Thursday, January 04, 2007

The origins of Thaana are unique among the world's alphabets

Dives Akuru suffered the same fate as the the Buddha statue at Bamiyan. Destroyed by the force of Arabic Islamic cultural colonization. It seems that the last Maldivian to understand Dives Akuru passed away in the 1960's. No, he was not blown up by the Taliban. He died of natural causes as far as I can tell. But the language and the people have been subjected to the same forces of Arabic Islamic cultural colonization since Arab sailors and Islam arrived in the Maldives.
We have tried to destroy and forget what ever we can of our old culture and tried to replace it with Arabic stuff. Many old Sanskrit and Pali words have been given Arabic connotation and meaning. We rejected the old letters and we made a new ones using the numerals of the Arabic language. You can use any Arabic word as a Maldivian word. Of course this is not written anywhere, but the practise of using Arabic words in Dhivehi language clearly shows that we can use any Arabic word as a Dhivehi word. I am surprised that the state is spending money on inventing words when we can immediately use the Arabic dictionary for starters. Could be cheaper.

As a unique people and culture ( most Maldivians like to think so anyway) we have come up with..a unique script. But I am not sure if this is unique at all. I think that many indigenous peoples who were colonized by Arabs in places like Africa had their old language and letters Arabized.
Here is an interesting paragraph from Wikipedia:-
The origins of Thaana are unique among the world's alphabets: The first nine letters (h–v) are derived from the Arabic numerals, whereas the next nine (m–d) were the local Indic numerals. (See Hindu-Arabic numerals.) The remaining letters for loanwords (z–ch) and Arabic transliteration are derived from phonetically similar native consonants by means of diacritics, with the exception of y, which is of unknown origin. This means that Thaana is one of the few alphabets not derived graphically from the original Semitic alphabet — unless the Indic numerals were (see Brahmi numerals).


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