Javanese script

Javanese script

The Javanese script, natively known as Carakan (Tjarakan), is the script originally used to write Javanese.

Currently it is difficult to encode or render on computer system, but Unicode support is currently underway


Javanese is an abugida script consisting of 20 main consonants with an inherent vowel "a" (normally pronounced as open back rounded vowel when reciting the consonants). In addition there are vowel markings, contraction of consonants, variant great letters used for ceremony, and marks to indicate poetic structure.

The twenty consonants are:

ha, na, ca, ra, ka
da, ta, sa, wa, la
pa, dha, ja, ya, nya
ma, ga, ba, tha, nga


Alphabet as poem

The alphabet itself forms a poem, of which the line-by-line translation is as follows:

There (were/was) warriors
(They) had animosity (among each other)
(They were) equally powerful (in fight)
Both (were) dead.

in detail:

hana / ana = there were/was
caraka = warrior (actually, 'one who is loyal to and trusted by someone')
data = have/has
sawala = difference (regarding a matter)
padha = same, equal
jayanya = 'their power', 'jaya' could mean 'glory' as well
maga = 'both'
bathanga = 'be a dead body' = 'die', since 'bathang' = corpse

Similarities between Balinese and Javanese Script

Javanese Script Balinese Script

Further reading

There are very few items available in English about Javanese script; however, the following give some introduction:

  • Gallop, Annabel Teh. Golden letters: writing traditions of Indonesia = Surat emas: budaya tulis di Indonesia (with Bernard Arps). London: British Library; Jakarta: Yayasan Lontar, c1991. ISBN 9798083067
  • Pigeaud, Theodore G. Th. Javanese and Balinese manuscripts and some codices written in related idioms spoken in Java and Bali: descriptive catalogue, with examples of Javanese script, introductory chapters, a general index of names and subjects Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1975. ISBN 3515019642

See also

External links

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