Ahom, or Tai Ahom, is a Tai-Kadai language formerly spoken in the Indian state of Assam. The Ahom people originally came from Yunnan province in China. 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.
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.
Hear the Ahom alphabet:
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