(Last Updated on : 24-01-2015)
Assamese script owes a history of development from the Ngari script. Three styles of Assamese script were identified in the seventeenth century. They are baminiya, kaitheli and garhgaya. These three styles gave way to the standard Assamese script. The present Assamese script is similar to the Bengali script.
Under the Ahom dynasty rule the Buranjis were written in Assamese language
using Assamese script. Charyapada
is the earliest evidence of Assamese script. Madhava Kandali used Assamese script in the 14th century in order to compose Kotha Ramayana which is the first translation of Ramayana in a regional Indian language after Valmiki's composition.
Assamese script is evident from rock inscriptions and copper plate inscriptions. Kamrupi variety of the Magadhi Prakrit existed between the 6th and 12th century AD. A fifth century rock inscription was discovered in Kamarupa. It is the Eastern Gupta alphabet offshoot of the Brahmi script. This variety of the East India script was developed into the Kutila script. The early Assam inscriptions resemble the Kutila script. The Kalika puran was compiled in Assamese during 9th-10th century from the original Sanskrit book.
Assamese script has a total of 11 vowel letters that was used to represent the eight main vowel sounds of Assamese. Some of these vowel letters have different sounds and there are several vowel distinctions that are preserved in the writing system. Vowel signs are also used in combination with consonants to modify its pronunciation.
The names of these Assamese consonant letters are typically the consonant's main pronunciation along with the inherent vowel. Since the inherent vowel is presumed, most letters' names look similar to the letter itself. Some letters have also lost their distinctive pronunciation in Modern Assamese and they are called by an elaborate name.
The origin of Assamese script has been traced to the Eastern Indian variety of Brahmi script. Assamese script can be considered also as an Alphabetic - Syllabic script.
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