A couple of years ago I linked to Lameen Souag’s Grammar of Algerian Darja; now I’m delighted to report he’s started a language blog, Jabal al-Lughat, which means ‘mountain of languages’ in Arabic. Both his posts to date are extremely interesting: one is on the N’Ko alphabet invented by Soulemayne Kante in 1949 for the Manding languages Malinke, Bambara, Dyula and their dialects (Lameen explains “N’Ko is an old Manding term, meaning ‘I say’ in each of the mutually comprehensible Manding languages… and hence traditionally used as a general term to cover Manding”), and the other is on Rastafarian “blin’ty,” which they substitute for city:

The people of the city, from a Rasta perspective, are “Babylon”; they don’t see the truth, so why should the word “city” contain the sound of “see”? (In a Jamaican pronunciation, anyway…) Rather, they substitute the more appropriate syllable “blind”…

Ahlan wa sahlan!


  1. His old page is worth a glance too. Left Brain

  2. Interesting stuff. The N’Ko alphabet has been accepted for encoding in the next version of the Unicode standard – this proposal document provides some details on the structure of the script.
    (I’d have posted this over there, but he doesn’t allow anonymous comments and I don’t have a Blogger account.)

  3. What a lovely alphabet! A bit like Arabic meets Ethiopian.

  4. Tim: I posted it for you (fortunately, LH used to be on Blogger in the bad old days, so I still have the account).

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