The term abugida (from Amharic አቡጊዳ Abugida, from the first four letters of the Amharic alphabet ) or Alphasyllabar designates a certain type of letter font ( alphabet), in which the letters not arranged strictly according to the spoken order, but are grouped segmentally by syllables, so they are sometimes incorrectly referred to as a syllabary.

This principle of Scripture is characteristic of the Indian scriptures and the Ethiopic script.

Inherent vowel

  • K = / ka / =
  • Ki = / ki / =
  • K * = / k / = ( with Halant under the sign )
  • K * M = / kma / =
  • Ik = / ika / =
  • IK * = / ik / =
  • IKI = / iki / =
  • Etc.

In Abugidas a group of characters of the order of a syllable is the basic element of the font, the syllabic signs but are composed of smaller segments. For each consonant belongs to an inherent vowel, which can be modified by different vowel signs. Thus, in the Indian Devanagari script the character क for the syllable ka. By adding a vowel sign can be represented as the syllable के ke.

The dependent vowel signs can not stand alone, but together with the consonants a solid unit. From the basic syllable ल la is the vowel signs ला laa, लि li, LI ली, लु lu, lu लू, ले le, लै lai, लो lo and लौ lukewarm.

The resulting units generally agree not match the spoken syllables.

In descending from the Indian scriptures Abugidas word-initial vowels have a different shape than when they are appended consonants.


The term " abugida " was coined by the linguist Peter T. Daniels and is in contrast to the term Abdschad, a writing system without vowels. The name is derived analogously to the word "alphabet" of the first four letters of the Ethiopic script from. In English, the term is alphasyllabary usual.

Atypical Abugida

An atypical Abugida is developed in the early 19th century Cree font, in which the vowels are not represented by added character elements, but by the orientation of the consonant sign.


The concept of Abugida is the Korean script related, are assembled in the syllables of individual letters, with no letter can stand alone (see also the note at Phagpa font).