Ahom or Tai Ahom is a Tai-Kadai language formerly spoken in
the Indian state of Assam, where the Ahom people, who originally
came from Yunnan province in China, ruled Brahmaputra valley
between 1228 to 1826. Ahom was used as the sole language of
the Ahom kingdom until the 15th or 16th century, when it started
to be replaced by Assamese.
By the early 19th century Ahom was no longer used as a spoken
language, although it continued to be used in religious ceremonies
throughout the 19th century, and since 1920 efforts have been made to
revive the Ahom language and culture. One difficultly is that the
phonology of Ahom was not recorded. An Ahom-Assamese-English
Dictionary was published by G. Barua in 1920, and a number of other works in Ahom have been published since then, especially since 1997, when the first computer font for Ahom was developed by Stephen Morey.
The Ahom alphabet was probably derived from the
Brahmi script. The earliest inscriptions, on a stone pillar, dates
from the 15th century. The alphabet also appears on coins, brass plates
and numerous manuscripts on cloth or bark.
Type of writing system: abugida / alphasyllabary
Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines
Used to write: Ahom
Consonants have an inherent vowel, which is changed or silenced by diacritics.
Vowels are indicated by diacritics either combined with the letter a or with the consonants letters. There are no independent vowel letters.
There are two ways of ordering the consonants: the first is
used in modern primers and in the Barua's 1920 dictionary; the
second is based on analysis by Stephen Morey.