Sundanese (as Cacarakan)
|Time period||c. 13th–present|
|ISO 15924||Java, 361|
The Javanese script, natively known as Hanacaraka (ꦲꦤꦕꦫꦏ), Carakan (ꦕꦫꦏꦤ꧀),1 or Aksara Jawa (ꦲꦏ꧀ꦱꦫꦗꦮ),2 is a pre-colonial script used to write Javanese and several other native languages of Indonesia. It is closely related to the Balinese script.
The Javanese script is an abugida. Each letter is a syllable with inherent vowel /a/ or /ɔ/, with various diacritics placed around the letter to indicate different vowels, final consonants, or foreign pronunciation.3 Letters have subscript forms for writing consonant clusters, and some have "capital" forms used in proper names. Punctuation includes a comma, period, colon, quotation marks, numeral indicator, as well as marks to introduce chapters of a poem, song, or letter.4 Javanese characters are written without word boundaries (Scriptio continua).3 Therefore the reader of Javanese script has to be familiar with the text he's about to read to know the word boundaries.
In everyday use, Javanese script has been almost entirely supplanted by Latin script which was introduced by the Dutch during the 19th century.1 Javanese script was added to Unicode version 5.2 in 2009. Even so, since its complex script can only be displayed using SIL Graphite technology, only available in the Firefox browser, Thunderbird email client, and several open source word processors, writing and rendering Javanese on a computer is still not as easy as writing with Latin script. The difficulties encountered when trying to use this script in a digital environment is one of main reasons for its lack of currency except among preservationists.
- 1 History
- 2 Characters
- 3 Extended Characters
- 4 Numbers
- 5 Punctuation
- 6 Collation
- 7 Relation with other languages
- 8 Font
- 9 Unicode
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Further reading
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Javanese and Balinese are modern variants of Kawi, a Brahmic script developed in Java from the earlier Pallava script. Kawi is first attested in a legal document from 804 CE, and was widely used in religious literature written in palm-leaf manuscripts called lontar.2 Over the Hindu-Buddhist period of Indonesia the shape transients into Javanese, though much of the orthography stays the same. By the 17th century, the script is identified as Carakan5 or Hanacaraka based on its first five letters.
Carakan was mainly used by scribes centered around Surakarta and Yogyakarta to write various manuscripts such as historical accounts (babad), stories (serat), ancient verses (kakawin), and divination guides (primbon) among many others.6 The most popular of texts are copied and rewritten over the centuries.7 Manuscripts commissioned by nobility are often illuminated or illustrated, which ranges from simple embellished stanza markers to elaborate frontispiece or textual gateways called wadana. Illustrations also vary in style; some used highly stylized wayang depiction, others used more naturalistic lines.7
In 1926, an academic workshop in Sriwedari, Surakarta issued Wewaton Sriwedari or "Sriwedari Resolve" as the first standard for Javanese spelling and orthography.8 After Indonesian independence, many guidelines has been published regarding correct orthography of the Javanese script, including Patokan Panoelise Temboeng Djawa or "Guide for writing Javanese words" issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture in 1946,8 as well as numerous guidelines issued by the Congress of Javanese Language (Kongres Bahasa Jawa, abbreviated as KBJ) from 1991 to 2006.910KBJ is also responsible for the registration of Javanese script into Unicode.
However, usage of the Javanese script has declined since the invention of a Latin orthography based on Dutch in 1926,1 and it is now more common to write Javanese in Latin alphabet. Currently, there are only a few newspapers and magazines being printed in the Javanese script, such as Jaka Lodhang. It is still taught in most elementary school and some junior high school as compulsory subject in Javanese language areas.
A basic letter in hanacaraka is called aksara (ꦲꦏ꧀ꦱꦫ), and each letter stands for a syllable with inherent vowel /a/ or /ɔ/ which could be determined by the letter's position to other letters.3 However, it also depends on the speaker's dialect; Western Javanese dialects tends to pronounce the inherent vowel as /a/, while Eastern Javanese prefers /ɔ/. Rules determining the inherent vowel of a letter is described in Wewaton Sriwedari as follows:
- A basic character stands for a syllable with the vowel /ɔ/ when the character is preceded by another character containing a sandhangan swara.
- A basic character stands for a syllable with the vowel /a/ when the character is immediately followed by a character containing a sandhangan swara.
- The first basic letter of a word normally has the /ɔ/ vowel, unless it precedes two other basic characters, in which case the first basic character has the /a/ vowel.
There are 20 basic letters called aksara nglegéna (ꦲꦏ꧀ꦱꦫꦔ꧀ꦊꦒꦺꦤ) for writing modern Javanese, they are:
- Syllable 'ha' can also represent zero consonant.
Aksara murda (ꦲꦏ꧀ꦱꦫꦩꦸꦂꦢ) or aksara gedé is used similarly to latin capital letters, though they are not used to indicate the beginning of a sentence. They are used in the first syllable of proper names, usually of a respected person or a place. Not all letter has murda form, and if murda letter is not available for a name's first syllable, the second letter is capitalized. If the second letter does not have a murda either, the third letter is capitalized, and so on. Highly respected names may all be capitalized if corresponding murda is available.
It should be noted that ca murda is only found in non-initial position as a pasangan.2
To produce a pure consonant, a mark called pangkon is used to mute the inherent vowel. However, pangkon may only be used at the end of a sentence, and if a closed syllable occurs in the middle of a sentence, pasangan (ꦥꦱꦔꦤ꧀) letters are used instead. Pasangan is a subscript form of nglegéna letters that eliminate the inherent vowel of the letter it is attached to. For example, if the letter na is attached with pasangan da, it will be read as nda. Each base letter has a corresponding pasangan form with varied shape and placement.2
Pasangan can be attached with diacritics, similar to their aksara counterpart, with several exception in its placement. Upper diacritics are attached to the aksara above, while lower diacritics are attached to the pasangan. Preceding and succeeding diacritics are put in the same line as the aksara. An aksara may only hold one pasangan each, while the pasangan may be attached with a number of diacritics. In older texts, pasangan wa was excepted for being attached to another pasangan, as it was considered to be a diacritic.
Pure vowels are commonly produce by using letter ha as a zero consonant and corresponding diacritics to change the vowel. Otherwise, there are also letters that represent pure vowels called aksara swara (ꦲꦏ꧀ꦱꦫꦱ꧀ꦮꦫ),2 which is used to differentiate proper names in similar matter to murda. For example, ayu (graceful) is written with the letter ha. But when writing a person named Ayu, swara is used. Swara Is also used for names that are foreign of origin. The element Argon for example, is written with swara. Whether or not a word is considered foreign depends on dictionary definition.118
Diacritics are called sandhangan (ꦱꦤ꧀ꦝꦔꦤ꧀). They are mainly used to change the vowel of a syllable and a number of different functions.
Vowel diacritics called sandhangan swara (ꦱꦤ꧀ꦝꦔꦤ꧀ꦱ꧀ꦮꦫ) is the most common type of diacritics used to change the vowel of a syllable. There are five sandhangan for modern Javanese. Vowel diacritics may not be used more than one in a syllable, except for tarung which may be combined with few others in a limited combination, the most obvious of which is taling-tarung. Combination pepet-tarung also exist, though they are used in Sundanese transcription. A standalone tarung can also represent long a (/aː/), though they are only used in Old Javanese.11 Vowel diacritics may be used with consonant diacritics.
In some texts, wulu and pepet are only differentiate by their size; wulu being smaller and pepet larger, drastically sometimes. This is somewhat less obvious in handwritten or calligraphic texts, and distinguishing both can difficult.
There are two kinds of consonant diacritics, sound killers or syllable-final consonants (sandhangan panyigeging wanda, ꦱꦤ꧀ꦝꦔꦤ꧀ꦥꦚꦶꦒꦼꦒꦶꦁꦮꦤ꧀ꦢ), and syllable-medial consonants (sandhangan wyanjana, ꦱꦤ꧀ꦝꦔꦤ꧀ꦮꦾꦤ꧀ꦗꦤ).8 Panyangga, cecak, and wignyan are analogues to Devanagari candrabindu, anusvara, and visarga and behave in much the same way.2Pangkon is parallel to a virama in other Brahmic scripts, and are used to mute the inherent vowel of a syllable. Several final consonants however is represented by specific diacritics, in which pangkon may not be used. For example, final consonant -r is written with layar, and may not be written as ra with pangkon. Consonant diacritic may not be used more than one in a letter, but it can be used together with vowel diacritics.
- Cakra has two form, initial and ligature, in which the latter is shown here and are more common.
- Keret may not be attached with vowel diacritics, as it already carry a vowel /ə/ by default.
Mahaprana roughly translates "to be read with deep breath", and originally represents aspirated sounds used in Old Javanese and Sanskrit transliterations, but are now obsolete. Mahaprana are often poorly attested2 and omitted from books discussing the script.
Pa cerek and nga lelet was originally vocalic /r̥/ and /l̥/ present in the early development of the script due to the influence of Brahmic scripts. Contemporary orthography established both as consonant letters2 called aksara ganten, "replacement letters", syllables with vowel value /ə/ which replaces ra+pepet and la+pepet combination.11 As it already carry a fixed vowel value, it may not be attached with vowel diacritics. Both letters have corresponding pasangan form. Ra agung was historically used by some writers as a replacement when addressing or discussing royal persons.2
|pa cerek||nga lelet||ra agung|
Most sounds not native to the Javanese language are indicated by writing the diacritic mark cecak telu over similar sounding Javanese letters.24 These letters are called rekan or rekaan letters, and they are divided by the language they originated. The most common is Arabic and Dutch or European rekan. Two other less known rekan are used for transcribing Sundanese and Chinese loan words.
|Tarung||Wulu melik||Suku mendut||Dirga muré||Dirga muré-tarung||Pepet-tarung|
When writing numbers greater than 9, simply combine the above numbers as one would using the Arabic numerals. For example, 21 is written by combining the numeral 2 and 1 as so; ꧒꧑. Similarly, the number 90 would be the ꧙꧐.3
Most of the numbers are similar to the syllable characters, namely, 1 with ga, 2 with nga lelet, 6 with e, 7 with la, 8 with pa murda, and 9 with ya. To avoid confusions, numbers that show up in Javanese texts are indicated by "numeral markers" called pada pangkat, which is written both before and after the number,3 following the pattern: text - numeral marker - numbers - numeral marker - text. For example; Tuesday, 27 March 2013 would be written as:
ꦱꦼꦭꦱ꧇꧑꧙꧇ꦩꦉꦠ꧀꧇꧒꧐꧑꧓꧇ (selasa 19 maret 2013)
In some cases, pada lungsi is used as numeral markers,11 and sometimes Javanese numerals are replaced by Arabic numerals to avoid similarities.
Punctuations can be divided into two categories: primary and special.
||Colon or quotation marks|
||Introduce a paragraph or section|
|Pada piseleh||Functions similarly to pada adeg|
||Comma or abbreviation marker|
Two special rules apply to the usage of the comma, and the period.3
1.The comma is not needed after a consonant-ending word that is represented by a pangkon
2.The comma is used instead for period after a consonant-ending word that is represented by a pangkon
||Introduces a letter to a person of older age or higher rank|
||Introduces a letter to a person of equal age or rank|
||Introduces a letter to a person of younger age or lower rank|
||Introduces a letter without age or rank distinction|
||Ends a letter|
||Introduces a poem|
||Indicates a new song within a poem|
||Indicates the end of a poem.34|
Numerous variants of special pada may be found in Javanese texts as they are often ornamental, decorated according to the scribe's taste and ability.2
There are also three other punctuation which are not categorized into the two:
Tirta tumétés and isèn-isèn is used by scribes to indicate error in writing.11 Though only used in handwriting, the two are included into the Unicode range for the purpose of rendering Javanese texts. Tirta tumétés is used in Yogyakarta, while isèn-isèn is used in Surakarta. For example, a scribe wants to write pada luhur, but wrote pada wu..., a scribe from Yogyakarta would write:
In Surakarta, it would be:
Pada rangkep indicates repeated word (rangkep)11 such as kupu-kupu (butterfly), which would be written as kupu2. The character derives from the Arabic digit 2 but in Javanese it does not have a numeric use. It was proposed as a separate character because of the bidirectional properties of the Arabic digit.2
Javanese letters are commonly arranged in the hanacaraka sequence, in which the letters form a perfect pangram narrrating the myth of Aji Saka and the mythical story of Javanese script's origin.212 However, the hanacaraka sequence only includes 20 consonants used in the Javanese language, excluding murda and mahaprana letters. The arrangement is as follow:
of which the line-by-line translation3 would be:
There (were) two messengers. (They) had animosity (among each other). (They were) equally powerful (in fight). Here are the corpses.
The script can also be arranged phonetically according to standard Sanskrit2 (called the kaganga sequence), which is how the script is arranged in its Unicode range. In this way, each letter represent sounds used to write Sanskrit and old Javanese. The arrangement is as follow:
Javanese script is also used for writing Sundanese. But the script was modified and called Cacarakan instead. It differs from Javanese by omitting the dha and tha. Difference can also be seen from the use pepet-tarung for the vowel /ɤ/,11 since the sound doesn't exist in Javanese, simplification of the vowel /o/ into a single diacritic called tolong,11 and different "nya" form11 (see rekan for Sundanese).
The Javanese and Balinese script are essentially typographic variants. Like Sundanese, Balinese omit consonant dha and tha. However, obsolete characters are still used in numerous loan words from Sanskrit or Old Javanese.13
|Javanese script||Balinese script|
Javanese script is also used to transliterate Indonesian words and English words, as can be witnessed in public places, especially in Surakarta and its surrounding area. Since Javanese script is an oral script, words from either Indonesian or English origin are written as they were pronounced, not as they were written in Latin. For example, "Solo Grand Mall" transliterated as ꦱꦺꦴꦭꦺꦴꦒꦿꦺꦤ꧀ꦩꦭ꧀, which transliterates back as "solo gren mal" (pronounced /solo gren mɔl/).
|JG Aksara Jawa, by Jason Glavy|
|Tuladha Jejeg, by R.S. Wihananto|
|Aturra, by Aditya Bayu|
|Adjisaka, by Sudarto HS/Ki Demang Sokowanten|
- first line of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Javanese.
As of 2013, there are several widely published fonts able to support Javanese, ANSI-based Hanacaraka/Pallawa by Teguh Budi Sayoga,14 Adjisaka by Sudarto HS/Ki Demang Sokowanten,15 JG Aksara Jawa by Jason Glavy,16 Carakan Anyar by Pavkar Dukunov,17 and Tuladha Jejeg by R.S. Wihananto,18 which is based on Graphite (SIL) smart font technology. Other fonts with limited publishing includes Surakarta made by Matthew Arciniega in 1992 for Mac's screen font,19 and Tjarakan developed by AGFA Monotype around 2000.20 There is also a symbol-based font called Aturra developed by Aditya Bayu from 2012-2013.21
Due to the script's complexity, many Javanese fonts have different input method compared to other Indic scripts and may exhibit several flaws. JG Aksara Jawa, in particular, may cause conflicts with other writing system, as the font use code points from other writing systems to complement Javanese's extensive repertoire. This is to be expected, as the font was made before Javanese implementation in Unicode.22
Arguably, the most "complete" font, in terms of technicality and glyph count, is Tuladha Jejeg. It is capable of logical input-method, displaying complex syllable structure, and support extensive glyph repertoire including non-standard form which may not be found in regular Javanese texts, by utilizing Graphite (SIL) smart font technology. However, as not many writing systems require such complex feature, use is limited to programs with Graphite technology, such as Firefox browser, Thunderbird email client, and several OpenType word processor. The font was chosen for displaying Javanese script in the Javanese Wikipedia.11
Javanese script was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2.
The Unicode block for Javanese is U+A980–U+A9DF. There are 91 codepoints for Javanese script: 53 letters, 19 punctuations, 10 numbers, and 9 vowels. Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points:
Unicode.org chart (PDF)
Richly illustrated wayang figures in Serat Bratayudha
Translation of Romance of Three Kingdoms in handwritten Javanese
Raden Sagara using Madurese language and printed Javanese
A street sign in Surakarta, written with both Latin and Javanese script
Stone stele with Javanese inscription in Gresik
One of the wall poems in Leiden, Serat Kalatidha, using Javanese script
The Special Region of Yogyakarta emblem honors the Javanese script
Stylized letters in the emblem of the Yogyakarta Sultanate
There are very few items available in English about Javanese script; however, the following give some introduction:
- McGlynn, John H. The Indonesian Heritage Vol. 10: Language and Literature. Grolier International, 2002. ISBN 9789798926235
- Gallop, Annabel Teh. Golden Letters: Writing Traditions of Indonesia (with Bernard Arps). London: British Library; Jakarta: Yayasan Lontar, 1991. ISBN 979-8083-06-7
- Pigeaud, Theodore G. Th. Javanese and Balinese manuscripts and some codices written in related idioms spoken in Java and Bali: descriptive catalogue, with examples of Javanese script, introductory chapters, a general index of names and subjects Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1975. ISBN 3-515-01964-2
- History of the alphabet
- Balinese script, a very similar script used in the neighbouring island of Bali
- Brahmic scripts
- Folk etymology relevant to Javanese etymology
- AGFA Monotype: Javanese. Info on script
- Proposal for encoding the Javanese script in the UCS
- Soemarmo, Marmo. "Javanese Script." Ohio Working Papers in Linguistics and Language Teaching 14.Winter (1995): 69-103.
- Daniels, Peter T and William Bright. The World's Writing Systems. Ed. Peter T Daniels and William Bright. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
- Campbell, George L. Compendium of the World's Languages. Vol. 1. New York: Routledge, 2000.
- McGlynn, John H. The Indonesian Heritage Vol. 10: Language and Literature. Grolier International, 2002.
- Gallop, Annabel T. Golden Letters: Writing Traditions of Indonesia. Jakarta: Lontar Foundation, 2012. (read online here)
- Provincial Goverment of DI Yogyakarta, Central Java, and East Java. Guidelines of Writing Javanese Script. Yogyakarta:Yayasan Pustaka Nusantara, 2003. (read online here)
- Paper from the Javanese Language Congress I
- Paper from the Javanese Language Congress III
- Wihananto, R.S. Guide to Javanese Script Unicode Font (download PDF here)
- "Javanese Characters and Aji Saka". Joglosemar. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- Ida Bagus Adi Sudewa (14 May 2003). "The Balinese Alphabet, v0.6". Yayasan Bali Galang. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Teguh Budi Sayoga (September 2004). "Hanacaraka". Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Ki Demang Sokowanten (1 November 2009). "Adjisaka". Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Jason Glavy (16 December 2006). "JG Aksara Jawa". Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Pavkar Dukunov (Nov 25, 2011). "Carakan Anyar". Hanang Hundarko. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- R.S. Wihananto. "Tuladha Jejeg, Javanese Unicode font". Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Matthew Arciniega's page
- AGFA Monotype: Javanese. Glyph repertoire
- Aditya Bayu Perdana (1 September 2013). "Aturra, font for Javanese". Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Pitulung: Aksara Jawa
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Javanese script.|
- Javanese at Omniglot.com -- A guide to writing systems
- Javanese at Ancientsscripts.com --- A compendium of world-wide writing system from prehistory to today
- Page from Javanese Wikipedia detailing web support for Javanese (in Indonesian, Javanese, and English)
- Javanese Unicode font with SIL Graphite smart font technology
- Javanese Script Transliterator using SIL Graphite smart font technology
- Hanacaraka Font & Resources (in Indonesian)
- Aksara Hanacaraka dalam Unicode (in Indonesian)