The Ol Chiki (ᱚᱞ ᱪᱤᱠᱤ) script, also known as Ol Chemetʼ (Santali: ol 'writing', chemet' 'learning'), Ol Ciki, Ol, and sometimes as the Santali alphabet invented by Pandit Raghunath Murmu in the year 1925, is the official writing system for Santali, an Austroasiatic language recognized as an official regional language in India. It is one of the official scripts of the Indian Republic. It has 30 letters, the forms of which are intended to evoke natural shapes. The script is written from left to right, and has two forms ("Chapa", for print, and "Usara", for cursive). Unicode does not maintain a distinction between these two, as is typical for print and cursive forms of scripts. In both forms, this alphabet was invented as a unicameral script (in other words, as a script which does not have separate sets of uppercase and lowercase letters).
The Ol Chiki script was created in 1925 by Raghunath Murmu for the Santali language, and publicized first in 1939 at a Mayurbhanj State exhibition. Unlike most Indic scripts, Ol Chiki is not an abugida, but is a true alphabet: giving the vowels equal representation with the consonants.
Before the invention of Ol Chiki script, Santali was written in Bangla, Devanagari, Kalinga and Latin script. However, Santali is not an Indo-Aryan language and Indic scripts did not have letters for all of Santali's phonemes, especially its stop consonants and vowels, which make it difficult to write the language accurately in an unmodified Indic script.
For example, when missionary and linguist Paul Olaf Bodding, a Norwegian, studied the Santali language and needed to decide how to transcribe it (in producing his widely followed and widely respected reference books such as A Santal Dictionary), he decided to transcribe Santali in the Roman alphabet: despite his observation that Roman script lacks many of the advantages of the Indic scripts, he concluded that the Indic scripts could not adequately serve the Santali language because the Indic scripts lack a way to indicate important features of Santali pronunciation (such as glottalization, combined glottalization and nasalization, and check stops) which can be more easily represented in the Roman alphabet through the use of diacritics.
In hopes to remedy this situation and to harmonize the two scripts, Sudip Iglesias Murmu has innovated by creating a series of lowercase letters, which he has integrated with the already existing font of Ol Chiki. According to him, providing lowercase letters increases the efficiency of keyboarding, both for Ol Chiki (Chapa) and for Ol Chiki (Usara), and allows keyboarding to reach the same speed that can be obtained when typing Santali in Roman-alphabet letters, which are likewise case-sensitive. However, his work is yet to be accepted officially.
This is a proposal to encode the Ol Chiki script in the international character encoding standard Unicode. The script was published in Unicode Standard version 5.1 in March 2008. The Ol Chiki script is also known as Ol Cemet', Ol Ciki, or Ol. It was devised in the first half of the 20c to write Santali, a language spoken in India.
Ol Chiki is alphabetic, and does not share any of the syllabic properties of the other Indic scripts. It contains 30 letters and five basic diacritics. It has 6 basic vowels and additional three vowels are generated using Gahla Tudag. On commenting about Ol Chiki, Norman Zide (1996) observes, "One ingenous - 'scientific' and unique feature of Ol Cemet'(Ol Chiki) that certainly increases the efficiency of writing Santali is the deglottalizing ohot'(Ahad). This neatly preserves the morphophonemic relationship between the glottalized and the voiced equivalent:..."
Introduction:This script is also known as Ol Cemet', Ol script, Ol ciki Script and also Ol. In Santali, Ol means writing and Cemet' means learning . So, Ol Cemet' means the learning of writing. Ol Cemet' is the title of the book, written by Pandit Raghunath Murmu for teaching the Ol Chiki to the beginners(primer). Ol Chiki is alphabetic, and does not share any of the syllabic properties of the other Indic scripts. It is used for writing Santali which belongs to the Munda group languages of the Austro-Asiatric family. One of the interesting feature of the Ol Chiki script is that it makes use of signs and symbols long familiar to the Santals. The very ingenuity in shaping the symbols of the letters and arranging the letters in the script has been greatly helpful in transmission of the script. A large number of words in the Santali language are derived from natural sounds. Letters of Ol Chiki script are also derived from the physical environment and what surrounds the people - hills, rivers, trees, birds, bees, plough, sickle - the list is endless . Norman Zide, an eminent linguist in his work (Zide, 1996) says, The shapes of the letters are not arbitrary, but reflect the names for the letters, which are words, usually the names of objects or actions representing conventionalized form in the pictorial shape of the characters. For example, the word At means earth and the shape of letter /AT/ derived from the round shape of earth. Similarly /UD/ means mushroom and so is the shape of the letter /UD/.
Santali language: Santali language contains some phonetics which are generally not used in English and neighbouring Indian languages, and hence, learning the correct pronunciations of Ol Chiki letters is very important. In fact, these pronunciations give a feeling of why Santali language needs a separate script, specially the pronunciations of unreleased stops/ k', c', t', p' /, which are not found in English and other Indic languages. It is a momentary obstruction of the passage of air by the glottis and its sudden release, which creates a small explosion of air, giving the consonant a hard sound. Another notable feature of Santali language is the presence of voiced and voiceless /h/. The voiceless /h/ occurs frequently in Santali language. The occurance of nasals are also extremely regular and they have the phonological distinctions in even word final position. Ol Chiki:The Ol Chiki letters are arranged in a matrix of 6 by 5, in which the six letters in the first column of the matrix are vowels, and the rest 24 letters are consonants. However, the five letters of the third column represent dual consonants, and this, eventually, helps to represent 29 consonants with the help of diacritic Ahad. Ol Chiki gives 5 basic diacritics, and the combination of diacritics Mu Tudag and Gahla Tudag gives rise to another diacritic, called Mu-Gahla Tudag. The matrix of Ol Chiki letters are listed with transliteration of alphabets, with pronounciation in brackets and their sounds in bracelets.
The first six are familiar vowels in English and many other Indian languages like Bengali, Hindi or Oriya. First vowel is equivalent to /o/ of boil, boy , coy. The pronunciation of this vowel is similar to that of Bengali or Oriya first vowel which is also the inherent vowel of Bengali/Oriya script. /a/ is pronounced as in /a/ of English word car. The pronunciation of /i/ is similar to that of /i/ in English word city or sit, and that of /u/ is similar to /u/ of put. The pronunciation of /e/ is similar to /e/ of English word get, and that of /o/ is more like /o/ of more. The remaining three vowels are discussed in the Gahla Tudag section.
Word Formation: Ol Chiki writing system is alphabetic, and so, it is better understood using Roman script. Normally, in Santali language, all words begin with either a vowel or single consonant. However, it is observed that inside a word, a combination of two consonants may occur, and, sometimes even three. But then one of these is a nasal. It is worth mentioning that, in Santali language, the occurrence of nasals is extremely regular. These are even distinguishable in word final position. Let us look at some of the examples that illustrate how words can be formed using Ol Chiki letters. Suppose, one needs to construct a Santali word /am/, then just put the vowel /a/ followed by the consonant /m/. so, we write /a/ + /m/ = a + m = /am/ which, in Santali, means 'you'. Similarly, when we need to write /ipil/, we write /i/ + /p/ + /i/ + /l/ = i+p+i+l = /ipil/ which, in Santali, means 'star'. Given below is a list of examples which would help to understand the mechanism of forming words using Ol Chiki vowels and consonants. 2b1af7f3a8