Lesson 10


The x-shaped diacritic has two different names:

  1. In Mandailing it is named Siala Ulu. Si is an article used specifically for proper names. What ala in this context means is unknown. Ulu ‘head’ may relate to the fact that the diacritic is positioned above the letter (as one writes from bottom to top). Toba drops the element ulu and calls it Siala. According to Warneck’s dictionary, the noun-forming circumfix ha-…-an can be added resulting in Hasialaan. Warneck also lists a third form, namely Sihora.

Sikurun (K), Sikora (P), Sihorlu (S), siala, sihora (T), siala ulu (M)
In all Batak regions the anak ni surat has the shape of a cross. Almost universally, it represents the sound [o] except for Karo where it represents the sound [u].
Below are some words employing this diacritic:
Karo Simalungun Toba Mandailing
Bəru/Boru ‘anak perempuan’ ᯆᯧᯒᯬ ᯅᯬᯓᯮ ᯅᯬᯒᯮ ᯅᯬᯒᯮ
Təlu/Tolu ‘tiga’ ᯗᯧᯞᯬ ᯖᯬᯞᯮ ᯗᯬᯞᯮ ᯖᯬᯞᯮ ᯖᯬᯞᯮ