Thaana Alphabet


Thaana is an alphabet used to write the Maldivian language. Vowels are written using diacritical marks, but it is not a consonant-vowel script or an abugida, since all vowel sounds are represented. Taking that into attention, Thaana script is considered a consonant-vowel script. Each consonant letter (except the letter “noonu” ނ), a vowel or a sukun ް is added. The script is generally phonetic, and writing is done from right to left.

The letters of the Tana alphabet have evolved from Arabic and Indian numerals and Arabic letters with similar sounds. The earliest documents written in the Thaana script date back to the 18th century. There is a theory that Thaana was initially used as a secret script. Probably, because of the lack of clear logic in the order of letters. Over time, it replaced the previously used Old Maldivian script (Dives Akuru). Nowadays Thaana is used alongside the Latin transliteration of the Maldivian language, which was adopted in 1976.