Variation in Perso-Arabic and Devanāgarī Sindhī orthographies
The Sindhī language has been written in numerous scripts throughout its history. However, in the twentieth century, Perso-Arabic and Devanāgarī emerged as the dominant scripts for the language. Today, Perso-Arabic is the sole official script for Sindhī in Pakistan, while both Perso-Arabic and Devanāgarī are in concurrent use for the language in India. This paper identifies and analyses areas of orthographic standardisation and variation in the Perso-Arabic and Devanāgarī scripts for Sindhī, focusing primarily on practices in the Indian context. It first classifies orthographic variation into that stemming from phonological ambiguity, and that which is purely graphematic. The former includes the representation of reduced vowels, gemination, vocalic endings, loanwords, consonant clusters and sounds of unclear phonemic status. The latter includes the shapes and positioning of diacritics, allographs, derivative graphemes and collation orders. The paper concludes by summarising the possible pedagogical implications of such orthographic standardisation and variation.
Keywords: script, orthography, standardisation, Sindhi, Perso-Arabic, Devanagari
Published online: 24 April 2019
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