Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Gadabuursi Dir Script or Borama alphabet - Farta iyo Qoraalkii Gadabuursiga iyo Yusuf Al Kowniin (Kaweyn) . And Yusuf Alkownin Wadaad Writing

Borama Alphabet Chart.jpg

The Borama alphabet (Borama: Boorama.jpg) or more generally known as the Gadabuursi script,[1] is a writing script for the Somali language. It was devised around 1933 by Sheikh Abdurahman Sh. Nur of the Gadabuursi clan.[2]

Though not as widely known as Osmanya, the other major orthography for transcribing Somali, Borama has produced a notable body of literature mainly consisting of qasidas.[3]

A quite accurate phonetic writing system,[2] the Borama script was principally used by Nuur and his circle of associates in his native city of Borama.

I.M. Lewis (1958), The Gadabuursi Somali Script, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 21, pp. 134–156.

David D. Laitin, Politics, language, and thought: the Somali experience, (University of Chicago Press: 1977)

Somali (af Soomaali / اَف صَومالي˜)

Somali is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It is spoken mainly in Somali, and also in Djibouti and Ethiopia. In Somali it is an offical language, in Djibouti it is a national language, and it is a working language in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. In 2015 there were about 15 million Somali speakers.
Somali has been written with a number of different scripts, including an Arabic-based abjad known as Wadaad's writing, a Latin-based alphabet and the Borama, Osmanya and Kaddare alphabets. The current official script for Somali is the Latin alphabet.

Wadaad's writing (وَداد)

The Arabic script was first introduced in the 13th century by Sheikh Yusuf al-Kowneyn to aid Koranic teaching. In the 19th century Sheikh Uways al-Barawi improved the writing of Somali with the Arabic script and based it on the Maay dialect of Southern Somalia. A Somali linguists, Muuse Xaaji Ismaaciil Galaal, radically altered the spelling conventions for Somali written with the Arabic script and introduced a set of new symbols for the vowels in the 1950s.
Wadaad's writing (Arabic script for Somali)

Sample text

Sample text in Somali in the Arabic script

Borama/Gadabuursi alphabet

In 1933 Sheikh Abdurahman Sheikh Nuur invented another script for Somali known as Borama or Gadabuursi which was only used by the Sheikh's small circle of associates in Borama.
Borama/Gadabuursi alphabet

Sample text

Sample text in the Borama alphabet


My beloved brother Huseen, Peace.
I am well, the reer is at Đoobo.
The big burden camel has been eaten by a lion. 'Ali has come.
The goods have been received by us. Send us (some) ghee.
Out mother has come. Your brother Guuleed has gone to Hargeisa.
Nuur Bile,

Somali/Osmanya alphabet (𐒋𐒘𐒈𐒑𐒛𐒒𐒕𐒀)

The Osmanya alphabet was created in between 1920 and 1922 by Osman Yusuf Kenadid (Cusmaan Yuusuf Keenadiid / عثمان يوسف), brother of the Sultan of Obbia. In Somali it is known as Farta Cismaanya / 𐒋𐒘𐒈𐒑𐒛𐒒𐒕𐒀 (Somali writing) or Far Soomaali (Somali writing). It replaced an attempt by Sheikh Uweys to devise an Arabic-based alphabet for Somali, and has in turn been replaced by the Latin orthography devised by Shire Jama Ahmed, a Somali linguist, in 1972.
The Osmanya alphabet is not used much these days, though during the 1970s quite a number of people used it for personal correspondence and bookkeeping. A few books and magazines have also been published in the alphabet.

Notable features

  • Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal rows.
  • The names of the letters are based on Arabic letter names.
  • The letters waw and ya are used to write the long vowels uu and ii respectively.
  • Somali is a tonal language with three tones, which are not usually marked in the Osmanya alphabet. The tones have grammatical uses: they indicate number, gender and case.
Somali/Osmanya alphabet


Somali/Osmanya numerals

Sample text

𐒛𐒆𐒖𐒒𐒖𐒔𐒖 𐒊𐒖𐒑𐒑𐒛𐒒𐒂𐒕𐒈 𐒓𐒚𐒄𐒓 𐒊𐒖𐒉𐒛 𐒘𐒈𐒖𐒌𐒝 𐒄𐒙𐒇 𐒖𐒔 𐒏𐒖𐒒𐒖 𐒈𐒘𐒑𐒖𐒒 𐒄𐒖𐒌𐒌𐒖 𐒉𐒖𐒇𐒖𐒍𐒂𐒖 𐒘𐒕𐒙 𐒄𐒚𐒎𐒓𐒎𐒖𐒆𐒖 𐒓𐒖𐒄𐒛 𐒖𐒐𐒐𐒗 (𐒘𐒐𐒛𐒔) 𐒈𐒕𐒕𐒖𐒕 𐒖𐒎𐒝𐒒 𐒘𐒕𐒙 𐒓𐒖𐒋𐒕𐒘, 𐒓𐒛𐒒𐒖 𐒘𐒒 𐒎𐒙𐒍 𐒐𐒖 𐒖𐒇𐒏𐒛 𐒎𐒙𐒍𐒏𐒖 𐒏𐒖𐒐𐒗 𐒚𐒐𐒖 𐒊𐒖𐒎𐒑𐒛 𐒈𐒘 𐒓𐒖𐒐𐒛𐒐𐒂𐒘𐒒𐒘𐒑𐒙 𐒖𐒔.

Kaddare alphabet

The Kaddare alphabet was invented by Sheikh Hussein Sheikh Ahmed Kaddare of the Abgaal Hawiye clan in 1952. The letters have upper forms, which are shown on the first row of the chart below, and lower case forms, which are shown on the second row.
Kaddare alphabet

Sample text

Sample text in the Kaddare alphabet
Source: - alphabet information based on research by Ian James, who is uncertain about the use of this alphabet.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)


Geeraar by Ali Bu'ul



Another Poem by Ugaas Nuur


Another letter from Borama


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