Lanna script

Ian James
© March 2010

script name

The Lanna culture arose in the region of northern Thailand which includes the modern-day provinces of Chiangmai, Chiangrai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao, Phrae, Nan and Maehongson. At its largest configuration it also included parts of Myanmar, southern China and Laos. Its official beginning coincides with the building of Chiangmai city in 1396 AD by King Mengrai.

A number of writing systems were adopted for representing the Northern Thai language, primarily evolving from ancient Mon and Khom (which both came from Pallava), but the most popular and enduring one was the Lanna Tham script, described here. Others were the Sukhothai script of King Ramkhamhaeng, the Fakkham script, and the Thai Nithet script. Lanna is pronounced /lá:n na:/ and written ล้านนา in Standard Thai.

[work in progress]

1  Consonants

1.1  Indic series consonants

The letters originally derive from Indic forms, and are still ordered according to the ancient Brahmi layout. Each letter is assigned a tone class: high, middle or low. Each series (or row) is named after the letter in the first column. A series is called /wák/, from Sanskrit varga. The first series is thus called /kàʔ wák/.

1.2  Indic non-series consonants

The non-series is called /à wák/ (from Sanskrit avarga).

1.3  Special consonants

The other consonants evolved for use with Lanna and standard Thai, and include some letters for words coming from Sanskrit. For the writing of Pali, only the Indic consonants listed above are necessary.

[much much more to come...]

10  Sample text

This is a poem in Lanna script (source unknown), with a transliteration in Standard Thai.

See also my new variation on Lanna.

Lanna font “Cr-Paitoon by Berm” is based on the hand of Charintr Jaemjitt
& was modified for general use by Berm of Wiwek Temple, Mae Jo, Chiangmai.


All material on this page © Ian James, unless otherwise stated.
Last modified Nov.6,2011