Súrat Bisáyâ was devised by Qara (ᜑ), formerly Zurocha (ᜇᜓᜓᜆ᜔ᜌ), from the Philippines in 2011-2012, and extensively modified in 2023. It is based primarily on Visayan variants of Baybayin, with influences from Hanunó'o, Kana and Kulitan.
It is named Súrat Bisáyâ because it was developed first and foremost for the Bisaya (Cebuano) language, but can also be used to write any language that can be reasonably represented within the limitations of the script. It is also known as Ang Súrat Bisáyâ ni Qara or Ang Binadlit ni Qara.
Type of script: Abugida; 17 characters (títik) represent an onset consonant (katíngog) followed by the default vowel /a/ [ʌ], plus an optional ligature representing the definite particle "ang".
Unlike Baybayin, which uses separate characters for the three independent vowels, Súrat Bisáyâ treats the former “a” glyph as if it stands for an initial glottal stop or empty onset instead.
Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines.
Súrat Bisáyâ, like other Baybayin-derived scripts, uses modifiers called kudlit to change or modify the vowel quality of a given títik. These may be placed above, below, or to the side of the títik they are modifying.
Súrat Bisáyâ script
There are angular and cursive versions of some letters. The angular versions are shown on the left in the chart above and the cursive versions (where different) are on the right.
There is a dedicated j /dʒ/ glyph in Súrat Bisáyâ. This is due to the existence and abundance of a “j” phoneme in Cebuano, as well as the existence of the Bol-Anon dialect, where “y” /j/ is pronounced as “j” [dʒ] intervocalically. Because of that, j in Súrat Bisáyâ is derived from y.
The dialect that Súrat Bisáyâ was created for elides intervocalically except in the presence of a front vowel. This creates phonemic long vowels, separate from the stress system. Súrat Bisáyâ was initially created as a way to allow Baybayin to depict these long vowels properly.
Long vowels created from the elision of consonants (balay, báy) must be explicitly written as such in Súrat Bisáyâ. It is wrong to write these long vowels as short.
Long vowels tied to the stress system (gútum, gutmun) may be optionally written as such in Súrat Bisáyâ. Writing these vowels as if they’re short vowels is still acceptable.
Sample text in Súrat Bisáyâ
Ang tanang katáwhan gipakatáw nga adúnay kagawásan ‘g managsáma s’ kabilihun. Sila gigasáhan s’ salabútan ‘g tanlag ‘g mag-ilhanay ísip managsúun s’ usa’g-usa.
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)
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