Lesson 11

ᯆᯮ ᯆᯨ ᯆᯧ

This anak ni surat is the most complex and the most diverse of all Batak diacritics. As can be seen above, it comes in various configurations. Despite this diversity, the diacritic essentially has only one original name, boruta, which later was reinterpreted as borot.

The Names

The Mandailing name for this diacritic are Boruta and Buruta. Toba also has two names. One of it is Haboruan, which has no other meaning except being one of the names of the diacritic; but the root word is boru ‘daughter, female’, and this is also the root word for Mandailing Boruta and Buruta.

The suffix -ta is a possessive pronoun for the first person plural, and as such boruta means ‘our daughter’.

The Simalungun form Haboritan has the root word borit ‘painful’, but here we are convinced that Haboritan is a corruption of Haborotan, which is the second name for the character in Toba, and from which the Karo and Pakpak forms Kebereten and Kabereten forms are derived.

We assume that the root borot was derived from boruta in an attempt to give this diacritic a more fitting meaning.

The root word borot (southern Batak languages), and bərət (northern Batak languages) is easily recognisable and is known to anyone who has observed Batak rituals. The borotan (borot plus suffix -an) is the ritual pole to which the sacrificial animal, a buffalo or a horse, is tied. And this is what borot means: ‘fastened, tied’.

The noun forming circumfixes, ke-…-en or ka-…-en in the northern group, and ha-…-an in the southern group, then compliment the root word resulting in Kəbərətən (Karo), Kabərətən (Pakpak), Haboritan (Simalungun), and Haborotan (Toba).

This anak ni surat (diacritic) comes in three positions:

ᯆᯮ /u/

It is slightly below and to the right of the aksara. In this position it is used in all Batak scripts except Karo. The phonetic value in this position is always [u]. Because of this, Karo does not need the diacritic in this position and with this phonetic value because Karo uses the the Sikurun for [u].

The diacritic is called Haborotan because it is borot ‘tied, fastened, attached’ to the aksara. It sometimes forms a ligature:

ᯖ + ᯮ = ᯖᯮ /tu/
ᯂ + ᯮ = ᯂᯮ /hu/
ᯔ + ᯮ = ᯔᯮ /mu/

The diacritic is not always borot ‘attached’ to the aksara. With some aksara it remains unattached:

ᯘ + ᯮ = ᯘᯮ /su/
ᯇ + ᯮ = ᯇᯮ /pu/

The exact way in which the Haborotan is attached can differ from writer to writer. Besides individual differences, there are also regional differences.

A common way to attach the diacritic in Toba is as follows:

ᯀᯮ ᯂᯮ ᯅᯮ ᯇᯮ ᯉᯮ ᯋᯮ ᯍᯮ ᯎᯮ ᯐᯮ ᯑᯮ ᯒᯮ ᯔᯮ ᯖᯮ ᯗᯮ ᯘᯮ ᯛᯮ ᯝᯮ ᯞᯮ

Especially in the case of /pa/ or /la/ the diacritic is sometimes attached, and sometimes not, but one can expect minor variations depending on the writer and the region.

Mandailing has some special forms like the way the Boruta is attached to /pa/ and /la/, and Mandailing also has a special form for /su/.

ᯆᯨ [ə]

aksara podi

When this diacritic appears in elevated position then we know that the text was written in Pakpak. Here this diacritic is known as ᯂᯆᯨᯒᯨᯗᯉᯨ᯳ ᯇᯬᯑᯪ (kabərətən podi). It is called podi (behind, back) because the position is to the left of the aksara when it is written from bottom to top, as it is customary among the Batak. Its phonetic value is [ə].

ᯆᯧ [ə]

This diacritic only exists in the Karo script. It is called the ᯂᯧᯆᯧᯒᯧᯗᯉᯧ᯳ [kəbərətən]. Its phonetic value is [ə].