Old North Arabian script
|Old North Arabian script|
Ancient North Arabian
|Languages||Old North Arabian, Old Arabic|
|8th century BC to 6th century AD|
|Old North Arabian|
|Final Accepted Script Proposal|
The Ancient North Arabian alphabets are a group of related alphabets used to write all of the Ancient North Arabian dialects except Hasaitic, which used the Ancient South Arabian alphabet. The names of the alphabets match the names of the dialects they represent.
Taymanitic had twenty-six or twenty-seven letters while the other alphabets generally used twenty-eight letters. All the letters represent consonants. Vowels were not indicated although some Dadanitic texts make limited use of matres lectionis to mark long vowels.
There also appears to be a simultaneous use of a monumental form of the letters and more everyday cursive form of the letters that occupied different uses in society, as can be evidenced by their appearances on inscriptions in the region from the era.
Dumaitic and Dadanitic were typically written right-to-left. Taymanitic was written right-to-left, left-to-right, or boustrophedon (changing direction from right-to-left to left-to-right with each new line). Thamudic C and D were usually written vertically downwards. Safaitic, Hismaic, and Thamudic B were written in any direction: right-to-left, left-to-right, vertically downwards or upwards, even in circles, coils, and zig-zags. Letter shapes may be reversed in lines running left-to-right but not always in Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions.
Most dialects were written continuously without spaces between words. Dadanitic monumental texts normally used a word divider which looked like "|". Dumaitic, Taymanitic, and Dadanitic graffiti commonly but inconsistently used a word divider.
Numbers were formed using combinations of three characters: one, ten, and twenty. For example, nine was represented by the character for one repeated nine times. Thirty was represented by the character for twenty followed by the character for ten. They were written right-to-left.
The Ancient North Arabian alphabets were added to the Unicode Standard in June, 2014 with the release of version 7.0.
The Unicode block, called Old North Arabian, is U+10A80–U+10A9F.
| Old North Arabian|
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
- Everson, Michael; Macdonald, M. C. A. "N3937: Proposal to encode the Old North Arabian script in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF). Retrieved 20 August 2016.