|Circa 14th–18th centuries, and present|
Sundanese script (Aksara Sunda, ᮃᮊ᮪ᮞᮛ ᮞᮥᮔ᮪ᮓ) is a writing system which is used by the Sundanese people. It is built based on Old Sundanese script (Aksara Sunda Kuno) which was used by the ancient Sundanese between the 14th and 18th centuries.
History and standardization
Since Sundanese people have utilized many different scripts, there were several requirements considered in the standardization of the Sundanese script for modern usage: (a) a script that can record Sundanese language; (b) period of usage; (c) area of usage; (d) simplicity; (e) shows Sundanese identity.
The government of West Java Province has announced Peraturan Daerah (Local Regulation) no. 6 1996 about the Sundanese language, literature and script. The regulation was motivated by Keputusan Presiden (President's Decision) no. 082/B/1991, 24 July 1991.
As follow up to the local regulation, on Tuesday, 21 October 1997 in the main hall of Japanese Language Study Centre, Universitas Padjadjaran, Jatinangor; a seminar entitled "Lokakarya Aksara Sunda", in cooperation with the government of West Java Province and the Faculty of Literature Padjadjaran University, was held and attended by delegations from local communities and cities in West Java. Several discussion results were achieved:
- Historical facts from the 5th century until now have shown that there were seven scripts used in the West Javanese area: Pallawa, Pranagari, Sunda Kuno (Old Sundanese), Javanese (Carakan), Arabic (Pegon), Cacarakan, and Latin, with the following timeline:
- Pallawa and Pranagari: 5th–7th centuries (three centuries)
- Sunda Kuno (Old Sundanese Script): 14th–18th centuries (five centuries)
- Javanese (Carakan): 11th century and 17th–19th centuries (four centuries)
- Arabic (Pegon): 17th – middle of the 20th centuries (three centuries)
- Cacarakan: 19th–present (three centuries)
- Latin script: end of the 19th century – present (two centuries)
- "Sundanese Script" shall fulfill the following criteria: "Sundanese Script is an orthographical system created by the people of West Java which include script and writing system for writing Sundanese language." (Article 1.k of Local Government Regulation (Perda) no. 6 1996)
- From the basic requirements: simplicity, timeline, area of usage, usage (to write Sundanese), law (President's Decision no. 082/B/1991 24 July 1991 and Perda no. 6 1996), percentage of Sundanese people creativity, it can be concluded that the suitable script fulfilling those requirements is the Aksara Sunda Kuno (Old Sundanese script). And now it is also agreed upon scholars that the script can simply be called Aksara Sunda (Sundanese script).
- Since there were several variants in writing due to materials (stone, metal, skin, leaves, knives, ink, pen, hammer), timeline, and techniques, there shall be another criterion to choose for modern usage. And, considering the completeness and practicality, the variant found in soft-material-documents shall be used for modern usage.
- There was a tendency to name Cacarakan script as Sundanese script by some people before. However, it can be traced back that the earliest source was a book written by G. J. Grashuis, "Handleiding voor Aanleren van het Soendaneesch Letterschrift" (Learning Sundanese Script) in year 1860. The book taught to write "Sundanese Script" but using "Cacarakan". The Cacarakan script itself only contains around 10% of innovation by Sundanese people, especially by reducing and simplifying the sounds in Javanese (Carakan) to suit Sundanese language (tongue).
- From the cultural point of view, Sundanese script is one part of Sundanese civilization and culture. Therefore, (re)spreading and (re)utilizing Sundanese script shall integrate with the task to maintain and conserve Sundanese culture as a whole. Thus, it will have broader scope as wide as the scope of the people itself.
- Re-spreading and re-utilizing Sundanese script shall be done in several steps since it was not well known by the community within the last three centuries. These steps are:
- Tahap Pawanohan (Introduction)
- Tahap Palomaan (Utilizing)
- Tahap Pangagulan (Pride)
- Tahap Pamibandaan (Ownership)
Next, the existence and function of Sundanese Script in the social and cultural life of West Javanese people in modern life is supported by the West Javanese Governor's Decision no. 434/SK.614-Dis.PK/99 about "Standardization of Sundanese Script", Local Government's Regulation no. 5 2003 about "Conservation of Local Language, Literature, and Script", and Governor's Decision no. 3 2004.
The standardized script has 32 basic characters, consists of 7 aksara swara (independent vowels): a, é, i, o, u, e, and eu, and 23 aksara ngalagéna (consonants with vowel a): ka-ga-nga, ca-ja-nya, ta-da-na, pa-ba-ma, ya-ra-la, wa-sa-ha, fa-va-qa-xa-za.
The additional five sounds to the ngalagena characters were added to fulfill the purpose of Sundanese script as tool for recording the development of Sundanese language, especially by absorption of foreign words and sounds. However, the glyphs for the new characters are not new, but reusing several variants in old Sundanese script, for example: the glyphs for fa and va are variants of Old Sundanese pa, the glyphs for qa and xa are variants of Old Sundanese ka, and the glyph for za is a variant of Old Sundanese ja.
There are two non-standard sounds, kha and sha, for writing foreign Arabic consonants ⟨خ⟩ and ⟨ش⟩. These are considered non-standard because their usage only supported by few Sundanese people.
There are also rarangkén or attachments for removing, modifying, or adding vowel or consonant sound to the base characters. 13 rarangkén based on the position to the base can be categorized into three groups: (1) five rarangkén above the base characters, (2) three rarangkén below the base characters, and (3) five rarangkén inline the base characters. In addition, there are glyphs for number characters, from zero to nine.
Graphically, ngalagena characters including rarangkén have angle 45° – 75°. In general, the dimension ratio (height:width) is 4:4, except for the ngalagena character ra (4:3), ba and nya (4:6), and the swara character i (4:3). Rarangkén have dimension ratio 2:2, except for panyecek (1:1), panglayar (4:2), panyakra (2:4), pamaéh (4:2) and pamingkal (2:4 bottom-side, 3:2 right-side). Numbers have ratio 4:4, except for number 4 and 5 (4:3).
Aksara Swara (ᮃᮊ᮪ᮞᮛ ᮞᮭᮛ)
|ᮃ = a||ᮆ = é||ᮄ = i||ᮇ = o|
|ᮅ = u||ᮈ = e||ᮉ = eu|
Aksara Ngalagéna (ᮃᮊ᮪ᮞᮛ ᮍᮜᮌᮨᮔ)
Aksara ngalagéna from Sundanese language
|ᮊ = ka||ᮌ = ga||ᮍ = nga|
|ᮎ = ca||ᮏ = ja||ᮑ = nya|
|ᮒ = ta||ᮓ = da||ᮔ = na|
|ᮕ = pa||ᮘ = ba||ᮙ = ma|
|ᮚ = ya||ᮛ = ra||ᮜ = la|
|ᮝ = wa||ᮞ = sa||ᮠ = ha|
Aksara ngalagéna for writing foreign words
|ᮖ = fa||ᮋ = qa||ᮗ = va||ᮟ = xa||ᮐ = za|
|ᮮ = kha||ᮯ = sya|
Based on their location to the base glyph, 14 rarangkén can be categorized as:
- Rarangkén above the base glyph = 5 kinds
- Rarangkén below the base glyph = 2 kinds
- Rarangkén inline the base glyph = 6 kinds
a. Rarangkén above the base glyph
|ᮤ||Panghulu, modifies the vowel /a/ to /i/. |
Example: ᮊᮤ (ki)
|ᮨ||Pamepet, modifies the vowel /a/ to /e/. |
Example: ᮊᮨ (ké)
|ᮩ||Paneuleung, modifies the vowel /a/ to /ɤ/. |
Example: ᮊᮩ (keu)
|ᮁ||Panglayar, adds a final /r/ to the base sound. |
Example: ᮊᮁ (kar)
|ᮀ||Panyecek, adds a final /ŋ/ to the base sound. |
Example: ᮊᮀ (kang)
b. Rarangkén below the base glyph
|ᮥ||Panyuku, modifies the vowel /a/ to /u/. |
Example: ᮊᮣ (ku)
|ᮢ||Panyakra, inserts the consonant /r/ to the base sound. |
Example: ᮊᮢ (kra)
|ᮣ||Panyiku, inserts the consonant /l/ to the base sound. |
Example: ᮊᮣ (kla)
c. Rarangkén inline the base glyph
|ᮦ||Panéléng, modifies vowel /a/ to /e/. |
Example: ᮊᮦ (ké)
|ᮧ||Panolong, modifies the vowel /a/ to /o/. |
Example: ᮊᮧ (ko)
|ᮡ||Pamingkal, inserts the consonant /j/ to the base sound. |
Example: ᮊᮡ (kya)
|ᮂ||Pangwisad, adds final consonant sound /h/ to the base sound. |
Example: ᮊᮂ (kah)
|᮪||Patén or pamaéh, removes vowel sound of the base sound. |
Example: ᮊ᮪ (k)
Numbers (ᮃᮀᮊ ᮞᮥᮔ᮪ᮓ)
|᮱ = 1||᮲ = 2||᮳ = 3|
|᮴ = 4||᮵ = 5||᮶ = 6|
|᮷ = 7||᮸ = 8||᮹ = 9|
|᮰ = 0|
In texts, numbers are written surrounded with dual pipe sign | ... |.
Example: |᮲᮰᮱᮹| = 2019
For modern use, Latin punctuations are used. Such punctuations are: comma, dot, semicolon, colon, exclamation mark, question mark, quotes, parenthesis, bracket etc. Old Sundanese, though, was written using its own set of punctuation symbols. The bindu surya 〈᳀〉, the representation of the sun, is used in the sequence 〈᳆᳀᳆〉, which denoted a religious text. Likewise, the bindu panglong 〈᳁〉, the representation of a half moon, is used in the sequence 〈᳆᳁〉, which had the same meaning. A third punctuation sequence used as a liturgical text marker is 〈᳇᳇〉. The bindu purnama 〈᳂〉, on the other hand, representing a full moon, is used in the sequence 〈᳅᳂᳅〉, which denoted a historical text. Bindu surya is also sometimes used as the full stop; in this case, bindu purnama is also used as comma. When bindu surya isn't used as full stop, bindu cakra 〈᳃〉, the representation of a wheel, was used instead of the bindu purnama as a comma.
The punctuation symbols resembling letters with stripes used in the sequences above, 〈᳆〉, 〈᳅〉, and 〈᳇〉, are respectively named da satanga, ka satanga, and ba satanga, and originated as ‘decorated’ versions of the syllable da 〈ᮓ〉, one half of the syllable ka 〈ᮊ〉, and the syllable ba 〈ᮘ〉, respectively. To these can be added the leu satanga 〈᳄〉, of unclear meaning. Likewise, it originated as a "decorated" syllable leu 〈ᮼ〉, which is archaic.
The punctuation symbols resembling letters with stripes used in the sequences above, 〈᳆〉, 〈᳅〉, and 〈᳇〉, are respectively named da satanga, ka satanga, and ba satanga, and originated as "decorated" versions of the syllable da 〈ᮓ〉, one half of the syllable ka 〈ᮊ〉, and the syllable ba 〈ᮘ〉, respectively. To these can be added the leu satanga 〈᳄〉, of unclear meaning. Likewise, it originated as a "decorated" syllable leu 〈ᮼ〉, which is archaic.
Writing in pasangan (pairs)
Simple words or sentences can be written directly, for example by arranging ngalagéna letters which represent the sounds. However, in certain words, compound consonants can be found. Then, two ways of writing can be used: (1) using pamaéh, or (2) using pasangan (pairs).
The use of pamaéh is one way to write Sundanese script at basic stage. Another way, the pasangan, is normally used in order to avoid the use of pamaéh in the middle of words, as well as to save writing space. Pasangan is constructed by attaching a second ngalagéna letter to the first one, thus eliminating the /a/ vowel of the first ngalagéna.
Sundanese script was added to the Unicode Standard in April 2008 with the release of version 5.1. In version 6.3, the support of pasangan and some characters from Old Sundanese script were added.
The Unicode block for Sundanese is U+1B80–U+1BBF. The Unicode block for Sundanese Supplement is U+1CC0–U+1CCF.
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
A Sundanese lontar manuscript written in Sundanese script.