Tua Tham alphabet

Tai Tham
Type Abugida
Languages Northern Thai, Tai Lü, Khün
Time period c. 1300–present
Parent systems
Proto-Sinaitic alphabet
ISO 15924 ,
Unicode alias
Unicode range U+1A20–U+1AAF
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
For the Unicode block, see Tai Tham (Unicode block).

The Tai Tham script (Northern Thai: ᨲ᩠ᩅᩫᨾᩮᩬᩥᨦ, Dai Tam; , Tham, "scripture"), also known as the Lanna script or Tua Mueang, is used for three living languages: Northern Thai (that is, Kham Mueang), Tai Lü and Khün. In addition, the Lanna script is used for Lao Tham (or old Lao) and other dialect variants in Buddhist palm leaves and notebooks. The script is also known as Tham or Yuan script.

The Northern Thai language is a close relative of Thai and member of the Chiang Saeng language family. It is spoken by nearly 6,000,000 people in Northern Thailand and several thousand in Laos of whom few are literate in Lanna script. The script is still read by older monks. Northern Thai has six linguistic tones and Thai only five, making transcription into the Thai alphabet problematic. There is some resurgent interest in the script among younger people, but an added complication is that the modern spoken form, called Kammuang, differs in pronunciation from the older form.[1]

There are 670,000 speakers of Tai Lü of whom those born before 1950 are literate in Lanna script. The script has also continued to be taught in the monasteries. There are 120,000 speakers of Khün for which Lanna is the only script.


Categorized letters

Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer IPA
Alphabet Subs.
-᩠ᨠ က /ka/
-᩠ᨡ ခ​ ​ ខ /kʰa/
- /kʰa/
-᩠ᨣ ​ គ /ka/
- /kʰa/
-᩠ᨥ ဃ​ /kʰa/
-᩠ᨦ /ŋa/
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer IPA
Alphabet Subs.
-᩠ᨧ /tɕa/
-᩠ᨨ /sa/
-᩠ᨩ ဇ​ ​ ជ /tɕa/
- /sa/
-᩠ᨫ ဈ​ /sa/
-᩠ᨬ /ɲa/
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer IPA
Alphabet Subs.
-᩠ᨭ ဋ​ /ta/
-᩠ᨮ /tʰa/
-᩠ᨯ ฑ,ด /da/
-᩠ᨰ /tʰa/
-᩠ᨱ /na/
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer IPA
Alphabet Subs.
-᩠ᨲ /ta/
-᩠ᨳ /tʰa/
-᩠ᨴ /ta/
-᩠ᨵ /tʰa/
-᩠ᨶ /na/
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer IPA
Alphabet Subs.
-᩠ᨷ ပ​ /ba/
- /pa/
-᩠ᨹ /pʰa/
- /fa/
-᩠ᨻ /pa/
- /fa/
-᩠ᨽ /pʰa/
-᩠ᨾ /ma/

Uncategorized letters

Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer IPA
Alphabet Subs.
ᨿ -᩠ᨿ ย ต่ำ /ɲa/
- ย กลาง /ja/
-᩠ᩁ /ha/
- /lɯ/
-᩠ᩃ /la/
- /lɯ/
-᩠ᩅ /wa/
Tai Tham Thai Lao Burmese Khmer IPA
Alphabet Subs.
-᩠ᩆ /sa/
-᩠ᩇ /sa/
-᩠ᩈ သ​ /sa/
-᩠ᩉ /ha/
-᩠ᩊ /la/
- /ʔa/
- /ha/


Vowels are written at various locations around their consonant, like Thai. There are special letters for initial vowels, and many vowel combinations.


Arabic numerals 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Hora digits
Tham digits
Thai numerals
Lao numerals
Burmese numerals
Khmer numerals


Tai Tham script was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2.


Main article: Tai Tham (Unicode block)

The Unicode block for Tai Tham is U+1A20–U+1AAF:

Tai ThamUnicode.org chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1A3x ᨿ
U+1A5x  ᩖ  ᩘ  ᩙ  ᩚ  ᩛ  ᩜ  ᩝ  ᩞ
U+1A6x  ᩠  ᩢ  ᩥ  ᩦ  ᩧ  ᩨ  ᩩ  ᩪ  ᩫ  ᩬ
U+1A7x  ᩳ  ᩴ  ᩵  ᩶  ᩷  ᩸  ᩹  ᩺  ᩻  ᩼  ᩿
1.^ As of Unicode version 6.3


There are currently a few fonts that support this range.[2] Thai people are used to typing the Thai script by placing a front vowel before a consonant; this might cause incorrect input method for Tai Tham script because the consonant must be always typed before the associated vowel, regardless of the relative written position of the vowel, similar to typing the Khmer, Myanmar or Tamil script.


  • Khamjan, Mala(มาลา คำจันทร์). Kham Mueang Dictionary(พจนานุกรมคำเมือง). Chiang Mai: bookworm, 2008. ISBN 978-974-8418-55-1.

External links

  • ISO/IEC 10646:2003/Amd.5:2008 Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS) -- Amendment 5: AMENDMENT 5: Tai Tham, Tai Viet, Avestan, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, CJK Unified Ideographs Extension C, and other characters
  • Tai Tham Unicode Font
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