Know : Languages List and their Writing direction

Language direction

This is an index of the all the writing systems on this site arranged by the direction in which they are written. Some writing systems can be written in a number of different directions, others were originally written in various directions but eventually settled on one direction.

Why some writing systems are written in one direction, and others in other directions is a bit of a mystery. It might have something to do with the writing surfaces and implements originally used, fashion, the handedness of the creators of the writing systems, or other factors.

Directions

  • Left to right, horizontal
  • Right to left, horizontal
  • Left to right, vertical, top to bottom
  • Right to left, vertical, top to bottom
  • Left to right, vertical, bottom to top
  • Right to left, vertical, bottom to top
  • Boustrophedon
  • Variable


Example of Armenian written from left to right

Left to right, horizontal

The following writing systems are written from left to right in horizontal lines:

  1. Ahom
  2. Angelic
  3. Armenian
  4. Balinese
  5. Bassa (Vah)
  6. Beitha Kukju,Benjamin Franklin’s Phonetic Alphabet
  7. Bengali
  8. Blackfoot,Blissymbolics
  9. Brahmi
  10. Buhid
  11. Burmese
  12. Carrier
  13. Celtiberian
  14. Cham,Cherokee
  15. Chinese
  16. Coptic
  17. Cree
  18. Cyrillic
  19. Dehong Dai/Tai Le,Deseret
  20. Devanagari
  21. Dhives Akuru
  22. Elbasan
  23. Ethiopic
  24. Fraser
  25. Georgian (Asomtavruli)
  26. Georgian (Nuskhuri)
  27. Georgian (Mkhedruli)
  28. Glagolitic
  29. Gothic
  30. Grantha
  31. Greek
  32. Gujarati
  33. Gurmukhi (Punjabi),Hmong
  34. Iberian (Southern)
  35. International Phonetic Alphabet
  36. Inuktitut
  37. Irish Uncial
  38. Javanese
  39. Jenticha,Kannada
  40. Kayah Li
  41. Khitan
  42. Khmer
  43. Korean
  44. Kpelle
  45. Kulitan
  46. Jurchen
  47. Lanna
  48. Lao
  49. Latin
  50. Lepcha
  51. Limbu,Linear A
  52. Linear B
  53. Loma
  54. Lontara/Makasar
  55. Malachim
  56. Malayalam
  57. Manpuri
  58. Mayan
  59. Modi
  60. Mongolian Horizontal Square Script
  61. Naxi
  62. Ndjuká
  63. Ogham
  64. Ojibwe
  65. Old Church Slavonic
  66. Old Permic
  67. Oriya,Passing the River
  68. Pitman Initial Teaching Alphabet
  69. Pollard Miao
  70. Quikscript/Read Alphabet
  71. Ranjana,Redjang
  72. Runic
  73. Santali
  74. Sharda
  75. Shavian
  76. Shorthand
  77. Siddham
  78. Sinhala
  79. Solresol Somali
  80. Sorang Sompeng
  81. Sourashtra
  82. Soyombo
  83. Sundanese
  84. Sutton SignWriting
  85. Syloti Nagri
  86. Tagalog
  87. Tagbanwa
  88. Tai Dam
  89. Tai Lue
  90. Tamil
  91. Telugu
  92. Thai
  93. Theban
  94. Tibetan
  95. Tikamuli
  96. Todhri
  97. Tocharian
  98. Ugaritic
  99. Unifon
  100. Vai
  101. Varang Kshiti
  102. Visible Speech
  103. Yi


Example of Etruscan written from right to leftRight to left, horizontal

The following writing systems are written from right to left in horizontal lines:

 

  1. Ancient Berber
  2.  Ancient Egyptian (Demotic)
  3.  Ancient Egyptian (Hieratic)
  4. Ancient Egyptian (Hieroglyphic)
  5.  Aramaic
  6.  Arabic*
  7.  Avestan
  8.  Chinese **
  9. Cypriot
  10.  Enochian
  11.  Etruscan
  12.  Hebrew
  13.  Iberian (Northern)
  14.  Kharosthi
  15. Linear B
  16.  Old Italic
  17.  Orkhon
  18.  Mandaic
  19.  Mende
  20.  Meroïtic (Cursive)
  21.  Middle Persian
  22.  Nabataean
  23.  N’Ko
  24.  Parthian
  25.  Phoenician
  26.  Proto-Elamite
  27.  Psalter
  28.  Sabaean
  29.  Samaritan
  30.  Sogdian
  31. Tifinagh
  32.  Syriac
  33.  South Arabian
  34.  Thaana

*In Arabic numerals are written from left to right.

** In vertical Chinese texts the headings are sometimes written horizontally from right to left across the tops of the columns (see below). This direction is also occasionally used on shop signs.


Example of Mongolian written from left to right in vertical linesLeft to right, vertical, top to bottom

The following writing systems are written from left to right in vertical lines running from top to bottom:

  1. Old Elamite
  2. Manchu
  3. Mongolian
  4. Oirat Clear Script
  5. Phags-pa
  6. Sogdian,
  7. Sutton SignWriting
  8. Uyghur

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Example of Mongolian written from left to right in vertical linesRight to left, vertical, top to bottom

The following writing systems are written from right to left in vertical lines running from top to bottom:

  1. Chinese
  2. Chữ-nôm,
  3. Japanese
  4. Korean,
  5. Kulitan
  6. Meroïtic (Hieroglyphic script),
  7. Nushu
  8. Tangut (Hsihsia)

Notes

Until the 1980s Korean was usually written from right to left in vertical columns. Since then writing from left to right in horizontal lines has become popular, and today the majority of texts are written horizontally.

Chinese is often written vertically in Taiwan, while in China and Singapore it is usually written horizontally.

Vertical and horizontal texts are both used in Japan


Sample of Left to right, vertical, bottom to top writing in Hanunó'oLeft to right, vertical, bottom to top

The following writing systems are written from right to left in vertical lines running from bottom to top:

  1. Batak
  2. Hanuno’o
  3. Tagbanwa

Note

Tagbanwa is traditionally written in vertical columns running from bottom to top and from left to right, however it is read from left to right in horizontal lines.


Right to left, vertical, bottom to top in Ancient Berber (Punic)Right to left, vertical, bottom to top

The Ancient Berber developed from the Phoenician script and like Phoenician, was originally written from right to left in horizontal lines, but became more commonly written from bottom to top in vertical columns running from right to left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Example of Hungarian Runes written in boustrophedon styleBoustrophedon

The following writing systems are written in horizontal lines running alternatively from right to left then left to right. This is called Boustrophedon, which comes from the Greek βους (bous) “ox” +στρεφειν (strefein) “to turn”, because it resembles the path an ox makes when plowing field, turning at the end of each row to return in the opposite direction.

Székely-Hungarian Rovás (Hungarian Runes)Linear BRongo Rongo,Sabaean


Variable

Ancient Egyptian (Hieroglyphic)

The Ancient Egytian Hieroglyphic script was written in any direction the was convenient: horizontally from right to left or left to right or vertically from top to bottom. The arrangement of the glyphs was partly determined by aesthetic considerations. When written horizontally, you can tell the direction of a piece of writing by looking at the way the animals and people are facing: they look towards the beginning of the line.

Example of Egyptian Hieroglyphic writing

Source: http://hieroglyphs.net

Example of Chinese written horizontally and verticallyChinese

Chinese can be written from right to left in vertical columns, left to right in horizontal lines, or occasionally right to left in horizontal lines. In Taiwan it is often written vertically, while in China and Singapore it is usually written horizontally. In newspapers and magazines with vertical text, some of the headlines and titles are written horizontally right to left across the top of the main text.

Etruscan

Etruscan was sometimes written in boustrophedon fashion and sometimes from right to left in horizontal lines.

Japanese

Japanese can be written from right to left in vertical columns or left to right in horizontal lines. Horizontal writing was first used during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) in Western language dictionaries of Japanese. Today both orientations are used.

Example of Ogham writingKorean

Until the 1980s Korean was usually written from right to left in vertical columns. Since then writing from left to right in horizontal lines has become popular, and today the majority of texts are written horizontally.

Ogham

When inscribed on stones, Ogham was written around the edge starting at the bottom left and running upwards then back down the other side. In manuscripts it was written horizontally running from left to right.

Orkhon

Orkhon was written mainly from right to left in horizontal lines, though some inscriptions are written vertically with the letters rotated by 90º. When written vertically, it read from bottom to top and right to left.

 

Example of Mayan writing

Mayan

In inscriptions, Mayan was written in paired columns zigzagging downwards from left to right. Any faces on the glyphs generally look towards the beginning of the line, as with Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Elsewhere it was usually written horizontally from left to right

The image on the left shows a Mayan inscription from the museum at Tonina in Chiapas, Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Source :  http://www.omniglot.com 

Courtesy : Omniglot is a wonderful site which serves as an encyclopedia of world languages. You could find almost every possible information about languages there. We convey our gratitude for their great and  impeccable services.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Advertisements