|U+10500 – U+1052F|
Final Accepted Script Proposal
The Elbasan script is a mid 18th-century alphabetic script used for the Albanian language. It was named after the city of Elbasan, where it was invented, and was used mainly in the area of Elbasan and Berat, and is the oldest original script used to write Albanian.:3 It was created for the "Elbasan Gospel Manuscript",:3 also known as the Anonimi i Elbasanit ("the Anonymous of Elbasan"), which is the primary document associated with it.:3 The document was created at St. Jovan Vladimir's Church in central Albania, but is preserved today at the National Archives of Albania in Tirana. Its 59 pages contain Biblical content written in an alphabet of 40 letters,:3 of which 35 frequently recur and 5 are rare. The name "Papa Totasi" (father Totasi) is written on the cover's verso, thus sometimes the script is attributed to him.
|?||a||[a ? ?]|
|?||ç, xh||[t?], [d?]|
|?||n (before g and gj)||[n]|
|?||gh||[?] (Greek loanwords)|
|?||gh||[?] (Greek loanwords)|
|?||kh||[x] (Greek loanwords)|
The Elbasan alphabet (U+10500–U+1052F) was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0.
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
The Elbasan Gospel Manuscript comes from the Orthodox Christian monastery of St. Jovan Vladimir's Church in the village of Shijon, west of Elbasan.:6 With the exception of a short 15th century Easter Gospel transcript, it was the oldest work of Albanian Orthodox literature, and the oldest Orthodox Bible translation into Albanian. The name of Papa Totasi is written on the cover's verso with the same ink as the text. For this reason and since there are no other indicators on a different author, the work is attributed to him.
The manuscript was purchased a little before or around World War II by the politician Lef Nosi, who possessed a remarkable personal library and was a notable collector. It was confiscated from him by the communist regime in 1945. It is now preserved in the National Archives of Albania. The albanologist and translator Injac Zamputi (1910-1998) transcribed the manuscript, after which the Elbasan Gospel was published in standard Albanian for the first time.
Robert Elsie notes the author's desire to avoid foreign influences. The Latin, Greek and Arabic alphabets had already been in use for Albanian, and the Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets were also available. But the author chose to devise a new alphabet specific to Albanian, reflecting what Elsie called "the wish of Albanian intellectuals" for a distinct writing system of their own.:2-3 Furthermore, a surprisingly low number of loanwords appear in the manuscript: only three Latin loans, seven Turkish loans, and twenty-one loans from Biblical Greek (the language the manuscript was translated from).:12-13 Elsie argues that the author's determination to root out loanwords becomes clear with the marked crossing out of the Turkish loan sheher and its replacement with the native term qytet.:12
The Elbasan alphabet exhibited a nearly one-to-one correspondence between sounds and letters, with only three exceptions, of which two were restricted to Greek loanwords.:4 The modern Albanian alphabet, based on Latin, is phonemically regular for the standard pronunciation but it is not one-to-one because of the use of ten consonant digraphs.
Dots are used on three characters as inherent features to indicate varied pronunciation found in Albanian: single r represents the alveolar tap ? but with a dot it becomes an alveolar trill [r], whereas a dotted l becomes velarized and a dotted d becomes prenasalized into nd.:4 (Today this nd has become a sequence of two separate phonemes; Modern Greek has also undergone the same development.) Elsie says that the script generally uses Greek letters with a line on top as numerals. While some of the letters appear to have been inspired by Greek or Glagolitic forms, he considers the majority to be unique for this alphabet of Albanian,:3 whereas Shuteriqi and Domi see a strong influence of Old Church Slavonic language due to the jurisdiction, until 1767, of the Archbishopric of Ohrid.