Is Wolofal script an independent designation or not?

Aug 2018
16
Ontario
#1
I'm currently reading up on Ajami(Arabic-derived) scripts in Africa, but seem to be getting mixed answers in regards to the status of these written languages. Some sources refer to the Wolofal alphabet as independent, in the way that the Greek alphabet is independent of the pheonecian writing in which it was based, while others designate Wolofal as an Arabic script.

There is a passage regarding a particular manuscript stating that the material was written as a translation because many of the Murid desciples were literate in Wolofal ajami, but not literate in Arabic.

If Wolofal is an independent script, what distinguishes it from standard Arabic? If not, where there not enough changes made to separate it? What degree of alterations are necessary to distinguish one script from another?

For reference a wikipedia article on Ajami includes the Vietman Alphabet as reference in a comparison. This Latin-based alphabet does have its own separate designation.
 
Last edited:
May 2019
64
Afrique
#2
I'm currently reading up on Ajami(Arabic-derived) scripts in Africa, but seem to be getting mixed answers in regards to the status of these written languages. Some sources refer to the Wolofal alphabet as independent, in the way that the Greek alphabet is independent of the pheonecian writing in which it was based, while others designate Wolofal as an Arabic script.

There is a passage regarding a particular manuscript stating that the material was written as a translation because many of the Murid desciples were literate in Wolofal ajami, but not literate in Arabic.

If Wolofal is an independent script, what distinguishes it from standard Arabic? If not, where there not enough changes made to separate it? What degree of alterations are necessary to distinguish one script from another?

For reference a wikipedia article on Ajami includes the Vietman Alphabet as reference in a comparison. This Latin-based alphabet does have its own separate designation.
Ajami is a derive alphabet based on Arab with alteration to wrote as far as I know African language in can be found in many region in Africa from west to East. It's just an adaptation of Arabs alphabet. You are maybe or those person are making for me at least a confusion between using an adaptation of language from inspiration to create a new alphabet. The Greek have there alphabet inspired and influenced by the Phoenician as far as I know but they aren't writing Greek with Phoenician alphabet. To give you an example the wolofal is not different from the adaptation of Latin alphabet to wolof. Like French, Spanish, English... use the Latin alphabet with adaptation specifically for their language like accent mark for French as example. Same for the cyrillique in eatern Europe. But the Latin invented it and other use it. We can say by extension that the wolofal is a wolof alphabet as we say that French has its alphabet. But for French it's understandable since it was used for long time. Also because you write French don't mean that you can really read Latin.
 
Jan 2019
53
Norway
#3
Kocc Barma above is right.

I would add that it's possible that the Wolof had an independent script, even though the evidences for it are pretty weak, and if it's true it seems that it was a primitive pictographic system rather than a full-fledged writing system :
Another of Diourbel’s ancient baobabs, the Guy Kodiouf of Ndounka ward, was the object of a scholarly controversy between the great Senegalese intellectual Cheikh Anta Diop and Raymond Mauny, a well-known Africanist prehistorian. In the second volume of Nations nègres et culture (1954, p. 352) Diop recounts childhood memories of what he called hieroglyphs (signs of hands and feet, of animal feet and other objects) inscribed into the bark of this tree. Mauny then went to visit this baobab and concluded that the marks were merely graffiti, and not actually glyphs (Notes africaines #89, 1961, p. 11). After returning to the site Diop responded that, though the signs he could make out (a camel, prayer beads, a sword, a goat hide) were not as he had remembered them, the glyphs inscribed on its trunk might be deciphered and thus this tree and others like it constitute important archaeological artifacts. (Antériorité des civilizations nègres, 1967, p. 246).

In the old kingdoms, nobles, priests and griots all used to inscribe certain baobabs with religious or political markings in what may well have been secret scripts known only to initiates. As we have seen above, such guy mbind (baobabs of writing) feature in every important historic settlement. But, to the best of my knowledge, half a century after the Diop-Mauny debate no study of these trees and of the messages inscribed on their trunks has yet been undertaken. Though the secrets of these trees are now lost, and the priests and the nobles of olden days are now gone, local people still treat these trees with great respect. No harm is allowed to come to them and their stories are still told.
 
May 2019
64
Afrique
#4
Kocc Barma above is right.

I would add that it's possible that the Wolof had an independent script, even though the evidences for it are pretty weak, and if it's true it seems that it was a primitive pictographic system rather than a full-fledged writing system :
I didn't know about those pictograph about wolof people, I know that serer did have those kind of pictograph but I don't know if they can be qualify as hieroglyphs. But since the two ethnic groups were pretty close (two serer kingdom and four wolof kingdoms were basically the core of actual Senegal).

I will add that the senegambian ethnic group claim ancestry from assouan in Egypt in their oral tradition. Like basically that they come from ancient Egypt. And it was record in the late 19 and early 20 century by Yoro Boly Diaw one of the earliest wolof aristocracy member that integrate the French education system at the time. He live way before all the afrocentrism thing and even before Cheikh Anta Diop. And he clearly attest that they were white population in one of those 5 migrations from Egypt (maybe six don't remember well right know) so even the oral tradition don't really corroborate the "all black Egyptian thing".
He says that the first migration happened during the reign of Pate Lamine (some says that it's Ptoleme)
 

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