Thaana, which seems to have been invented in the eighteenth century, is unique in other respects, too. For one thing, its letters are based on numbers — but numbers from two different number systems. The first nine letters h—v are derived from the Arabic numerals, whereas the next nine m—d were the local Indic numerals. The remaining letters for loanwords z—ch and Arabic transliteration are adapted from native consonants, with the exception of y, which is of unknown origin.
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Thaana, which seems to have been invented in the eighteenth century, is unique in other respects, too. For one thing, its letters are based on numbers — but numbers from two different number systems. The first nine letters h—v are derived from the Arabic numerals, whereas the next nine m—d were the local Indic numerals.
The remaining letters for loanwords z—ch and Arabic transliteration are adapted from native consonants, with the exception of y, which is of unknown origin. There is no apparent logic to the order; it has even been suggested this was an attempt to keep it secret. The script was originally used primarily to write magical incantations, including Arabic quotations, written from right to left. Thaana grew in popularity also because of the support of Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu who is credited with emancipating the country from Portuguese rule in Thaana became the visual embodiment of a nationalistic reform movement determined that the country should not be subject to foreign occupation again.
Modern invasions and occupations, however, tend to be economic and technological, and can be just as lethal. When telex machines were introduced to the islands in the s, they operated in the Latin alphabet. A hasty Latinization was created, approved and implemented in , even though the Latin alphabet ignored many features of Maldivian spoken language. Booklets were printed and dispatched to all atoll and island offices, as well as schools and merchant liners.
The Thaana script, it seemed, was doomed. In , the president of Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, held a cabinet meeting underwater in scuba gear to raise awareness of rising sea levels. Maldivian Museum with Thaana Script. Thaana Text - Universal Human Rights. Thaana, the script of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, is probably the only script in the world to have been ousted in a linguistic coup, only to return in triumph after two years in exile.
It is also probably the first, but almost certainly not the last script to be threatened by global warming. Dhivehi sidereal compass with directions in Thaana script. Transliterating Arabic Words. Noto Sans Thaana Font. Thaana Consonants. Thaana Script on Sign in Minicoy. Thaana Street Sign - Eric Lafforgue.
Dhivehi Lesson 1: Script and Pronunciation
Several Dhivehi scripts have been used by Maldivians during their history. The early Dhivehi scripts fell into the abugida category, while the more recent Thaana has characteristics of both an abugida and a true alphabet. An ancient form of Nagari script , as well as the Arabic and Latin scripts, have also been extensively used in the Maldives, but with a more restricted function. Latin was official only during a very brief period of the Islands' history. The language of the Maldives has had its very own script since very ancient times. It is likely that the first Dhivehi script appeared in association with the expansion of Buddhism throughout South Asia. This was over two millennia ago, in the Mauryan period, during emperor Ashoka 's time.
Maldivian writing systems
The Thaana script was developed during the 18th century by an unknown inventor. It first appeared in government documents in and replaced an older alphabet known as Dives akuru. Some of the Taana letters were derived from Dives akuru, while others were modelled on Arabic numerals. Vowel indication is modelled on the Arabic system of diacritics. In Mincoy the Maliku dialect is spoken and is known as Mahl. Maldivian is closely related to, though not mutually intelligible with, Sinhalese. It has been influenced by and aborbed words from a number of languages, including Arabic, French, Persian, Portuguese, Urdu and English.