Non Latin Script Languages Of The World
The ancient Phoenician language, spoken in north Africa and the eastern Mediterranean coastal regions from around the third century to the tenth century, is the common ancestor of today's modern alphabets.
There are eight alphabet groups in use today - Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Brahmi, Cyrillic, Georgian, Greek and Latin (The one that you are reading this page in).
The Chinese group of languages do not use alphabets. An alphabet must have consonants and vowels in order to make up words, where as Chinese script consists of logosyllabic characters known as glyphs to denote different sounds, words and even phrases.
Shown on the graph below is how the ancient Phoenician alphabet evolved into the world's alphabets we know today.
2) Greek / Cyrillic.
4) Aramaic / Hebrew / Brahmi / Indic.
Shown below are twenty two computer keyboards which show the world's non Latin script alphabets. The following scripts are taken from examples 2, 3, 4 or 5 from the above graph and from the alphasyllabic or Chinese logosyllabic / glyph characters.
Modern Standard Arabic is written horizontally from right to left and uses twenty eight unicameral letters, that is letters that have no definition between upper and lower case, which is known as Haskh script.
Arabic is spoken by around 175 million people in North Africa and the Middle East and is the liturgical language of Islam and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
Armenian is a language spoken by round 6.7 million people as the official language of Armenia and as a minority language in seven other countries.
Armenian has it's own alphabet and script which originates from the ancient Pahlavi language, whose alphabet originated from Aramaic and it's spoken form from the Middle Iranian group of languages.
The Armenian alphabet consists of thirty six letters which are written horizontally from left to right.
CHINESE / MANDARIN
Standard Chinese or Mandarin does not have an alphabet but uses logosyllabic characters called glyphs. There are thousands of these glyphs in Standard Mandarin, which are written to fit into a square and placed in vertical columns from top to bottom.
Mandarin is spoken by around 845 million people in the north and south west of China, making it the most widely spoken language in the world.
Mandarin is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
There are also a number of regional dialects spoken in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The most widely spoken after Mandarin are Cantonese, Min and Wu.
Farsi is the official language of Iran and is derived from the ancient Persian language. Persian is a pluricentric language, that is a language which has several written and spoken forms.
Farsi uses the Arabic script in it's written form, a cursive alphabet with thirty two letters which are written from right to left and known as the Perso - Arabic alphabet.
Farsi is spoken by around sixty million people in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikstan.
The Georgian alphabet developed from the Asomtarruli alphabet during the fifth century. It's alphabet has thirty three unicameral letters, that is letters that have no definition between upper and lower case, which are written from left to right.
The Georgian language is a Kartavellian language which originated in the South Caucus region.
The language is spoken by around 7 million people and is the official language of Georgia.
The Greek language was adapted from the ancient Phonecian alphabet and is one of the oldest forms of alphabet in existence, with over thirty four centuries of written records.
The Greek alphabet consists of twenty four upper and lower case letters and the language is spoken by around 13 million people in Greece and the Balkan States of the Aegean.
The Standard Hebrew alphabet was developed from the ancient Aramaic script around three thousand years ago. The alphabet consists of twenty two unicameral letters, that is letters that have no definition between upper and lower case, which are written from right to left.
Hebrew is spoken by around 8 million people and is one of two official languages spoken in Israel and the liturgical language of the Judaism religion.
Modern standard Hindi uses Devangari script which was developed from the ancient Sanskrit script during the fourth century, although the modern form of the alphabet has only been used since around the 15th century.
Devangari script is syllabic and uses around one hundred basic letter forms which are written from left to right.
Hindi is one of the official languages of India and is spoken by around 487 million people.
The Japanese language does not use an alphabet, but is instead made up of three scripts of Chinese origin, Hanji, Hiragana and Katakana.
The written form of Japanese is syllabic and developed in the 8th century.
Japanese is spoken by around 127 million people and is the official language of Japan.
The Kazakh language is a Turkic language spoken by around eleven million people around the world, mainly in Kazakhstan. The language's alphabet, which uses forms from the Latin, Arabic and Cyrillic alphabets, uses twenty nine letters one digit which are written from right to left.
Khmer is the official language of Cambodia and is spoken by around fifteen million people.The Khmer alphabet was formed from an alphasyllabary - Abugida script, a script which combines both letters from an alphabet and syllabic characters, during the 6th century.
Khmer script has Brahmic origins and contains thirty three consonants, all with inherent vowels, which is written from left to right.
The Korean language is written in Hangul script, which originates from the Chinese Hanja script.
The alphabet consists of twenty four letters which are written horizontally from left to right.
Korean is spoken by around 63 million people and is the official language of both North and South Korea.
The Mongolian language uses the Uyghur script in it's written form, which is a cursive alphabet of syllabic structure, which is written from left to right in vertical columns, from top to bottom, the only vertically written language in the world to do so.
Uyghur script evolved from the classic Mongol language during the thirteenth century when it was based on Chinese characters, although modern Mongolian now uses the Cyrillic alphabet.
Mongolian is spoken by around six million people in central Asia and is the official language of Mongolia.
Myanma, more commonly known as Burmese, is a Brahmic language which uses the Abugida Script in it's written form. The script consists of thirty three letters and four digits which are written from left to right.
Myanma / Burmese is spoken by around thirty three million people as a first language in Myanmar / Burma and by another ten million people as a second language.
The Nepalese language is written in Devengari script, which originates from the ancient Sanskrit script.
The Devengari script uses around one hundred basic letter forms which are all syllabic and written from left to right.
Nepali is spoken by around thirteen million people in Bhutan, Myanmar and India and is the official language of Nepal.
Pashtu is the main language spoken in Afghanistan.The language in it's written form uses the Naskh script derived from Arabic.
The language has forty five letters and is written horizontally from right to left.
Pashtu is spoken by around sixty million people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The written form of Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, an alphabet originally formed from classical Greek.
The Cyrillic alphabet has forty eight letters which are written horizontally from left to right, which has both upper and lower case letters.
Russian is spoken by around one hundred and forty four million people and Cyrillic script is used in eight Slavic languages and eleven non Slavic languages.
Russian is the official language of Russia and one of the six official languages of the UN.
Sanskrit is the forerunner of most written forms of Indian languages and is derived from the fourth century Brahmi or Indic scripts.
Sanskrit uses a modern day Devengari script which is used as the liturgical language of the Hinduism religion and the scholarly language of Jainism and Buddhism.
At two thousand years old Tamil is the world's longest surviving, classical language which still remains in it's authentic and original form.
Tamil is a language of the Dravidian language group which uses the Brahmi script in it's written form.
Tamil script consists of thirty letters which are written horizontally from left to right.
Tamil is spoken by around 85 million people as the national language of Sri Lanka, one of the official languages of Singapore and as a minority language in India and Malaysia.
The Tibetan language is written in an alphasyllabic - Abugida script which originates from the ancient Indic script.
The alphabet consists of thirty five letters which are written from left to right.
Standard Tibetan is spoken by around five million people in Tibet, Nepal and China.
The Thai alphabet uses an alphasyllabic - Abugida writing system which is derived from Brahmic script.
The language consists of fifty nine letters which are written from left to right, as well as nine glyphs which are used for numerals.
Thai is spoken by about sixty million people in south, east Asia and is the official language of Thailand.
Ukrainian is an East Slavic language which uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet in it's written form.
The language consists of thirty three letters and uses both upper and lower case letters.
There are around 45 million speakers of Ukrainian, which is the official state language of The Ukraine and a minority language in eight other countries.
Urdu has only been around since the middle of the 14th century and took around a thousand years to evolve from a mixture of Persian, Arabic, Bengali,Turkic and English.
Urdu in it's written form uses the Nasta'liq script, which is based on the ancient Indic script.
Nasta'liq script uses thirty eight letters which are written horizontally from right to left.
Urdu is spoken by around 70 million people throughout the Islamic states of India and Bangladesh and is the national language of Pakistan.
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