Jawi script

Jawi script

Jawi ( _ar. جوي Jăwi) (or Yawi in Pattani) is an adapted Arabic alphabet for writing the Malay language.

Jawi is one of the two official scripts in Brunei and Malaysia as the script for the Malay language. Usage wise, it was the standard script for the Malay language but has since been replaced by the Roman script, and Jawi has since been relegated to a script used for religious and cultural purposes. Day-to-day usage of Jawi is maintained in more conservative Malay-populated areas such as Pattani in Thailand and Kelantan in Malaysia. [cite book|title=Language and National Identity in Asia|author=Andrew Alexander Simpson|origyear=2007|pages=356-60|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=0199267480]


The Jawi alphabet has existed for many centuries in Nusantara (the Malay world). Its development is linked with the arrival of Islam. It consists of mostly Arabic characters along with some extra characters unique to Jawi.

The Jawi alphabet is one of the earliest scripts used for writing Malay. Jawi has been in use since the era of the kingdom of Pasai, to the era of the Sultanate of Malacca, Sultanate of Johor and also Acheh and Sultanate of Patani in the 17th century. Evidence of this is found in the Terengganu Inscription Stone (Batu Bersurat Terengganu), dated 1303 A.D. (702H by the Islamic calendar), whereas the earliest use of the Roman alphabet is found near the end of the 19th century. The Jawi script was the official script for Unfederated Malay States during British protectorate.

Usage of Jawi was gradually phased out throughout the 20th century, although it has never been officially banned as the Ottoman-Arabic script had been in TurkeyFact|date=August 2008. Today, the script is used for religious and Malay cultural administration in Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Perlis and Johor. The Malays in Patani still use Jawi today.


* Letters with no initial and middle forms adopt the isolated form, because they cannot be joined with other letter (ا، د، ذ، ر، ز، و، ۏ،ء)
* The letter "hamzah" is only present in isolated form in the Malay language.

Sample text in Malay (Latin alphabet)

Semua manusia dilahirkan bebas dan samarata dari segi kemuliaan dan hak-hak. Mereka mempunyai pemikiran dan perasaan hati dan hendaklah bertindak di antara satu sama lain dengan semangat persaudaraan.

Sample text in Malay (Jawi alphabet)

.سموا مأنسيا دلاهيرکن بيبس دان سامرات دري سڬي کمولياءن دان حق٢. مريك ممڤوڽاءي ڤميکيرن دان ڤراساءن هاتي دان هندقله برتيندق دانتارا ساتو سام لاءين دڠن سماڠت ڤرساوداراءن


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Further reading

* H.S. Paterson (& C.O. Blagden), 'An early Malay Inscription from 14th-century Terengganu', "Journ. Mal. Br.R.A.S.", II, 1924, pp. 258-263.
* R.O. Winstedt, "A History of Malaya", revised ed. 1962, p. 40.
* J.G. de Casparis, "Indonesian Paleography", 1975, p. 70-71.

External links

* [http://www.omniglot.com/writing/malay.htm Omniglot article about written Malay]
* [http://www.karyanet.com.my/knet/dbp_jawi/cari_jawi.php Roman Jawi converter and Jawi script download page]
* [http://www.ejawi.net eJawi.net]
* [http://www.pengobatan.com/khazanah_islamiah/program_tulis_arab.html Jawi writing for PC]

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