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Ajami script

Ajami script

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The term Ajami or Ajamiyya ( ), which comes from the Arabic root for "foreign" or "stranger," has been applied to Arabic alphabets used for writing African languages
African languages
There are over 2100 and by some counts over 3000 languages spoken natively in Africa in several major language families:*Afro-Asiatic spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of the Sahel...

.

Since African languages involve phonetic sounds and systems different from the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, there have often been adaptations of the Arabic script to transcribe them—a process not unlike what has been done with the Arabic script in non-Arabic speaking countries of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, and with the Latin script in Africa or with the Vietnamese alphabet
Vietnamese alphabet
The Vietnamese alphabet, called Chữ Quốc Ngữ , usually shortened to Quốc Ngữ , is the modern writing system for the Vietnamese language...

.http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/201105/from.africa.in.ajami.htm

The West African Hausa
Hausa language
Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 25 million people, and as a second language by about 18 million more, an approximate total of 43 million people...

 is an example of a language written using Ajami, especially during the pre-colonial period when Qur'anic schools taught Muslim children Arabic, and by extension, Ajami. When Western colonizers adopted a Latin orthography for Hausa
Boko (alphabet)
Boko is a Latin alphabet devised by Europeans in the early 19th century for the Hausa language. It was developed and introduced in the early 20th century by the British and French colonial authorities and used as the official script of the Hausa language. It was made the official alphabet in 1930...

, Ajami went into decline, and today is employed less frequently than the Latin standard orthography. However, Hausa Ajami is still in widespread use, especially in Islamic circles.

See also

  • Hausa language
    Hausa language
    Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 25 million people, and as a second language by about 18 million more, an approximate total of 43 million people...

  • Wolofal script
  • Aljamiado
    Aljamiado
    Aljamiado or Aljamía texts are manuscripts which use the Arabic script for transcribing Romance languages such as Mozarabic, Berber Spanish or Ladino.According to Anwar G...

  • Jawi script
  • Perso-Arabic script
    Perso-Arabic script
    The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...


External references