A: We all are educated in English medium schools. So, when we read English, we basically read the “words”. That means, when we see the word “emancipation”, for example, we can immediately read out aloud “emancipation” because we are already familiar with the spelling and our mind recognizes the word. We don’t have to look at all the letters – e, m, a, n, c, i, p, a, t, i, o and n separately; we look at the word “emancipation” as a single unit and immediately recognize it. When we see the word "church" we immediately read चर्च, but when we see "chemist" we read केिमस्त not चेिमस्त. It is because we are already familiar with each of these two words. However, those who are just starting to learn English have to look at each letter separately. They have to see “e-man-cipa-tion” and then only read “emancipation”.
Q: Can’t we use the English Alphabet?
A: We sure can. We’ll have to modify the existing Roman letters a bit to suit our needs. It is because there are letters in the English alphabet representing sounds we don’t have, whereas there are no letters to represent some sounds we need. And we should open up our mind to accept those minor modifications.
A: First is a symbol to signify glottal stop which is a prominent feature in Apatani language. Apostrophe (‘) after the syllable on which glottal stop is identified is suggested. This is selected because it is available on any keyboard and not needed to write Apatani. Examples of glottal stop are tako’ (dirt), la’ko (button), paro’ (hen).
Q: Many people are more comfortable using e and ii. Why is it necessary to replace them?
A: Vowel e is replaced because it is cumbersome to type it in mobile handsets and tablets. In addition, the underlined symbol gets lost when a word or a sentence has to be actually underlined. And v is not needed in Apatani and available in all types of keyboards.
A: Yes, the first step is to have a set of letters with names and arranged in a particular order. That will be the Apatani Alphabet. Once we have that, more difficult but important tasks lay ahead:
A. This is the Apatani Alphabet chart: