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Converts Ainu text between different scripts (Katakana, Latin, Cyrillic and more)

Project description

ainconv - Ainu language script converter

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[!IMPORTANT] By default, conversions between Katakana to and from any script are inherently lossy. See Important Note for more details.

This package provides a comprehensive set of functions for converting text between different writing systems of the Ainu language.

Currently, Latin (Romanization), Katakana and Cyrillic scripts are supported. We are also planning to convert between different romanization systems and Katakana variants. Currently only the more adopted version of Latin script and lossy Katakana script are supported.

Sentence conversion is planned to be supported in the future. For now, only well-formed single word is accepted. The converted string are always in lower case.

Important Note

Conversion between Latin and Cyrillic script are lossless, however, conversion between Katakana and any other scripts are lossy. This means that converting from Katakana to other scripts and then back to Katakana may not give the original string and the result may be ambiguous or even incorrect.

This is because the most widely used Katakana orthography for the Ainu language is intrinsically ambiguous. For example, tow and tu are both トゥ, iw and i.u are both イウ, ay and a.i are both アイ, etc. Some alternative Katakana scripts are proposed to solve this problem, but none of them are widely adopted.

We already added some options (see Conversion Options) for Katakana output and are planning to support others to mitigate this problem. However, since Katakana orthography still contains less information than Latin orthography, you cannot get the original text back from the converted text, distinctions such as -w, -y and -n (with options off), = and - symbols, letter case, etc. are lost in the conversion. Additionally, Katakana text from elsewhere usually does not contain these distinctions, so converting losslessly from Katakana to other scripts is impossible.


Install the package using pip

pip install ainconv


[!NOTE] You can also read the full documentation on Read the Docs.

Word Conversion

from ainconv import (
    # ...

print(kana2latn("イランカラㇷ゚テ")) # "irankarapte"
print(latn2kana("irankarapte")) # "イランカラㇷ゚テ"
print(cyrl2latn("иранкараптэ")) # "irankarapte"
print(latn2cyrl("irankarapte")) # "иранкараптэ"
print(cyrl2kana("иранкараптэ")) # "イランカラㇷ゚テ"
print(kana2cyrl("イランカラㇷ゚テ")) # "иранкараптэ"

Extra Functionality

Conversion Options

from ainconv import latn2kana

# Use ィ (-y), ゥ (-w) and ㇴ (-n)
assert latn2kana("kay") == "カイ"
assert latn2kana("kay", use_small_i=True) == "カィ"
assert latn2kana("kew") == "ケウ"
assert latn2kana("kew", use_small_u=True) == "ケゥ"
assert latn2kana("mun") == "ムン"
assert latn2kana("mun", use_small_n=True) == "ムㇴ"

# Use ヰ (wi), ヱ (we) and ヲ (wo) 
assert latn2kana("wiki") == "ウィキ"  # for loanwords only
assert latn2kana("wiki", use_wi=True) == "ヰキ"
assert latn2kana("weni") == "ウェニ"
assert latn2kana("weni", use_we=True) == "ヱニ"
assert latn2kana("wóse") == "ウォセ"
assert latn2kana("wóse", use_wo=True) == "ヲセ"

assert latn2kana("wiwewo") == "ウィウェウォ"
assert latn2kana("wiwewo", use_wi=True, use_we=True, use_wo=True) == "ヰヱヲ"

Script Detection

Detect the script of a given string.

from ainconv import detect

print(detect("aynu")) # "Latn"
print(detect("アイヌ")) # "Kana"
print(detect("айну")) # "Cyrl"

Syllable Splitting

from ainconv import separate

print(separate("eyaykosiramsuypa")) # ["e", "yay", "ko", "si", "ram", "suy", "pa"]


If you have a question or have found a bug or any other issue, feel free to open an issue to let me know. For instructions on how to contribute, see

You can also join our Discord for discussion. We have many projects going on about Ainu, so you may find something interesting there as well.


MIT License (c) 2024 mkpoli

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