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Ancient Writing Systems Of Africa

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Category: REGIONAL HISTORY
Forum Name: Africa to 1860
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Topic: Ancient Writing Systems Of Africa
Posted By: AksumVanguard
Subject: Ancient Writing Systems Of Africa
Date Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 07:55
There are writings systems of Africa that are very well known and some that aren't.Some of these writing systems may date back to the BCE era.  One of the more famous is the Meroitic system of writing dating all the way back to 700 BCE to 500 A.D., this mysterious script which scholars are still trying decipher also gave rise to the Old Nubian Script which was used in the Nubian Middle Age period.

Ge'ez used in the in ancient Abyssinia is very famous and was used as for the liturgical purposes of Early Church Writing in the Tewehedo Church .Ge'ez is said to be part of the Old Sabaean writing system.

Tifinagh is another ancient writing system that was used 6th century BC its very famous and its characters have been inscribed in different tombstones of Sahara. Many countries located in the Sahara have adopted this script and have applied it to record some of their historical events.

Other interesting scripts are the Bassa which is said to have been conjured in 3rd centruy bce. This Bassa script was discovered by Dr.Thomas Flo Darwin Lewis in the 1890s when slaves had already had knowledge of the script, it was found to be used in Brazil and the West Indes.So even after slaves were held captive and restricted to read or write, the  Bassa or Bassai script  was passed down and passed on through generations.  One can find old engravings of Bassa in old tree barks and other places in Liberia. Dr Flo Narvon Lewis encounter with it inspired him to create a modernized version of it. Other writing systems of Liberia and Sierre Leonne have inspired them to create other Vai writing systems. These writing systems contain over 80 syllagraphs on average but the Bassa writing system is by far the most advance of the Vai. having somewhere from 22 to 26 characters.Bassa Vah is part of the Vai scripts and must not be confused

Ndibisi writing system from Nigeria origins are unclear. It is a writing system of the Igbo and is said to be used by a secret societies and had many sacramental religious purposes. But traces of this ''recording system'' have also been found in old tombstones in Virginia and also among Abuka religious societies of Cuba.


Now what defines writing systems are sometimes met with much bias, as the so called Vinca script of Europe was said to be one of the first writing systems. But those characters contain no sylla-graphs or phonetic sound characters. The Vinca writing contains mostly so called symbols who some say is pictographs.

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/meroitic.htm - Meroitic Script 300 BCE to 4th century A.D.

Meroïtic alphabet


Ge'ez first used in the http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ethiopic.htm - 4th Century BCE





The Geez script

The Geez script


The Geez script - variant letters


The ancient Tifinagh writing http://www.ancientscripts.com/berber.html - 6th century BCE or present this script has influenced many countries in
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tifinagh.htm - North Africa




The Bassa Script by http://books.google.com/books?id=SV4X6TaetGEC&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=dr+flo+darvin+lewis+on+bassa+script&source=bl&ots=fsuoneEg2i&sig=7Xc7Q_m_axJwrpT6IcP0j7liOLA&hl=en&ei=N3ecS5CKD8P58Ab61v2rDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCgQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=dr%20flo%20darvin%20lewis%20on%20bassa%20script&f=false - according to Paul Rozario a very respected Canadian Anthroplogist

The Bassa language belongs to the Kwa family of languages and is spoken by about 350,000 Liberians. Written Bassa has an indigenous script that gradually fell out of the use in Liberia during the 1800s. In the early 1900s, however , Dr. Flo Darvin Lewis, a researcher, discovered that the Bassa script was still being used by Bassa communities in Brazil and the West Indies. These Bassa descended from Liberian slaves who had been brought to the New World. Dr Lewis decided to learn the Bassa himself and the reintroduce the script in Liberia , where he later set up a school to teach indigenous script. Dr. Lewis also managed to acquire a printing press, with which he produced reading materials written in the Bassa script. The script is most popular among the older generation of Bassa speakers. Today , the Bassa Vah Association of Liberia tries to preserve the Bassa script.


< ="-" ="text/; =utf-8">< name="ProgId" ="Word.">< name="Generator" ="Microsoft Word 14">< name="Originator" ="Microsoft Word 14"> file:///C:%5CUsers%5CARISIN%7E1%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cmsohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml - file:///C:%5CUsers%5CARISIN%7E1%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cmsohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_themedata.thmx - file:///C:%5CUsers%5CARISIN%7E1%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5Cmsohtmlclip1%5C01%5Cclip_colorschememapping.xml -

- Indigenous Scripts and Literature http://books.google.com/books?id=HpMZ9wIGn10C&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=bassa+script&source=bl&ots=eHDcU-wGqe&sig=rdbw0sc8bPhwvPvRY07VT1nbf3k&hl=en&ei=dcD_SYC7D96Ltgf_3umWBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#v=onepage&q=bassa%20script&f=false - in Liberia 500 BCE.

 A significant aspect of Liberian history is the invention of indigenous scripts by several of its indigenous peoples. The Vai, Bassa , Kpelle, Gola ,Loma, Grebo, and Kissi all invented their respective times in their histories. The Bassa script is said to have been invented by 500 B.C. , though this is assertion is possibly conjectural . Called by the Bassa , meaning “to throw a sign,’’ it was meant to convey meanings through signs. Messages were passed through teeth marks on leaves placed  at strategic positions where recipient of messages would read and decipher them. They were also transmitted through carvings on the bark of trees. This crude sign language was later codified in a complex written form. The Bassa script was taken to the Americas by enslaved Bassa(according to oral sources, by a man named Dirah and his partner , Madam Toeman, and developed by their son, Jenni Dirah) and passed from generation to generation. This New World survival (in Brazil and West Indies ) was discovered by Flo Darwin Lewis, a Liberian Bassa, who studied at Syracuse University in the United States . He launched a campaign for the revival of the Bassa script or alphabet ( called  Ehni Ka Se Fa ) in Liberia. Though Lewis acquired a printing press for the script and established an institution for study of Vah, he could not consummate his dreams before his death. However, the Bassa Vah Association rekindled interest in the development of the script for the purpose of publishing secular and religious literature, including newspapers . By the early 1970s , the Liberian Ministry of Education had formally reconized Vai and Bassa as written indigenous languages worthy of inclusion in the curriculum of the University of Liberia, but there were no personnel to teach the subject.


http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0810/0810.0200.pdf - Bassa script advancement compared to other Vai writing systems On pg 3 







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Replies:
Posted By: Flipper
Date Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 08:36
Thanks for sharing!
I will have a closer look to these. Smile


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FΑΝΑΚΤΟΥ ΜΙΔΑ ΓΟΝΟΣ
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Posted By: gruvawn
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2010 at 13:06
is Ge'ez a semitic language? i notice that some letter names are extremely similiar to hebrew and also the way those letters look.


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don't believe everything you think. : )


Posted By: AksumVanguard
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2010 at 11:57
@gruvawn

Ge'ez was an ancient Southern Semitic language that was the  progenitor for the present writing system of Amhraic.  Ge'ez is sometimes called a Kush*tic language, in Genesis 10:7  And the sons of Cush , Seba and Havilah , and Sabtah; and sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.   Even today you still some can see some Ethiopic tribes in lower Arabia and Yemen , then you can see Arabic tribes in Eritrea and Northern Ethiopia. The two peoples histories have been intertwined since early recorded history. Havilah is thought to be the land of Cush, which in ancient times was known to be the land of Gold.

Ge'ez writing became fully matured at the 4th to 5th century A.D. The language itself however became extinct in later times but the characters and writing system were preserved for other Ethiopian languages like Afan Oromo and Amharic.The ancient speakers of Ge'ez are the Agew and the Tigre people of Northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. Progressing into later times the melting pot of other tribes including the Agew and Tigre people created a language called Amharic. It cannot be denied that Ge'ez was not an isolated language and did not have non-semitic influence. Greek and Coptic have influenced the language as they are some loan words or derivative forms of Greek and Coptic  in the Amharic language today.

Recent studies have found that the Ge'ez script may have been conceived from Egyptian Hieroglyphic text not to doubt they are many similarities with both writing systems.Recent studies have also found that Aramaic Hebrew may have been conceived by a Proto -Sinatic alphabet, moreover they are many similarities of the  Hebrew writing system and  the Ethiopic Ge'ez character usage. 




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Posted By: Carcharodon
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2010 at 21:02
Thanks for sharing this, very interesting.


Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 20 Apr 2010 at 00:28
Ge'ez did not go "extinct", as with Latin, it evolved and its ancient constructs remained preserved as the liturgical language of Ethiopean Christianity. Amharic is Ge'ez to the same extent that Old Church Slavonic represents the core of contemporary Slavic languages.*
 
*Entered as a historical footnote so as to preserve the intellectual integrity of AE Forum!


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Honi soit qui mal y pense


Posted By: AksumVanguard
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 08:09
Ge'ez as a language did go extinct. The only people who speak Ge'ez today are the esoteric priestly class of the Tewahedo CHurch today. Anyway I already stated that already above, and the previous statement would be either repetitous or a reassertion depending on if you are hard of understanding or failed to read what was actually written in this thread before.

Ge'ez words merging into Amhraic language was already written in the post if you noticed, and no Amhraric is not the same as the Ge'ez. We could say that the Italian preserves many of the same words as the ancient Vulgar Latin , but we know it is conjecture of many influences due to many invading tribes like the Lombards and the Ostrogoths.  It might be ones opinion to say that the ancient Hebrew language (Old  Aramaic) survives because the Ashkenazi Jews speak Yiddish or the Sephraim Jews speak Ladino but that it is incorrect, because it is totally different from the original Old Hebrew Assyrian-Aramaic.

A devout Ethiopian militant such as Woyanne would be the first to catch his foot in your rear end if one utter such nonsense information since Ge'ez language is very sacred to Tewahedo adherents. A footnote I would strongly take into consideration!!


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Posted By: drgonzaga
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 10:35
As usual you have not altered your insulting tone to complement your pomposities which--to be expected--do not allow for the acceptance of proper parallels. "Esoteric priestly class" is a phrasing employed only by a  wannabe pedant. That Ge'ez remains the liturgical language of not only the Orthodox but also the Catholic and Jewish "clergy" totally escapes you, but hey your pretensions even make Wiki appear erudite in its discussion of Ge'ez. As always, the failure to exercise due diligence renders all of your conclusions more than suspect.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geez_language - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ge'ez_language
 
 


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Honi soit qui mal y pense


Posted By: AksumVanguard
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 10:48
Give me a break,  I can also say that cuneiform remains alive because  Assyriologist know what it means  or even ancient Egyptian language and  ancient hieroglyphs remain alive because many egyptologist speak it, but that's not the case. Those languages are only spoken by a few who study it when it is virtually not spoken by even the inhabitants of were it was once the prominent  .

Its funny how some participants on this site want to get specific when dealing what most people called the name of country when it was annexed or ceded  period off at a period of  time, or what actually constitutes the continuity of a culture  to what  actually entails ceasing of a culture, and  what actually dictates  that political  leader of a country is a dreaded threat just because your country doesn't get along with them.  Definitely double standards.


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Posted By: necoo
Date Posted: 21 Aug 2010 at 19:18
  i notice that some letter names are extremely similiar to hebrew and also the way those letters look.
 
 


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Posted By: soumyan
Date Posted: 13 Sep 2010 at 00:20
   A good mind opener.  Bassa as it sounds reminds me the sanskrit equivalent for language. In

Indonesia the language is generally called Indonesia bassa or baasa.  The scripts also seemed to be

the derivatives of the indus script.  Need further clarification.


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V.SOUMYANARAYANAN


Posted By: soumyan
Date Posted: 13 Sep 2010 at 00:23
   A mind opener.  Bassa-as it sounds reminds me the Sanskrit equivalent for language.  In Indoneisa

the language is suffixed with Indonesia bassa. The scripts too are seems to be the derivatives of the

Indus scripts.


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V.SOUMYANARAYANAN


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 08 Sep 2013 at 11:48
This thread is one of the first if you search "African Writing Systems", so I want to complete in a little part.

Bassa Vah (Liberia and Sierra Leone)
Originally posted by omniglot.com omniglot.com wrote:

The origins of the Bassa alphabet are obscure. Its name in Bassa is Vah, which means 'to throw a sign'. The alphabet fell out of use in Liberia during the 19th century.

In the 1900s, a Bassa by the name of Dr Flo Darvin Lewis discovered that former slaves of Bassa origin living in Brazil and the West Indies were still using the Bassa alphabet. Dr Lewis had not encountered the alphabet before and, after learning it himself, he decided to try to revive the alphabet in Liberia.

Dr Lewis obtained a PhD in Chemistry at Syracuse University, then returned to Liberia via Dresden, where he commissioned a company to manufacture the first ever printing press for material written in the Bassa alphabet. In Liberia he set up a school to teach the Bassa alphabet.

Originally the Bassa alphabet was written on slates with charcoal, and the writing could be easily erased with a leaf known as yan. People began to write with pencils in the early 1940s. The original writing direction was boustrophedon (alternating between right to left and left to right, but the alphabet has been written from left to right since the 1960s.

Today the Bassa Vah Association promotes the use of the Bassa alphabet.




Script used by Hausa of north of Maradi, Niger




Nsibidi (southeastern Nigeria)
Originally posted by Wikipedia Wikipedia wrote:

They were once taught in a school to children. Many of the signs deal with love affairs; those that deal with warfare and the sacred are kept secret. Nsibidi is used on wall designs, calabashes, metals (such as bronze), leaves, swords, and tattoos. It is primarily used by the Ekpe leopard secret society (also known as Ngbe or Egbo), which is found across Cross River among the Ekoi, Efik, Igbo people, and other nearby peoples.

Outside knowledge of nsibidi came in 1904 when T.D. Maxwell noticed the symbols. Before the British colonisation of the area, nsibidi was divided into a sacred version and a public, more decorative version which could be used by women.[8] Aspects of colonisation such as Western education and Christian doctrine drastically reduced the number of nsibidi-literate people, leaving the secret society members as some of the last literate in the symbols.[9] Nsibidi was and is still a means of transmitting Ekpe symbolism. Nsibidi was transported to Cuba and Haiti via the Atlantic slave trade, where it developed into the anaforuana and veve symbols.



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 09 Sep 2013 at 00:33
Mende (southern Sierra Leone) but not ancient at all

Originally posted by Wikipedia Wikipedia wrote:

It was devised by Mohammed Turay (born ca. 1850), an Islamic scholar, at a town called Maka (Barri Chiefdom, southern Sierra Leone). One of Turay's Koranic students was a young man named Kisimi Kamara. Kamara was the grandson of Turay's sister. Kamara also married Turay's daughter, Mariama. Turay devised a form of writing called 'Mende Abajada' (meaning 'Mende alphabet'), which was inspired in part by the Arabic abjad and in part by the Vai syllabary.

Turay's 'Mende Abajada' was adjusted a bit (order of characters) by Kamara, and probably corresponds to the first 42 characters of the script, which is an abugida. Kamara developed the script further (with help from his brothers), adding more than 150 other syllabic characters. Kamara then popularized the script and gained quite a following as result -- which he used to help establish himself as one of the most important chiefs in southern Sierra Leone during his time (he was not a 'simple village tailor' as suggested by some contemporary writers).




Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 09 Sep 2013 at 01:06
I would say that is misleading to call "ancient" to a writing system that was invented in the 19th century.



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 09 Sep 2013 at 01:29
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I would say that is misleading to call "ancient" to a writing system that was invented in the 19th century.


I wrote "not ancient at all", so everyone will peaceful sleep tonight


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 30 Oct 2013 at 06:39
Veve (sigils) of vudun spirits are written in nsibidi script, and were created by African slaves in South America





Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 30 Oct 2013 at 06:42
The word "nsibidi" written with the nsibidi script



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 30 Oct 2013 at 06:48


Originally posted by folkart.com folkart.com wrote:


A cemetery in George Washington National Forest in Amherst County, Va., is a good example. For decades, observers have commented that the gravestones had “strange marks.” Recently, these marks have been identified by this writer as African ideograms originating in Nigeria. The gravestones are inscribed with what appears to be Nsibidi, an Igbo writing system, confirming the survival of Igbo traditions during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Made of high-quality blue slate indigenous to the area and mined from a local quarry, the stones show little damage from weather or time. Subsequently, the place was named the “Seventeen Stones Cemetery.”

The stones were probably engraved between 1770 to 1830, when the Igbo Diaspora was at its height in Virginia. At that time, the Igbo people comprised approximately 70 percent of the blacks in Virginia, a larger percentage than in any other Southern state.

A star symbol at the top of one stone, signifying “congress” or “unity” has similarities to the Kongo cosmogram that depicts the life cycle of birth, life, death and the afterlife. The cosmogram symbol has equal perpendicular crossbars or lines, sometimes contained in a diamond shape or a circle. Here, the linear symbol in the lower register appears to be a combination of the sign for “individual” and “this land is mine.” Together the signs mean the deceased has joined the realm of the ancestors. Both symbols are enclosed in a rectangle, denoting their association. A line separating the symbols emphasizes they are separate but one.


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 30 Oct 2013 at 06:51
I feel sorry for AAs (BTW I'm African), all that knowledge and culture destroyed to make space for people like Lil Wayne :(



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 30 Oct 2013 at 07:24
I'll help you to place these people in their ambient:

Quote Some Hausa buildings require restoration, Igbo buildings were simply wiped out in colonial times and after. If Nigerian governmets would use 1/1000 of the money for Eko Atlantic to restore Hausa buildings in Northern Nigera it would be great, those cultures don't even have a videogame or movie (Hollywood, not Nollywood) about them.


Hausa architecture of Northern Nigeria ad Southern Niger (Zinder, Maradi, Kano etc.):








Igbo architecture:











Posted By: rocket7777
Date Posted: 30 Oct 2013 at 12:40
Jilgom: I think people should use standard western alphabet other than for decoration.


Lil Wayne :(

I think he is little junk, but money wise he is smart and making millions.



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 31 Oct 2013 at 11:19
The alphabet is not "western" is Latin. Romans copied to Greeks and Greeks copied to Phoenicians so, in the end is not western. The alphabet and writing systems shown in this section are clearly influenced by Latin alphabet, and appeared with the first contacts with the West and certainly were not invented in sub-Saharan Africa either. Symbolic systems aren't necessarily writing systems, and symbols are part of the human specie anywhere you go.
There are few writing systems invented independently from the alphabet of Semitic origins. The ancient Sumerian, and probably Egyptian and Chinese seem to have an independent origin in the Old World, while in the Americas, Mayan was the single writing system native to the New World.



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 01 Nov 2013 at 01:47
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The alphabet is not "western" is Latin. Romans copied to Greeks and Greeks copied to Phoenicians so, in the end is not western. The alphabet and writing systems shown in this section are clearly influenced by Latin alphabet, and appeared with the first contacts with the West and certainly were not invented in sub-Saharan Africa either. Symbolic systems aren't necessarily writing systems, and symbols are part of the human specie anywhere you go.
There are few writing systems invented independently from the alphabet of Semitic origins. The ancient Sumerian, and probably Egyptian and Chinese seem to have an independent origin in the Old World, while in the Americas, Mayan was the single writing system native to the New World.



Nsibidi is currently used to write messages by the Ekpe society while the public version was more decorative.

The gravestone clearly shows that the common population of the Calabar region knew the writing system, and with it were able to write messages.

Even a random slave knew nsibidi.

I must to remember you illiteracy in EU countries before '60 was almost total.

The Hausa script of southern Niger is absolutely a complete writing system, and they are not the type of person to worship westerners and create a writing system only because Europeans have one. If they worship someone I'm sure they estimate and try to imitate a muslim society like Saudi Arabia. I knew a woman from Niger, and Islam was everything for her.

Bassa Vah is complete and don't even need to be discussed.

All of the above are Sub Saharan Africans.



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 01 Nov 2013 at 01:51
Do I need to rememeber you Tifinagh? The world is big enough to contain all these writing systems, and I think it's silly to link everything to Middle East, when clearly it has nothing to do with all this stuff.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 01 Nov 2013 at 03:33
Hausa? its writing system has Arabic origins, and was imported to Africa. I quote "Since the beginning of the 17th century, Hausa has been written with a version of the Arabic script known as ajami. Most of the early writing in Hausa was Islamic poetry or on Islamic themes. Ajami is still used, mainly to write poetry, but also for at least one newpaper and some books. There is no standard spelling system for Hausa written with the Arabic script so there is some variation in spelling between different writers."
Source: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hausa.htm

So is neither "ancient" nor the system was "invented" in Africa.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 01 Nov 2013 at 03:36
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Do I need to rememeber you Tifinagh? The world is big enough to contain all these writing systems, and I think it's silly to link everything to Middle East, when clearly it has nothing to do with all this stuff.


The alphabet was invented only once in the history of humanity. There were other original writing systems like the sumerian, the egyptian, the chinese and the mayan, but none of them was alphabetic. The alphabet was copied many times and gave origin to the western, arabic and indian writing system, and from there to the rest of the world.

Please, don't change history at will.





Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 01 Nov 2013 at 19:05
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


Hausa? its writing system has Arabic origins, and was imported to Africa. I quote "Since the beginning of the 17th century, Hausa has been written with
a version of the Arabic script known as ajami. Most of the early
writing in Hausa was Islamic poetry or on Islamic themes. Ajami
is still used, mainly to write poetry, but also for at least one newpaper
and some books. There is no standard spelling system for Hausa written with
the Arabic script so there is some variation in spelling between different
writers."

Source: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hausa.htm

So is neither "ancient" nor the system was "invented" in Africa.




haha, no

I was meaning Hausa as the ethnicity that use the script, it is confined in a region of Niger and it's not linked to Arabian.

Only a very little part of Hausas use that script, and if our eyes are correct it has nothing to do with Arabic. A lot of Hausa know ajami but only a small population of them, in southern Niger, know the script I posted.


Ajami is Arabic, that script (you can see it, I posted the image) is not ajami, it's a script confined to a little part of Niger.

I know how ajami looks, they use it in some buldings such mosques in northern Nigeria...it's simply arabic.


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 01 Nov 2013 at 19:15
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:



Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Do I need to rememeber you Tifinagh? The world is big enough to contain all these writing systems, and I think it's silly to link everything to Middle East, when clearly it has nothing to do with all this stuff.


The alphabet was invented only once in the history of humanity. There were other original writing systems like the sumerian, the egyptian, the chinese and the mayan, but none of them was alphabetic. The alphabet was copied many times and gave origin to the western, arabic and indian writing system, and from there to the rest of the world.

Please, don't change history at will.



Please, don't erase history at will.

Link all of the above to a sumerian/chinese/phoenician script.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 02:04
Please don't distort history at will. As I said, alphabetic writing systems were alien to SS Africa up to the middle ages (when Arabs introduce them), in the same way they were alien once to Europe, before Phoenicians carried them to that continent. And yes, it is interesting there were local varieties of alphabetic writing in Africa developed at early modern times, but that is not "ancient" history.




Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 02:49
You just discovered these writing systems and you just came up with a story about "Arabs" (who, Amazighs?)....


So, you don't know how but all of the above was created after an "Arab" (maybe you mean Amazigh) influence....

why muslim Malians don't have a writing system when a little community in Niger has one and the same for a non-muslim society in Sierra Leone and Liberia?

So, Portugal started buying slaves in '500, some of them knew Bassa Vah. It has nothing to do with Arab writings, because Arab don't even have vowels and is completely different in structure.

But yet, all of the above is "Arab" (North Africans are tired to be called Arabs)





Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 02:50
Yes, if you don't have yet figured it out, history must to be rewrited


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 02:58
I'm aware further researches must to be done, but linking all of them to mythological "Arabs" is silly and simplistic.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 03:40
North Africans use Arab script, don't they? They speak an Afroasiatic language, and most are genetically closer to Arabs than to anyone else.
Now, I am not denying Subsaharan Africans adapted the alphabet that came from Muslim and European sources in recent times. What I am saying is that those events are not "ancient" since they come at the most from the late Middle Ages and the early Modern times.
Writing is recent in Subsaharan Africa, and was mostly analphabet up to the middle of the twentieth century, and still today around half of the population don't read.



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 05:55
Now there are the Europeans too?

Even a slave of Clabar knew Nsibidi, even a slave of Sierra Leone knew Bassa Vah, it's part of their history and it can't be erased.

Bassa Vah, Nsibidi and that script used in southern Niger (and Meroitic and Ge'ez) have nothing to do with Arab writing, Arab alphabet or any Latin script.

If for you Amazighs are Arabs, well, this say more about your ignorance on African populations than about Amazigh history and traditions.


You discovered who an Hausa is some days ago, but 4 minutes made you the greater expert.

Those writing scripts haven't the structure of Arab, don't even look like Arab and I do not pronounce on Latin script, because that sentence is hilarious.



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 05:56
Calabar boat



Calabar architecture



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 06:04
Pre-Aksumite ruins of Qohaito, in the modern day Debub region of Eritrea. Qohaito's ruins have yet to be excavated...

Rock art near the town appears to indicate habitation in the area since the fifth millennium BC, while the town is known to have survived to the sixth century AD

Eritreans and Ethipians use the Ge'ez script.




Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 02 Nov 2013 at 09:19
What I can perceive is yours Afrocentrism. And I do know Berbers like Amazigh are Afroasiatic peoples, related to Arabs, and not black Africans. I know as well that Ethiopians have been influenced from Afroasiatic peoples since early civilizations. And obviously, "calabar" architecture above is British LOL.
Whatever. Believe what you want. Subsaharan Africa is not precisely my favorite historical region of the world, and you can invent anything that please you.




Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:13
No, I choose the only pic of pre-colonial Calabar now avaible.


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:15
I'm not African American or Afrocentric, and I don't try to claim half the world, since I'm African and I know the history of my country.


What I hate are racists


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:19
If you don't like Africa, simply don't follow this thread. I made it only for who find the page through Google

Unfortunately for you i know Ethiopians and Amazighs in a non-American ambianent, and they consider themself Aricans.

Romans built Rome, but Vikings that built huts were Eruopeans too.


If you are ignorant about pre-colonial Africa this is not the right forum to add info about it, too many racists.


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:24
I would really like to investigate about Bassa Vah and that Niger script, but you, with your lack of info about them, the people of equatorial Africa and the people of Sahelian Africa (nsibidi is linked to Congo, so we can't argue about that)

added with

your presumption to neglect the existence of a pre-colonial work made from Bassa and Hausa, without even know 1 bit of info more than what is written here

=

you are clearly racist


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:31
Ah, and maybe you'll try to say me even nsibidi come from a contact with other people.

The first traces of nsibidi writing are found in south-eastern Nigeria

Alok Ikom Stone Monolith



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 01:33
Do I need to rememeber you that


even a Igbo slave or Bassa slave were literate

?


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 08:25
Jilgom

1. I have been here for more than a year, and I can clearly say that pinguin is NOT racist. I do not see why you believe he is.
2. CALM DOWN! This forum is not meant for people yell at each other and label each other racists simply because they disagree.



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 11:09
I quit the thread. First, claiming that every slave read and write is simply a fantasy, given the fact that even in the 80s most of Subsaharan Africans were analphabets. How to expect that ancient tribal peoples knew writing is amazing. And, in second place, it is quite pathetic that certain Africans are proud of theirs slaves, when African slave-traders sold innocent people like cargo to foreign lands, just for profits, in exchange of rum, textiles and rifles.

If in further posts there is evidence of ancient writing, supported by dates and reliable sources, I'll came back to congratulate. Otherwise, this thread bored me, given the fact it sounds just as propaganda.


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 12:16
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


First, claiming that every slave read and write is simply a fantasy


Every slave?
You are assuming SSAfricans are all the same, when only a part of the slave population was Bassa or southeastern Nigerian and knew their respective script. Did you see the gravestone or you are blind to it?

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


...given the fact that even in the 80s most of Subsaharan Africans were analphabets. How to expect that ancient tribal peoples knew writing is amazing.


Again, we are not ALL THE SAME! Only Bassa and southeastern Nigerians (Igbo and other people) knew writing (and that group of Nigeriens and Horners).

We Sub Saharan people don't are all the same, for example do you know I'm not carrying a bone in the middle of the nose now? And the same was for my great-grandfather.

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


And, in second place, it is quite pathetic that certain Africans are proud of theirs slaves, when African slave-traders sold innocent people like cargo to foreign lands, just for profits, in exchange of rum, textiles and rifles.

Yes, come to me (knowing personally people whose compatriots were kidnapped in old times) saying the "all Africans were sold" misinformation. This can be good for you, but it's not the reality and I'll don't discuss here the matter (kidnapping people with short swords and spears is really easy with the help of a gun, and since they are not even human you are only haunting a beast).

However, this was for a part (not everyone) of Igbos, for Bassa I'm not informed about their old structure (you don't simply turn the road and find a person from Sierra Leone).

Yorubas can be proud to have orisha worshippers in South America and Sierra Leoneans to have reconstructed a part of their heritage.

If you want to know how nowadays are viewed those chiefs that sold their war prisoners, well, they are viewed as "enemies of Africa", "allies of the Colonialists", and "inherently not Africans".

The matter is different for Swahili people of the coast (their culture is maintained strong), where having a slave ancestor is not so honorable.



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 03 Nov 2013 at 12:32
Well, I can agree more than those chiefs that sold people are as guilty of that inhuman trade like the Europeans that bought them. Besides, you haven't get my point at all. I know the cultures of Africa, both Northern Africans and Subsaharans. And obviously, unlike in the African countries of the Mediterranean Sea and the North East part of Africa, like Egypt and Ethiopia, writing was not widespread in the south and West South, and at least was not introduced in very ancient times but during the middle ages and modern times.
That's not something to be ashamed at all (the barbarians, the Mongolians, most Native Americans, Australians, Inuits and Polynesians were analphabets as well, for instance, and doesn't means theirs culture is worthless at all). What matters is not confusing writing with symbolic systems. Most human beings have known symbols since hundred of thousand of years ago, but writing is a recent invention, and alphabets are even newer, and dated to around 3 thousand years ago at the Middle East.



Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 04 Nov 2013 at 10:26
Quote
That's not something to be ashamed at all (the barbarians, the Mongolians, most Native Americans, Australians, Inuits and Polynesians were analphabets as well, for instance, and doesn't means theirs culture is worthless at all). What matters is not confusing writing with symbolic systems. Most human beings have known symbols since hundred of thousand of years ago, but writing is a recent invention, and alphabets are even newer, and dated to around 3 thousand years ago at the Middle East.


Are your patronizing me? Hilarious.

And again, I'm not trying to splat all these script as simply Africans, because WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.

Here we're talking about a small group of Hausas and pre-colonial Bassas.

However, people were trading goods for thousands of years (pottery found in Mali dating 9400BC http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/archive/Swiss_archaeologist_digs_up_West_Africas_past.html?cid=5675736" rel="nofollow - <source> ), they might have been in contact with Amazigh script or early form of it or other derivates of it.

I must underline I'm not talking about nsibidi and southeastern Nigeria (it has a completely different structure), I'm referring to that Nigerien script and bassa vah.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 04 Nov 2013 at 11:33
OK. Show your evidence of the ancient origins of Nigerian and Bassa scripts. That would be something interesting to see. I hope the references are reliable, though.


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 06:41
The first traces of Nsibidi are found in southeastern Nigeria

Alok Ikom Stone Monoliths %20" rel="nofollow - http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5173/" rel="nofollow - <source>

Quote
The stone monoliths of Alok Ikom bear a form of writing and a complex system of codified information. Although they seem to share the same general features, each stone, like the human finger print, is unique from every other stone in its design and execution.

The geometric images on the monoliths suggest that their makers possessed more than a basic knowledge of mathematics, not only because they are geometric, but also because of the obvious implication that there were computations and numbers on the layout of the stones.


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 07:25
Bassa script was found to be used from Bassa descendants of both West Indies and Brazil. So I exclude the Latin influence, writiers were not confined only to a specific place.

In early times speakers of Kru languages (Bassa is a Kru language) were living in northern regions too, as Burkina Faso http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/707365/Kru-languages" rel="nofollow - <source>

Maybe they were more in contact with dynamic trading regions, and a group of them were influenced.

So, why only a little group of speaker of Kru languages knew Vah (it means "to throw a sign")?

I think it was characterizing of only that group (Bassa) and tribalism saved it, alternatively it would be disappeared.

Liberia now is restoring and the hope is that in the future there will be the possibility to investigate in such questions.


Posted By: cachibatches
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 10:21
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Quote
That's not something to be ashamed at all (the barbarians, the Mongolians, most Native Americans, Australians, Inuits and Polynesians were analphabets as well, for instance, and doesn't means theirs culture is worthless at all). What matters is not confusing writing with symbolic systems. Most human beings have known symbols since hundred of thousand of years ago, but writing is a recent invention, and alphabets are even newer, and dated to around 3 thousand years ago at the Middle East.


Are your patronizing me? Hilarious.

And again, I'm not trying to splat all these script as simply Africans, because WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.

Here we're talking about a small group of Hausas and pre-colonial Bassas.

However, people were trading goods for thousands of years (pottery found in Mali dating 9400BC http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/archive/Swiss_archaeologist_digs_up_West_Africas_past.html?cid=5675736" rel="nofollow - <source> ), they might have been in contact with Amazigh script or early form of it or other derivates of it.

I must underline I'm not talking about nsibidi and southeastern Nigeria (it has a completely different structure), I'm referring to that Nigerien script and bassa vah.


I know of Nsibidi and am very interested.

The thing I never quite get about Bassa, Vai, Mande, and this Nigerian script that I have never heard of, is if they indeed are ancient, then where indeed are the examples of their use in ancient times?

I know that the Greeks wrote because I have read Herodotus. I know that the Romans wrote because I have read Tacitus, Suetonius, etc. I know that the Egyptians wrote because, though they did not do history in the same sense, I have read the Book of the Dead.

Where are the interesting works illuminating West African history? It is not that I am saying that it is impossible that these scripts existed, only that I find it perplexing that no one has produced large varieties of work.

If inscriptions were on ancient grave sights, could you post them for us? Could you give me some credible links where I can go find them?

Thanks.



Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 11:24
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Bassa script was found to be used from Bassa descendants of both West Indies and Brazil. .


Sorry, but that's not evidence of an ancient origins. Slave trade was active in certain places of the West Indies and Brazil up to the end of the 19th century, so the transporting of tradition could have happened in recent times. And that's not what it meant by "ancient". Please, could you show us your evidence of antiquity?


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 11:29
Originally posted by cachibatches cachibatches wrote:


I know of Nsibidi and am very interested.

The thing I never quite get about Bassa, Vai, Mande, and this Nigerian script that I have never heard of, is if they indeed are ancient, then where indeed are the examples of their use in ancient times?

I know that the Greeks wrote because I have read Herodotus. I know that the Romans wrote because I have read Tacitus, Suetonius, etc. I know that the Egyptians wrote because, though they did not do history in the same sense, I have read the Book of the Dead.

Where are the interesting works illuminating West African history? It is not that I am saying that it is impossible that these scripts existed, only that I find it perplexing that no one has produced large varieties of work.

If inscriptions were on ancient grave sights, could you post them for us? Could you give me some credible links where I can go find them?

Thanks.



Absolutely. I couldn't agree more with you. The classic of Mali, the Sundiata, for instance, was transmitted orally by griots of the region, and was preserved that way during centuries. Now, if writing were widespread in Western Subsaharan Africa why to preserve literature by memorizing?
Anyways, let's wait for the evidence, that our expert will certainly provide us.




Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 11:50
Yes, my job on this thread is over. We covered all the aspects.


Posted By: cachibatches
Date Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 12:17
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Yes, my job on this thread is over. We covered all the aspects.


Could you possibly just clarify which forms of writing you are saying are ancient other than Geez, Meroitic. Tifinagh and Nsibidi.

You at one point boldfaced that Bassa might be 500 years old, and then seemed to walk it back. All I want to know is if there is any evidence for this or any of the others being fairly ancient?


Posted By: Jilgom
Date Posted: 07 Nov 2013 at 12:13
Originally posted by cachibatches cachibatches wrote:

Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Yes, my job on this thread is over. We covered all the aspects.


Could you possibly just clarify which forms of writing you are saying are ancient other than Geez, Meroitic. Tifinagh and Nsibidi.

You at one point boldfaced that Bassa might be 500 years old, and then seemed to walk it back. All I want to know is if there is any evidence for this or any of the others being fairly ancient?

About Bassa I simply don't know, only further researches will answer the question.


Posted By: cachibatches
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2013 at 08:34
Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Originally posted by cachibatches cachibatches wrote:

Originally posted by Jilgom Jilgom wrote:

Yes, my job on this thread is over. We covered all the aspects.


Could you possibly just clarify which forms of writing you are saying are ancient other than Geez, Meroitic. Tifinagh and Nsibidi.

You at one point boldfaced that Bassa might be 500 years old, and then seemed to walk it back. All I want to know is if there is any evidence for this or any of the others being fairly ancient?

About Bassa I simply don't know, only further researches will answer the question.


Fair enough.

If you do find some sort of evidences, please post them.

Thanks.


Posted By: pinguin
Date Posted: 08 Nov 2013 at 09:56
Yes, if Jilgom finds any evidence to his claims... let me know.


Posted By: AksumVanguard
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2014 at 17:39

I am very disappointed in some naysayers saying ancient African writing never existed,especially  when I have given ample information on why these ancient writing languages go back further before colonial or alien contact with Arabic and European cultures.
tsk tsk.Given how when I was here you used to always show up in threads pertaining to Africans or people of African descent,all of sudden you are disinterested. Why? 



-------------


Posted By: AksumVanguard
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2015 at 21:51
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The alphabet is not "western" is Latin. Romans copied to Greeks and Greeks copied to Phoenicians so, in the end is not western. The alphabet and writing systems shown in this section are clearly influenced by Latin alphabet, and appeared with the first contacts with the West and certainly were not invented in sub-Saharan Africa either. Symbolic systems aren't necessarily writing systems, and symbols are part of the human specie anywhere you go.
There are few writing systems invented independently from the alphabet of Semitic origins. The ancient Sumerian, and probably Egyptian and Chinese seem to have an independent origin in the Old World, while in the Americas, Mayan was the single writing system native to the New World.


Hello Pinguin.

While I'll agree some of the character writings used in a different systematic matter are simply psymbols, there  are characters and lexicons posted in the OP that are clearly alphabets. Many researchers have concluded these African characters like the Tifnagh and esoteric Iksri are writing systems. 

The Mayan writing system seems to be highly rooted on symbol iconography ,however it is considered a form of writing. If Mayan way of iconography can be seen as alphabet ,so can some of these other African alphabets. Hell the Egyptian hieroglyphs have 3000 letters but are still considered writing. 


-------------


Posted By: AksumVanguard
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2016 at 12:08

The Writing of the Somali Language: A Great Landmark in Our Revolutionary History
By Wasaaradda Warfaafinta iyo Hanuuninta Dadweynaha

pages 1-3:

An important point which is often lost sight of is that the ancient Somalis had evolved their own script systems which existed for a considerable period in their history. Convincing historical evidence in this respect is the numerous inscriptions and rockpaintings on cave-walls, on granite rocks, old coins etc., that are found to this day in various parts of the country. Some important sites where ancient inscriptions on cave-walls exist are reported as follows:

1. Godka Xararka in Las Anod District.
2. Qubiyaaley in Las Anod District.
3. Hilayo in Las Khoray District.
4. Karin Heeggane in Las Khoray District.
5. Dhalanle in Las Khoray District.

The most noteworthy of these inscriptions are undoub- edly those found on the mysterious «Taalo Tiiriyaad». These are huge stone mounds which are dotted about in northeastern Somalia and are a veritable archaeological riddle, since it is hard to tell when and for what purpose they were constructed. Noteworthy Taalo sites are in places such as:

1. Baar Madhere in Beledweyne District.
2. Xabaalo Ambiyad in Alula District.
3. Harti Yimid in Las Anod District.

Yet, these strange edifices must have had a definite purpose. Local opinion holds that they used to serve as altars or as sorts of religious monuments in the era when nature-worship was practised in the Land; still others consider that the Taalos mark ancient graveyards in which were buried important personages — chieftains, rulers, etc. together with their personal effects. In any case, these mute sentinels could, no doubt, tell much about the country's cultural and historical past and give us a glimpse into the life-story of by-gone ages. Although it is difficult to determine what caused the ancient Somalian system of writing to disappear altogether and how long it flourished, etc., there is no doubt that the encroachment of foreign cultures had greatly contributed to its final decline and disappearance. An interesting point, however, is that this script system was apparently based on vowel sound, not a Word-Picture writing as in ancient Egypt. As generations succeeded one another and people acquired better technical and scientific knowledge there were constant reforms and improvements called forth by the new social conditions of the age. This process might have been repeated over and over again in subsequent periods in the history of the land, until the very old forms of Somalian script finally died out and were completely forgotten by later generations.





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Posted By: toyomotor
Date Posted: 07 Apr 2017 at 15:50
Your User Name is somewhat ironic, in that the ancient capital of Ethiopia was Aksum, which remains a most holy place in Christian Orthodox Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has had for many centuries a writing system called Geez, which is similar in some ways to the Sudanese, and which is still in use in modern day as the standard writing system of Ethiopia.


-------------
“The biggest surprise in a man’s life is old age.”


Posted By: toyomotor
Date Posted: 11 Apr 2017 at 13:49
See http://www.ancient-origins.net/history/z-alphabet-origins-and-most-ancient-written-languages-007873 for a good article on ancient writing.

-------------
“The biggest surprise in a man’s life is old age.”



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