An abugida, also called an alphasyllabary, is a writing system wherein the basic symbols represent a consonant plus an unmarked vowel. When a different vowel is wanted, a diacritic or some other modification is made to the sign. The sign used to indicate the vowel is dropped is called a virama, or a "vowel killer".

The word "abugida" comes from the first few signs of the Ethiopic Amharic script, which is an example of an abugida. Devanagari is another abugida, used in India.

To add to Muke's node, the term abugida, like alphabet and abjad, is a kind of acronym of the names of the first few symbols in one of the writing systems it refers to. All three terms reflect the order of symbols found in a single family of scripts, those of the Semitic languages and Greek; so in this sense all three terms are cognate or at least closely parallel formations.

Other names that have been used for abugida include neosyllabary, pseudo-alphabet, and semisyllabary, according to The World's Written Languages edited by Peter T. Daniels and William Bright (Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 4). Daniels argues that these terms wrongly make the abugida seem derivative of a syllabary or alphabet.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.