Author Archives: clriley

Of browsers, keyboards, and fonts, with a focus on certain West African scripts

In previous posts I have discussed the process of encoding West African scripts into the Unicode standard.  The question that often comes up next is, how are these scripts made usable?  This is a matter known as implementation, and the

Of browsers, keyboards, and fonts, with a focus on certain West African scripts

In previous posts I have discussed the process of encoding West African scripts into the Unicode standard.  The question that often comes up next is, how are these scripts made usable?  This is a matter known as implementation, and the

The Outlook for ADLaM

Back in the 1980’s, as the story goes, two Fulani brothers growing up in Guinea took it upon themselves to invent a script that they called “ADLaM”:  “Alkule Dandayɗe Leñol Mulugol”, or “The Alphabet that protects the peoples from vanishing”.1

The Outlook for ADLaM

Back in the 1980’s, as the story goes, two Fulani brothers growing up in Guinea took it upon themselves to invent a script that they called “ADLaM”:  “Alkule Dandayɗe Leñol Mulugol”, or “The Alphabet that protects the peoples from vanishing”.1

Minding Mende

A fair amount of source material in the Kikakui script of the Mende language of Sierra Leone has just been made available for viewing, transcription, and annotation here.  These are notebooks of a goldsmith who wrote in them during the

Minding Mende

A fair amount of source material in the Kikakui script of the Mende language of Sierra Leone has just been made available for viewing, transcription, and annotation here.  These are notebooks of a goldsmith who wrote in them during the

A close look at N’ko

One of the more curious African scripts around is one that I was introduced to by Joe Lauer, a librarian at Michigan State University.  In 2001, an article of his was published in the Mande Studies Journal called “A transliteration

A close look at N’ko

One of the more curious African scripts around is one that I was introduced to by Joe Lauer, a librarian at Michigan State University.  In 2001, an article of his was published in the Mande Studies Journal called “A transliteration

Paths to understanding Kpelle

For those interested in learning more about the history and use of the Kpelle language and script, there are a few key resources to be recommended.  One is a dictionary by Theodore Leidenfrost and John S. McKay, Kpelee-woo-Kwii-woo su-kula kɔlɔ,

Paths to understanding Kpelle

For those interested in learning more about the history and use of the Kpelle language and script, there are a few key resources to be recommended.  One is a dictionary by Theodore Leidenfrost and John S. McKay, Kpelee-woo-Kwii-woo su-kula kɔlɔ,

An Ivorian innovation: the Bété script

I write this in memory of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, who called himself “Cheikh Nadro”, or “he who does not forget”. He was an Ivorian artist who passed away five years ago this month. An exhibition of some of his work

An Ivorian innovation: the Bété script

I write this in memory of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, who called himself “Cheikh Nadro”, or “he who does not forget”. He was an Ivorian artist who passed away five years ago this month. An exhibition of some of his work

Ah, Foumban…

My memories of visiting Foumban, Cameroon in 2006 are still fairly vivid after a twelve-year absence.  The palace with a statue of a mfon (local king or sultan) on horseback in front stands out, as does touring the museum of

Ah, Foumban…

My memories of visiting Foumban, Cameroon in 2006 are still fairly vivid after a twelve-year absence.  The palace with a statue of a mfon (local king or sultan) on horseback in front stands out, as does touring the museum of