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Lao
Lao Script Sample.svg
Type Abugida
Spoken languages Lao and others
Time period c. 1350–present
Parent systems
Unicode range U+0E80–U+0EFF
ISO 15924 Laoo
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.
This article contains Lao text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Lao script.

The Lao script is used mainly to write the Lao language.

The minority languages of Laos are also written in the Lao script, and officially it is the only script to write them in Laos, but many speakers of Hmong prefer the Latin alphabet.

Contents

History

The Lao script is derived from the Khmer script, which explains the similarities between the Lao script and the Thai script. However, since the spelling reform carried out in the 1960s, the modern Lao script is more concise and more phonetic than the previous Lao script and the Thai script.

In the 1970's, the letter ຣ (ro), which had only been used in loan-words, was replaced with ລ (lo), and consonant clusters were removed.[1]

Consonants

The table below shows the Lao consonant letters with their phonetic value in the International Phonetic Alphabet, and transcriptions according to the US Board on Geographic Names and the British Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (BGN/PCGN), the US Library of Congress (ALA/LC) and the transcriptions used in the Unicode names of the letters.

Character IPA BGN/PCGN ALA/LC Unicode
k k k/k k
kh ufu kh
kh kh/k kh
ŋ ng ng/ng ng
t͡ʃ ch ch/t c
s s s/t s
s x s/t s
ɲ gn/y ny/— ny
d d/t d/t d
t t t/t t
th th/t th
th th/t th
n n n/n n
b b/p b/p b
p p p/p p
ph ph/p ph
f f f/p f
ph ph/p ph
f f f/p f
m m m/m m
j y y y
ຣ * r r r r
l l l l
w v/o v w
h h h h
ອ** o
h h h h

* Officially removed by the Ministry of Education in the 1970's (replaced with ລ), but still used by many
** A zero consonant, but also used for vowels.

Vowel nuclei

The table below shows the Lao vowel nuclei, combined with the consonant ກ. (provisional version)

IPA BGN LC Unicode IPA BGN LC Unicode IPA BGN LC Unicode IPA BGN LC Unicode
ກະ/ກັກ a a a a ກາ a ā aa
ກິ i i i i ກີ i ī ii ເກັຍະ/ເກັຽະ*/ກັຽກ ia ia ເກັຍ/ເກັຽ*/ກຽກ ia īa
ກຶ ɯ u ư y ກື ɯː u ư̄ yy ເກຶອະ/ເກຶອກ ɯə ua ưa ເກືອ ua ư̄a
ກຸ u ou u u ກູ ou ū uu ກົວະ/ກັວກ oua ua ກົວ/ ກວກ oua ūa
ເກະ/ເກັກ e é e ເກ é ē e
ແກະ/ແກັກ ɛ è æ ແກ ɛː è ǣ ei
ໂກະ/ກົກ o ô o ໂກ ô ō o
ເກາະ/ກັອກ ɔ o ǫ ກໍ/ກອກ ɔː o ǭ
ເກິະ/ເກິກ ɤ eu œ ເກີະ/ ເກີກ ɤː eu œ̄
ໄກ/ໃກ/ກັຍ* ai ai ai ai/ay ກາຍ/ກາຽ* ai āi
ເກົາ au ao ao
ກໍາ am am am am

* indicates variations no longer used in the reformed spelling

Numerals

Number 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Lao
ສູນ
suun

ນຶ່ງ
neung

ສອງ
song

ສາມ
sam

ສີ່
see

ຫ້າ
ha

ຫົກ
hok

ເຈັດ
chet

ແປດ
paet

ເກົ້າ
gow
໑໐
ສິບ
seep

Lao compatible software

Lao was not officially released for Windows until the Windows Vista.[2] Although user generated fonts are freely available online, viewing them required the user to download the fonts; place them into the "Windows", "Fonts", folder; and then open an Internet Explorer window. The user would then navigate to the "Tools" menu, "Internet Options" option, "General" tab. They would need to click on the "Fonts" option and then select the font that they downloaded.[3]

Lao in Unicode

The Unicode range for Lao is U+0E80–U+0EFF. The first 10 characters of the row U+0EDx are the Lao numerals 0 through 9. Throughout the chart, grey areas indicate non-assigned code points. Although there are many unassigned code points, the ones that are assigned for Lao characters match the relative positions of the corresponding Thai characters.

Lao
Unicode.org chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+0E8x                  
U+0E9x          
U+0EAx            
U+0EBx      
U+0ECx        
U+0EDx        
U+0EEx                                
U+0EFx                                

References

  1. ^ Simmala & Becker, pp. 10 & 248
  2. ^ Microsoft Windows help page
  3. ^ AMERILAO.org site How to "Setup Internet Explorer to read Lao font"
  • Simmala, Buasawan and Benjawan Poomsan Becker (2003), Lao for Beginners. Paiboon Publishing. ISBN 1-887521-28-3

External links

See also

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