The Adlam alphabet was created in the 1980s by Ibrahima and Abdoulaye Barry, two brothers from Guinea who decided that their language, Fulani, needed its own alphabet. The name of the alphabet comes from the first four letters, A, D, L, and M.
The brothers produced a number of handwritten books in their alphabet and taught their family to read and write it. Then they taught the women and children in their village. The alphabet became more and more popular and the brothers set up learning centres in Togo, Senegal, Benin, and even in New York.
When a way of printed the alphabet was developed, a newspaper and books were published. However the government of Guinea were opposed to the alphabet, and Ibrahim Barry was sent to prison for three months in 2007. After being released he emigrated to the USA and produced fonts for the alphabet in 2012.
Fula or Fulani is a member of the Senegambian branch of the Niger-Congo language family spoken by about 13 million people in many parts of West Africa. It is the first language of the Fulɓe (Fula/Fulani), who life mainly in West Africa, and also in Central and North Africa. Fula is also spoken as a second language by others in the region. Fula speakers can be found in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gambia, Chad, Sierra Leone, Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Liberia and Gabon.
Download an Adlam alphabet chart (Excel)
Hear the Adlam letters pronounced
Some information about the Adlam alphabet supplied by Michael Peter Füstumum
Innama aadeeji fof poti, ndimɗidi e jibinannde to bannge hakkeeji. Eɓe ngoodi miijo e hakkilantaagal ete eɓe poti huufo ndirde e nder ɓ iynguyummaagu.
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)
Information about Adlam
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