Soyombo * Sylheti Nagari * Takri

* Tibetan

* Uchen * Umê

* Tirhuta
Tirhuta
* Tocharian * Zanabazar Square

SOUTHERN

* Ahom * Balinese * Batak * Baybayin * Bhattiprolu * Buhid * Burmese * Chakma * Cham * Grantha * Goykanadi * Hanunó\'o * Javanese * Kadamba * Kannada * Kawi * Khmer * Kulitan * Lanna * Lao * Leke * Lontara * Malayalam

* Maldivian

* Dhives Akuru
Dhives Akuru
* Eveyla Akuru * Thaana

* Mon * Old Sundanese * Pallava * Pyu * Rejang * Rencong * Sinhala * Sundanese * Tagbanwa * Tai Le * Tai Tham * Tai Viet * Tamil * Telugu * Thai * Tigalari

* Vatteluttu

* Kolezhuthu * Malayanma

* Visayan

OTHERS

* Boyd\'s syllabic shorthand

* Canadian syllabics

* Blackfoot * Déné syllabics

* Fox I * Ge\'ez * Gunjala Gondi * Japanese Braille * Jenticha * Kayah Li * Kharosthi * Mandombe * Masaram Gondi * Meroitic * Miao * Mwangwego * Sorang Sompeng * Pahawh Hmong * Thomas Natural Shorthand

ALPHABETS

LINEAR

* Abkhaz * Adlam * Armenian * Avestan * Avoiuli * Bassa Vah * Borama * Carian * Caucasian Albanian * Coorgi–Cox alphabet
Coorgi–Cox alphabet
* Coptic * Cyrillic * Deseret

* Duployan shorthand

* Chinook writing

* Early Cyrillic * Eclectic shorthand * Elbasan * Etruscan * Evenki * Fox II * Fraser * Gabelsberger shorthand * Garay

* Georgian

* Asomtavruli
Asomtavruli
* Nuskhuri
Nuskhuri
* Mkhedruli
Mkhedruli

* Glagolitic * Gothic * Gregg shorthand * Greek * Greco-Iberian alphabet
Greco-Iberian alphabet
* Hangul
Hangul
* IPA * Kaddare

* Latin

* Beneventan * Blackletter * Carolingian minuscule * Fraktur
Fraktur
* Gaelic * Insular * Kurrent * Merovingian * Sigla * Sütterlin * Tironian notes * Visigothic

* Luo * Lycian * Lydian * Manchu * Mandaic * Molodtsov * Mongolian * Mru * Neo- Tifinagh
Tifinagh
* New Tai Lue * N\'Ko * Ogham
Ogham
* Oirat * Ol Chiki * Old Hungarian * Old Italic * Old Permic * Orkhon * Old Uyghur * Osage * Osmanya * Pau Cin Hau * Rohingya Hanifi

* Runic

* Anglo-Saxon * Cipher * Dalecarlian * Elder Futhark * Younger Futhark
Younger Futhark
* Gothic * Marcomannic * Medieval * Staveless

* Sidetic * Shavian * Somali * Tifinagh
Tifinagh
* Vagindra * Visible Speech
Visible Speech
* Vithkuqi * Zaghawa

NON-LINEAR

* Braille
Braille
* Maritime flags * Morse code
Morse code
* New York Point
New York Point
* Semaphore line * Flag semaphore
Flag semaphore
* Moon type

IDEOGRAMS /PICTOGRAMS

* Adinkra * Aztec * Blissymbol * Dongba * Ersu Shaba * Emoji * IConji * Isotype * Kaidā * Míkmaq * Mixtec * New Epoch Notation Painting * Nsibidi
Nsibidi
* Ojibwe Hieroglyphs * Siglas poveiras * Testerian * Yerkish * Zapotec

LOGOGRAMS

CHINESE FAMILY OF SCRIPTS

CHINESE CHARACTERS

* Simplified * Traditional * Oracle bone script * Bronze Script

* Seal Script

* large * small * bird-worm

* Hanja
Hanja
* Idu * Kanji
Kanji
* Chữ nôm * Zhuang

CHINESE-INFLUENCED

* Jurchen * Khitan large script * Sui * Tangut

CUNEIFORM

* Akkadian * Assyrian * Elamite * Hittite * Luwian * Sumerian

OTHER LOGO-SYLLABIC

* Anatolian * Bagam * Cretan * Isthmian * Maya * Proto-Elamite * Yi (Classical)

LOGO-CONSONANTAL

* Demotic * Hieratic
Hieratic
* Hieroglyphs

NUMERALS

* Hindu-Arabic * Abjad * Attic (Greek) * Muisca * Roman

SEMI-SYLLABARIES

FULL

* Celtiberian * Northeastern Iberian * Southeastern Iberian * Khom

REDUNDANT

* Espanca * Pahawh Hmong * Khitan small script * Southwest Paleohispanic * Zhùyīn fúhào

SOMACHEIROGRAMS

* ASLwrite * SignWriting * si5s * Stokoe Notation

SYLLABARIES

* Afaka * Bamum * Bété * Byblos * Cherokee * Cypriot * Cypro-Minoan * Eskayan * Geba * Great Lakes Algonquian syllabics * Iban

* Japanese

* Hiragana
Hiragana
* Katakana
Katakana
* Man\'yōgana * Hentaigana * Sogana * Jindai moji

* Kikakui * Kpelle * Linear B
Linear B
* Linear Elamite
Linear Elamite
* Lisu * Loma * Nüshu * Nwagu Aneke script * Old Persian Cuneiform
Cuneiform
* Vai * Woleai * Yi (Modern) * Yugtun

* v * t * e

Braille
Braille
⠃⠗⠁⠊⠇⠇⠑

BRAILLE CELL

* 1829 braille
1829 braille
* International uniformity * ASCII braille * Unicode
Unicode
braille patterns

BRAILLE SCRIPTS

French-ordered scripts (see for more)

* Albanian * Amharic * Arabic * Armenian * Azerbaijani * Belarusian

* Bharati

* Devanagari
Devanagari
(Hindi / Marathi / Nepali) * Bengali * Punjabi * Sinhalese * Tamil * Urdu * etc.

* Bulgarian * Burmese * Cambodian * Cantonese * Catalan * Chinese (Mandarin, mainland) * Czech * Dutch * Dzongkha (Bhutanese) * English (Unified English ) * Esperanto * Estonian * Faroese * French * Georgian * German * Ghanaian * Greek * Guarani * Hawaiian * Hebrew * Hungarian * Icelandic * Inuktitut (reassigned vowels) * Iñupiaq * IPA * Irish * Italian * Kazakh * Kyrgyz * Latvian * Lithuanian * Maltese * Mongolian * Māori * Nigerian * Northern Sami * Persian * Philippine * Polish * Portuguese * Romanian * Russian * Samoan * Scandinavian * Slovak * South African * Spanish * Tatar * Taiwanese Mandarin (largely reassigned) * Thai border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px">

* Algerian Braille
Braille
(obsolete)

FREQUENCY-BASED SCRIPTS

* American Braille
Braille
(obsolete)

INDEPENDENT SCRIPTS

* Japanese * Korean * Two-Cell Chinese

EIGHT-DOT SCRIPTS

* Luxembourgish * Kanji
Kanji
* Gardner–Salinas braille codes (GS8)

SYMBOLS IN BRAILLE

* Braille
Braille
music * Canadian currency marks * Computer Braille
Braille
Code * Gardner–Salinas braille codes (GS8/GS6) * International Phonetic Alphabet
Alphabet
(IPA) * Nemeth braille code

BRAILLE TECHNOLOGY

* Braille
Braille
e-book * Braille
Braille
embosser * Braille
Braille
translator * Braille
Braille
watch * Mountbatten Brailler
Mountbatten Brailler
* Optical braille recognition * Perforation * Perkins Brailler * Refreshable braille display
Refreshable braille display
* Slate and stylus
Slate and stylus
* Braigo

PERSONS

* Louis Braille
Braille
* Charles Barbier * Valentin Haüy * Thakur Vishva Narain Singh * Sabriye Tenberken * William Bell Wait

ORGANISATIONS

* Braille
Braille
Institute of America * Braille
Braille
Without Borders * Japan Braille
Braille
Library * National Braille
Braille
Association * Blindness organizations * Schools for the blind * American Printing House for the Blind

OTHER TACTILE ALPHABETS

* Decapoint * Moon type * New York Point
New York Point
* Night writing * Vibratese

RELATED TOPICS

* Accessible publishing * Braille
Braille
literacy * Robo Braille
Braille

* Writi

.