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Bamum syllabary   Bamum / Shümom

The Bamum syllabary was invented in 1896 by King Ibrahim Njoya of the Bamum. The king also collected numerous manuscripts containing the history of his people, and used his script to compile a pharmacopoeia, to design a calendar, and to keep records and for law. He also built schools, libraries and set up a printing press.

The first version of the script including 465 symbols, but King Njoya simplified a number of time until it included 73 syllablic signs and 10 numerals. Tone indicators can be added to the signs if necessary.

After part of Cameroon came under French control in 1919, the libraries and the printing press were destroyed, many of the books in the Bamum script were destroyed, and the teaching of the script in schools was banned. After Cameroon became independent in 1960, Nyoja's son and heir, Seidou Njimoluh, collected such Bamum manuscripts and other materials that survived and put them in his father's museum.

Today the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project is trying to revive the Bamum script by teaching it to young people.

The Bamum language (Shüpamom) is a Bantoid language spoken in Cameroon by about 200,000 people. It is also known as Bamoun in French.

Notable features

Bamum syllabary (A-ka-u-ku)

Bamum syllabary

Characters from the Bamum Unicode chart at:


Information about the Bamum language and scriptÉcriture_Bamoun

Information about the Bamum people

Royaume Bamoun

Bantoid languages

Awing, Bamum, Pinyin


Bamum, Caroline Island Script, Celtiberian, Cherokee, Cypriot, Eskayan, Hiragana, Iban, Iberian, Katakana, Kpelle, Loma, Mende, Mwangwego, Ndjuká, Nüshu, Vai, Yi

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