Writing systems

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We need to support all of the writing systems (alphabets, syllabaries, logographs) used for major languages of countries that join the OLPC project. Full support includes

The following links give information on the topics listed above for a particular writing system, to the extent that contributors to the project have found them. If you know of other issues or resources, please add them on the appropriate pages.

Extended Latin -- Western European languages and more than a thousand others

Arabic -- Arabic, Farsi (Iranian), Dari, Pashto, Urdu, Sindhi, Hausa and others. A number of languages formerly written in Arabic alphabet are now written in the Latin alphabet. This includes Turkish, Swahili, Bahasa Melayu/Bahasa Indonesya, and others.

Hebrew -- Yiddish, Ladino, etc.

Cyrillic (Кирилица) -- Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, etc. More than 200 other languages have been written with Cyrillic alphabet. Even when a country offcially switches to the Latin alphabet, there is still a large body of literature which is only available in Cyrillic. In particular, many Turkic languages use a form of Cyrillic with additional letters which may not be well supported by off-the-shelf systems.

Greek -- and Coptic



Syriac -- Liturgical language

Ethiopic -- For Languages of Ethiopia using Ethiopic alphabet. Amharic, Tigrigna, Oromo, Gurage, etc.

Thaana -- for the Dhivehi language of the Republic of Maldives

Devanagari -- Hindi, Marathi, Nepali etc.



Gurmukhi -- for Punjabi







Sinhala -- (Sri Lanka)



Lao ພາສາລາວ

Khmer (Cambodia)

Tibetan -- Tibetan, Dzongkha (Bhutan)


Traditional Chinese

Simplified Chinese




Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics -- Native American languages of Canada and the Northern USA, including Inuktitut

Yi -- Minority language in China

Braille -- for the blind, in many languages


Tai Le Language spoken by the Dai people in China

Philippine Scripts -- Buhid, Hanunoo, Tagbanya. Obsolete, replaced by Latin.

Osmanya -- Somali


APL -- A Programming Language

Linux systems now routinely come with support for 25 or more of these writing systems, and there are free tools for making keyboard layouts for any languages and writing systems. There are also large Unicode fonts such as Code2000 with the characters for even more writing systems.

Windows and Macintosh also support many writing systems with fonts and keyboards.

External links

  • Unicode code charts for all of these writing systems are available online in PDF format, so you can see the characters even if you don't have a matching font installed on your computer.