There are two variants for the aksara /ta/: ᯗ and ᯖ. The variant ᯖ is used in Mandailing and in Simalungun whereas the variant ᯗ is used in Karo and Pakpak. In Toba both ᯗ and ᯖ are commonly used. The first variant is used in about 60% of all manuscript while the ᯖ variant is used in about 40% of all manuscripts. In other words, in Toba the ᯗ variant is more common than the ᯖ variant.
There are three regional variants for the character /sa/. In Karo, Pakpak and in Toba the letter is written ᯘ, is Simalungun is is ᯙ, and in Mandailing it is ᯚ.
The letter /nga/ has the shape ᯝ. The sound [ŋ] (as in singer) can not –as it is common in the Latin script– be written by combining /na/ and /ga/. The aksara /nga/ can only appear at the beginning of a syllable as in the word marngamngam: ᯔᯒ᯲ᯝᯔ᯲ᯝᯔ᯲. The letter /nga/ cannot be used in combination with the pangolat .
In the word sangap, the letter /nga/ must be used because sangap consists of two syllables, which are sa + ngap. In this case the sound [ŋ] is at the beginning of the syllable, and hence the aksara /nga/ is required.
When the sound [ŋ] is at the end of the syllable such as in the word pasang, we are not allowed to use /nga/; instead we need to use a diacritic mark to render the [ng] as shown in Lesson 7.
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