Somali is a member of the East Cushtic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It has 10-16 million native speakers and perhaps half a million second language speakers mainly in Somali, where it is an official language, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. There are also significant numbers of Somali speakers in Europe, North America and Yemen.
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.
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.
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.
The Osmanya alphabet was created in between 1920 and 1922 by Cismaan Yuusuf Keenadiid, brother of the Sultan of Obbia. In Somali it is known as far soomaali (Somali writing) or cismaanya. It replaced an attempt by Sheikh Uweys to devise an Arabic-based alphabet for Somali, and has in turn been replaced by the Latin orthography of Muuse Xaaji Ismaaciil Galaal (1914-1980).
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.
In 1961 both the Latin and Osmanya scripts were adopted for use in Somalia, but in 1969 there was a coup, with one of its stated aims the resolution of the debate over the country's writing system. The Latin alphabet was finally adopted in 1972 and at the same time Somali was made the sole official language of Somalia. Shire Jama Ahmed (Shire Jaamac Axmed / شيري جامع أحمد) is credited with the invention of this spelling system, and his system was chosen from among eighteen competing new orthographies.
Aadanaha dhammaantiis wuxuu dhashaa isagoo xor ah kana siman xagga sharafta iyo xuquuqada Waxaa Alle (Ilaah) siiyay aqoon iyo wacyi, waana in qof la arkaa qofka kale ula dhaqmaa si walaaltinimo ah.
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 the Somali language
Information about Somali scripts
Free Osmanya fonts
BBC worldservice in Somali (includes audio)
Somali <> English translation service
Somalinet - a Somali portal (in Somali & English)
Information about Somali alphabets (in Somali)
http://www.somaliedu.com/Somali Education/Maqaallo/taariikhda qoraalka farsoomaaliga.htm
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