Suriyani Malayalam

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Suriyani Malayalam (സുറിയാനി മലയാളം, ܣܘܼܪܝܵܢܝܼ ܡܲܠܲܝܵܠܲܡ), also known as Karshoni or Syriac Malayalam, is a dialect of Malayalam written in a variant form of Syriac script which was popular among the Saint Thomas Christians (also known as Syrian Christians or Nasranis) of Kerala in India.[1][2][3][4] It uses Malayalam grammar, the East Syriac script with special orthographic features, and vocabulary from Malayalam and East Syriac. This originated in the South Indian region of the Malabar Coast (modern-day Kerala). Until the 19th century, the script was widely used by Syrian Christians in Kerala.

Writing

There were numerous problems in writing Malayalam using the script of Syriac, a Semitic language. Only 22 letters were available from East Syriac orthography to render over 53 phonemes of Malayalam. Both the languages are not related to one another in any way except for religious causes. These problems were overcome by creating additional letters.[5] Basic Syriac ʾĀlap̄ Bēṯ based on Maḏnḥāyā form with corresponding Malayalam letters

ܕ ܓ ܒ ܐ
ദ് ഗ് ബ്, വ്
ܚ ܙ ܘ ܗ
ഹ് സ് വ് ഹ്
ܠ ܟ ܝ ܛ
ല് ക്, ക്ക് യ് ത്
ܥ ܣ ܢ ܡ
സ് ന് മ്
ܪ ܩ ܨ ܦ
റ് ഖ് സ് പ്, വ്
ܬ ܫ
ത്, സ് ശ്

Additional Malayalam letters

SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-TTA.png SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-NYA.png SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-JA.png SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-NGA.png
ട് ഞ് ജ് ങ്
SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-RA.png SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-BHA.png SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-NNNA.png SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-NNA.png
ര് ഭ് ഩ* ണ്
SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-SSA.png SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-LLLA.png SYRIAC-LETTER-MALAYALAM-LLA.png
ഷ് ഴ് ള്
  • alveolar nasal corresponding to U+OD29

Vowels

ܘ݁ ܹ ܸ ܘ݂ ܝ݂ ܵ ܲ
ഒ, ഓ ഉ, ഊ ഇ, ഈ
ܟܘ݁ ܟܹ ܟܸ ܟܘ݂ ܟܝ݂ ܟܵ ܟܲ
കൊ, കോ കേ കെ കു, കൂ കി, കീ കാ

Unicode

The Syriac alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in September, 1999 with the release of version 3.0. Additional letters for Suriyani Malayalam were added in June, 2017 with the release of version 10.0.

Blocks

The Unicode block for Syriac is U+0700–U+074F:

Syriac[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+070x ܀ ܁ ܂ ܃ ܄ ܅ ܆ ܇ ܈ ܉ ܊ ܋ ܌ ܍ ܏
 SAM 
U+071x ܐ ܑ ܒ ܓ ܔ ܕ ܖ ܗ ܘ ܙ ܚ ܛ ܜ ܝ ܞ ܟ
U+072x ܠ ܡ ܢ ܣ ܤ ܥ ܦ ܧ ܨ ܩ ܪ ܫ ܬ ܭ ܮ ܯ
U+073x ܰ ܱ ܲ ܳ ܴ ܵ ܶ ܷ ܸ ܹ ܺ ܻ ܼ ܽ ܾ ܿ
U+074x ݀ ݁ ݂ ݃ ݄ ݅ ݆ ݇ ݈ ݉ ݊ ݍ ݎ ݏ
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 11.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

The Syriac Abbreviation (a type of overline) can be represented with a special control character called the Syriac Abbreviation Mark (U+070F).

The Unicode block for Suriyani Malayalam specific letters is called the Syriac Supplement block and is U+0860–U+086F:

Syriac Supplement[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+086x
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 11.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Loanwords

Over the centuries, the Malayalam language borrowed several East Syriac words. A few of them are given below:

Original Syriac Suriyani Malayalam Meaning
Emma[1][6] Amma Mother
Aba Appan Father
Nasraya, Nasrani Nasrani Christian
Pesħa[4] Pesaha Passover
Malakha[3] Malakha Angel
Qudasha[3] Kudasha Sacrament
Mamoditha[3][4] Mamodisa Baptism
Sliva Sliva/Sleeba Cross
Isho'[3] Isho Jesus
Qurbana[3] Qurbana Eucharist (for Holy Mass)
M'shiħa[3][4] Mishiha Anointed
Dukhrana Dukrana Remembrance
Qasisha Kathanar/Kasnar Syrian priest
Mar Mar Lord, Sir
Ruħa Ruha Holy Spirit
Shliħa Shliha Apostle

Literature

Vedatharkam written by Kariattil Mar Ousep is one of the famous books written in Suriyani Malayalam.[2] Large number of documents written in Suriyani Malayalam are found among the Saint Thomas Christians or Nasranis of Kerala.[2] These documents include an alternate set of the Canons of the Synod of Diamper.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "City Youth Learn Dying Language, Preserve It". The New Indian Express. May 9, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Suriyani Malayalam, Nasrani Foundation
  3. ^ a b c d e f g A sacred language is vanishing from State, The Hindu
  4. ^ a b c d Prayer from the Past, India Today
  5. ^ "Proposal to Encode Syriac Letters for Garshuni Malayalam" (PDF).
  6. ^ Mar Thomma Margam by Fr. Varghese Pathikulangara
  7. ^ Perczel (2014), 266-8.

Further reading

  • Perczel, István (2014). "Garshuni Malayalam: A Witness to an Early Stage of Indian Christian Literature". Hugoye: A Journal of Syriac Studies. 17 (2): 263–323.
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