Athabaskan syllabic writing systems were developed in the late 1800s by French Roman Catholic missionaries who adapted this originally Protestant writing scheme to languages radically different from the Algonquian languages. Most Athabaskan languages have more than four distinct vowels, and all have many more distinct consonants than Cree. This has meant the invention of a number of new consonant forms. Whereas most Athabaskan scripts, such as those for Slavey and Chipewyan, bear a reasonably close resemblance to Cree syllabics, the Carrier (Dakelh) variant is highly divergent, and only one series - the series for vowels alone - resembles the original Cree form.
In order to accommodate six distinctive vowels, Dakelh supplements the four vowel orientations with a dot and a horizontal line in the rightward pointing forms: ᐊ a, ᐅ /ʌ/, ᐈ e, ᐉ i, ᐃ o, and ᐁ u.
One of the Chipewyan scripts is more faithful to western Cree. (Sayisi Chipewyan is substantially more divergent.) It has the nine forms plus the western l and r series, though the rotation of the l- series has been made consistently counter-clockwise. The k- and n- series are more angular than in Cree: ki resembles Latin "P". The c series has been reassigned to dh. There are additional series: a regular ch series, unsupported by Unicode, but graphically a doubled t (something like Ɛ for cha, Ɯ for che, 3 for cho, etc.); and an irregular z series, where ze is derived by counter-clockwise rotation of za, but zi by clockwise rotation of zo:
ᘔ ᘕ za zo
Other series are formed from dh or t. A mid-line final Cree t preceding dh forms th, a raised Cree final p following t forms tt, a stroke inside t forms tth (ᕮ ttha), and a small t inside t forms ty (ᕳ tya). Nasal vowels are indicated by a following Cree final k.
All Athabaskan syllabic scripts are now obsolescent.
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