Tuesday, October 15, 2013

12. Mandaic alphabet

The Mandaic alphabet appears to be based on the Aramaic alphabet and first appeared sometime during the 2nd century AD. The Mandaic name for the alphabet is Abagada or Abaga, after the first few letters.
The Mandaeans believe that all the letters of their alphabet have magical properties, and impart mysteries (raze).

Notable features

  • Type of writing system: alphabet
  • Direction of writing: right to left in horizontal lines.
  • Some of the letters change shape when combined with other letters.

Used to write

Classical Mandaic, a member of the East Aramaic sub-family of Northwest Semitic languages and the liturgical language of the Mandaean religion. Classical Mandaic is closely related to Syriac.
Neo-Mandaic, a vernacular form of Mandaic with about 100 speakers in Iran around Ahwaz. There are also a few Mandaic speakers in Iraq and the USA.

Mandaic alphabet

Mandaic alphabet

Sample texts in Mandaic

Sample text in Mandaic
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Mandaic


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)


Information about the Mandaic language and alphabet
Mandean World - information about the Mandaic language and alphabet, including a free Mandaic font: http://www.mandaeanworld.com/alphabet.html
Mandai Studies Center of Iran - information about the Mandaic people and language
Mandaic and Neo-Mandaic Texts and Resources


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