Malayalam language, spoken predominantly in the south Indian state of Kerala has an alphasyllabary writing system. Like other Brahmic scripts, the consonant-vowel sequences is written as a single unit- the consonant letter being the base and the vowel notation secondary. The u and uː vowel signs of Malayalam modifies the shape of the associated base consonants (or consonant clusters, called conjuncts). This article discusses various ways in which the shape of consonants get modified when followed by the vowel signs, u and uː.
The orthographic script style of Malayalam was reformed or simplified in the year 1971 by this government order. A detailed analysis of its reasons and its impact on popular culture is available here. The reformed orthography is what is taught in schools. The textbook content is also in the reformed style. The prevailing academic situation does not facilitate the students to learn the exhaustive and rich orthographic set of Malayalam script. At the same time they observe a lot of wall writings, graffiti, billboards and handwritings that follow the exhaustive orthographic set.
The sign marks for the vowels ഉ and ഊ (u and uː) have many diverse forms in the exhaustive orthographic set when joined with different consonants. But in the reformed style, they are always detached from the base consonant with a unique form as ു and ൂ respectively for the vowel sounds u and uː. Many native Malayalam speakers learn to read both of these orthographic variants either from school or from everyday observations. But while writing the styles, they often get mixed up as seen below.
u-sign forms on wall writings
Have you ever thought of becoming a Mentor with the Alphabettes Mentorship Program? Now is the time to jump into this rewarding and exciting experience. Simply fill in this form and wait to be matched.
Spring term just openend, and we are on the hunt for growing our pool of mentors.
Not sure you could be a mentor? If you are unsure you are a good fit to join as a Mentor send us message and we will chat with you about it. Most likely you ARE a great fit, and can really help making a change in people’s lives ❤️️
Worried about the commitment? If this is a busy time for you, you can sign up for as little as a 1 month program (about 4 sessions).Moreover, you get to decide with the Mentee your preferred method of communication: Zoom, email, Slack or a combination.
How is the schedule? The sessions are flexible in time and dates, and you set them with your Mentee in a way which will make it work for both of you.
Will I need to be a mentor forever? We have two annual terms: spring and autumn. After every term, we check in and confirm with you that you are happy to continue. However, if you feel like you need a break, you can always pause.
What if I’m not a type designer? We have so many topics that Mentees are seeking guidance on: research, education, lettering, font production, business, writing, typography. If you are in type, you can be a huge help.
Can only women be a mentor? Not at all! Everyone is welcome. Since Alphabettes is a network supporting woman, we centre a woman in every pair.
Want to hear more? We can send you a recording of a previous Q&A session we did for Mentors. Just email us!
We look forward to you!
The AMP team,
Eleni, Katy, Liron, Shani, and Veronika
We are thrilled to re-open the mentorship program to new Mentees from around the globe. We especially welcome women and underrepresented groups. Applications for the Spring term can be submitted via the form between the 21 March and 4th April 2021.
See some presentations of previous Mentees, have a peep behind the scenes, request access to the Q&A for Mentees, and more on the AMP blog and find FAQs and the application forms here.
The AMP team is looking forward to receiving your applications.
Eleni, Liron, Katy, Shani, and Veronika
We the Alphabettes Mentorship Team, are very happy and proud to share the fantastic news. Tatiana López, from El Salvador and one of the very first Mentees, received the Beatrice Warde Scholarship 2020 awarded by Monotype and the Type Directors Club.