Zaghawa alphabet

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The upper-case (left) and lower-case (right) letter pairs of the Zaghawa also known as Beria alphabet. Alphabetic order follows the Latin: /a b d ɛ f ɡ h~ħ ɪ ʒ k l m n ɲ ŋ ɔ p ɾ~r s ʃ t ʊ w j/.

The Zaghawa or Beria alphabet, Beria Giray Erfe ('Zaghawa Writing Marks'), is an indigenous alphabetic script proposed for the Zaghawa language (also known as Beria) of Darfur and Chad.

In the 1950s, a Sudanese Zaghawa schoolteacher named Adam Tajir created an alphabet for the Zaghawa language, sometimes known as the camel alphabet, deriving its glyphs from the clan brands used for camels and other livestock. He copied the inventory of the Arabic script, so the system was not ideal for Zaghawa.

In 2000, a Zaghawa veterinarian named Siddick Adam Issa adapted Tajir's script to a form which has proven popular in the Zaghawa community. The typography is somewhat innovative in that capital letters have descenders which drop below the baseline of the lower-case letters and punctuation, contrasting with the capital letters which rise above most lower-case letters in the Latin alphabet. Beria Giray Erfe is a full alphabet, with independent letters for vowels; however, diacritics are used to mark tone (grave accent for falling tone and acute accent for rising tone; high, mid, and low tone are unmarked), as well as advanced tongue root vowels (a macron derives /i e ə o u/ from the letters for /ɪ ɛ a ɔ ʊ/).

The letter for /p/, which does not occur in Zaghawa or in Arabic, is written by adding a tail to the letter for /b/; and /ʃ/ is derived from the letter for /s/ with a cross stroke. There apparently is no letter for /ħ/, nor a distinction between /ɾ/ and /r/, both of which have been reported for Zaghawa.

European numerals and punctuation are used.

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