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Date : 08-05-12

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Ian James Script

New Mong   New Mong

The New Mong alphabet is an alternative way of writing the Mong or Hmong languages, which are spoken in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and China. It was devised by Ian James, who finds the use of the modern Latin alphabet to represent Asian languages uncomfortable, especially considering how some of the most beautiful scripts in the world emerged in Asia.

For various reasons, Ian decided to design a script for Mong based on historical precedents of style and evolution. This led him to base much of the design on Pallava, mother of most SE Asian scripts (Mon-Burmese, Khmer of Cambodia, Kawi and others of Indonesia and neighbouring Pacific regions, and nearly all the Tai language scripts including Lanna, Thai, Lao, Tai-Lue and Dai-Deuhong).

Some of his glyphs are pure Pallava, others are based on variations and innovations found in more recent script-forms; many are "generic" SE Asian forms. A slight hint of the Pahawh-Hmong aesthetic is also evident. And some of the phonetic ideas presented in RPA (Romanized Popular Alphabet of 1953) are preserved.

Notable features

  • Type of writing system: syllabic alphabet
  • Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines.
  • Could be used to write: Green Mong or White Hmong
  • Most words (ie. non-compound) are a single syllable, consisting of consonant + vowel + tone.
  • The many consonants (including lateral-release, pre-nasalized, pre-aspirated and post-aspirated phonemes) each have a single glyph, except for 10 listed later which use a nasalization prefix.
  • Some complex phonemes take the form of ligatures (two or more glyphs merged into one).
  • The vowel signs are written above, below or within the gap between consonant and tonal marker.
  • Like the RPA, tones are written after the consonant-vowel figure. Unlike the RPA, the 'middle' tone is also marked.
  • Gaps appear in the script only between phrases. The dots of the tonal markers help to pace out the words within a phrase.

New Mong alphabet

Primary consonants

Each glyph is given with the RPA and IPA equivalents. The last glyph is a glottal plosive, used to carry initial vowels.

New Mong consonants



The consonant /qh/ is used to display the relevant glyph in position.

New Mong vowels



There are 3 possibilities for post-nasalized vowels. The 'pre-nasal' marker /n-/ is a stand-alone prefix form. Some simpler consonant-glyphs have the circular symbol already fixed to their top. For the already complex cluster phonemes, the stand-alone prefix is used.

New Mong nasalization


Tone markers

As in RPA, the tone markers come at the end of the syllable. This is a less cluttered method than that used in other tonal scripts of the region. The letters of RPA remain, but are more symbolic than their Latin form. Each tone marker also has a dot below, which helps break up phrases into syllables, for clarity and a visual sense of rhythm.

New Mong tone markers


Numerals and numbers

Two forms are suggested here. The first is a generic form of a Tai/Mon system. The second is simply borrowed from the Pahawh-Hmong system.

New Mong numerals and numbers


Sample text

Sample text in New Mong



Nyob rau ntu no, peb yuav los xyuas txog ntawv Hmoob.
Hmoob muaj puas-tsawg hom ntawv, lawv zoo li cas,
hom ntawv twg yog hom Hmoob siv ntau tshaj plaws thiab
hom teg thiaj yuav nuaj txiaj-ntsim ntau rau Hmoob,
peb yuav muab txheeb-xyuas kom tseeb rau hauv no ...

Source: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/newmong.php