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An image showing a selection of symbols from the Hiragana, Inuktitut and Tagalog syllabries

Syllabaries

A syllabary is a phonetic writing system consisting of symbols representing syllables. A syllable is often made up of a consonant plus a vowel or a single vowel.

The illustration on the right shows a selection of symbols from Japanese Hiragana, and Inuktitut. In Hiragana each syllable is represented by a separate symbol. In Inuktitut the orientation of the symbols is used indicate different vowels, and the small symbol is used to write syllable final consonants, as in Inuktitut.

Syllabaries currently in use

Tsalagi (Cherokee)
Cherokee (Tsalagi)
Cree
Cree (Nêhiyaw)
Eskayan
Eskayan
Japanese Hiragana
Hiragana (Japanese)
Titirausiq nutaaq (Inuktitut)
Inuktitut
Japanese Katakana
Katakana (Japanese)
Naskapi
Naskapi (Innu Aimun)
Ojibwe (Anishinaabe)
Ojibwe (Anishinaabe)
Yi script (ꆈꌠꁱꂷ - nuosu bburma)
Yi (Nosu)

Syllabaries used to a limited extent

Blackfoot (Siksika)
Blackfoot (Siksika)
Carrier (Dulkw'ahke)
Carrier (Dulkw'ahke)
Nüshu
Nüshu
Vai
Vai
   

Syllabaries that are no longer used

Bamum syllabary
Bamum
Caroline Island Script
Caroline Island Script
Celtiberian
Celtiberian
Cypriot
Cypriot
Iberian
Iberian
Kpelle
Kpelle
Loma
Loma
Mende
Mende
Ndjuká
Ndjuká/Afaka

Please note

transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) are used extensively throughout this website. The IPA transcriptions are the letters and other symbols which appear in square bracketts, like this [b], [p]. etc.

You can learn which sounds are represented by these letters and symbols at:
http://www.unil.ch/ling/page30184.html
http://www.unil.ch/ling/page12580.html (en français)

Other writing systems

Abjads, Alphabets, Syllabic alphabets, Syllabaries, Semanto-phonetic writing systems, Undeciphered scripts, Alternative writing systems, Constructed scripts, A-Z index, Direction index, Languages by writing system, Languages by family, Language index

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