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Preliminary Notes on Tuareg in Arabic Script from Niger

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Chapter Summary

Tuareg is a Berber language spoken in the central and southern Sahara and the Sahel, in Niger, Mali, Algeria, and Burkina Faso. The third script in use for writing Tuareg is the Arabic script, commonly referred to by the Hausa (originally Arabic) term ajami. The author traces some of the main traits of Tuareg Ajami as currently used in Niger, on the basis of a small corpus gathered by Ramada Elghamis during his fieldwork on tifinag. This chapter presents the most salient characteristics of Tuareg Ajami orthography in Niger, and, where possible, integrates them into the wider context of regional Ajami traditions. Determination of the regional context of Tuareg Ajami presents us with interesting problems. Tuareg has a phonemic system that is much more similar to Classical Arabic than that of other Sahelian languages. The Tuareg Ajami graphemic choices studied here present us with many intriguing questions.

Keywords: Ajami orthography; Arabic script; Niger; Ramada Elghamis; Tuareg Ajami graphemic choices



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