MAAY ALPHABET (ENGLISH VERSION)
WAAJIDPRESS – 10 Jan 2013:
Current and Recent Efforts
The most recent attempt to transcribe Maay was carried out by the late Mustapha Sheikh who used the first Latin-based transcription. However, the first organized and systematic attempt to institutionalize the Alif-Maay script was initiated by a group of young, well educated expatriate workers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1988. This group produced the first modern script in a small booklet entitled “Baroy Af-Somali Maay” (Learn Alif-Maay). They have also produced a collection of over 500 proverbs and substantial number of vocabularies.
In 1993, another young, and well educated group in Toronto, Canada, produced an improved version of the Jeddah Group and presented a paper entitled, “Alif-Maay” at the First International Conference of the Inter-riverine Studies Association held in Toronto in November, 1994.
More than a decade later, another group including members of the initial Toronto Group along with a number of intellectuals, community leaders, and traditional elders created a forum called Kulung Technical Committee. The purpose of this committee, like those that preceded it, is to come up with a more standardized Af-Maay Script. This group met several times in London, and Toronto, Canada. After long discussions, we, the Alif-Maay Group, working under the direction of Kulung Technical Committee, are convinced that this version of the script is as good it can be, and therefore comprehensive enough to be presented for comments by the Maay speaking peoples. Thus, we seek comments and suggestions, as well as any instruction that you may kindly give to improve on the current script
Maay Alphabet ( English Version )
The alphabet used for writing Maay language is the same as the international Roman alphabet, with letters chosen to represent the Maay phones (sound structure). It also uses digraphs i.e. a sequence of two letters to represent single sounds. The Maay alphabet has five primary vowels: a, e, i, o, u, and one semi-vowel ( Y ) and twenty four consonants.
B P T J JH D TH R S SH DH G GH F Q K L M N NG W H Y Y’
Maay has two major categories of vowels: short and long according to the position they occupy in the word in which they are located. Long vowels are spelled as double vowels. They are pronounced exactly like short vowels except that they are longer:
A E I O U
AA EE II OO UU
(1.02) Semi-vowel Y
Maay has one semi-vowel “Y” which has a distinct pronunciation that is different from the vowel sound produced by the vowel i and is used to represent the “ieh” sound occurring ( felt ) most often at the end of Maay words. Example:
teesy (fly) moory (animal enclosure) lamy (two) sedy (three)
Since the letter ‘Y’ is used both a consonant and vowel, because of its double role the following Shorongshoor rule has been put together to clarify when one can use ‘Y’ as a consonant and as a vowel:
(b) If the letter ‘y’ is preceded by a vowel it is used as consonant and is pronounced as it is ‘y’.
Example: Bay (name of a region) Biyooley ( name of a city) siyeed (eight)
(P) On the other hand, if the letter ‘y’ is preceded by a consonant, then the letter ‘y’ is used like vowel and is pronounced as ‘ieh’.
Example: toory = knife misgy = sorghum Jyny = heaven shyny = bee
(1.04) Glottal stop (Shalreepy) (‘)
A vowel followed by different vowel or the same vowel which is not a long vowel is separated from the other vowel by an apostrophe(‘) ‘shalreepy’.
Example: ta’ady = betray ba’iid = deer su’aal = question
In the Maay alphabet, only letters ‘r’ and ‘l’ are doubled within some words.
RR arry (soil) irry (grey hair) marry ( the whole quran)
LL hillimy (dream) billaawy (diger) duullaang ( to invade)
(1.06) Pronunciation Guide
The letter ‘p’ is used when the sound of ‘b’is not stressed. Its sound is produced by the lips, it is some what similar to the letter ‘p’ in the English alphabet.
apaal = gratitude heped = chest Hapiipy = name of a female lipee = lion
It is guttural and it has similar sound as ‘J’. It represent a special Maay sound structure,
jhab = fracture jheer = shyness jhiring =beard jhaapy = fire wood
It is pronounced as the article ‘the’ in the English language, it is used when the sound of ‘d’ is not stressed.
mathal = appointment etheb = politeness mathy = head mithow = black
It sounds like the “ ghain ” of the Arabic alphabet, and it is used when the sound of ‘g’ is not stressed.
maghy = name aghaar = green meghyng = refuge lughy = legs
It represent a special Maay sound structure, it is similar to the end sound of many English words (eg. morning, caring, helping)
angkaar = curse oong = thirst ming = house lang = man sang = nose
It represent a special Maay sound structure, the sound that the letter ‘y’’ represents is also found in the words signore, and agnello of the Italian language.
y’aay’uur = cat y’isaang = the youngest maay’y = ocean
(1.07) Pronunciation difference of (b, d, g) and (p, th, gh)
The letters b, d, and g are stressed when they are part of a word, but they are not doubled within a word. When they are not stressed, the letter p, th, gh and are used respectively in their place. Note how the following words are pronounced.
barbaar = youth hupung = joint (organ) dabaal = fool heped = chest hilib = meet apaar = drought
derdaar = advice mathy = head sedy = three mathal = appointment bad = ocean naathy = anouncement
legding = wrestling maghy = name/ noun shalgo = seperation saghaal = nine dheg = ear dheghaaly = deaf
(1.08) Similar spellings
The following Maay words are written similarly (have the same spelling) but have different pronunciations and different meanings. They are distinguished according to the position they occupy in the words and sentences in which they are located as shown in the following example:
weel = vessel ———weel = a person’s children
dood = hobble rope for camels — dood = argument
eleeng = ram eleeng = above
jeer = days of the week —–jeer = hippopotamus
fool = human face ————-fool = birth labor
beer = liver ——————beer = farm
Farty Afky Maayky may liing etheegsythey Alifky Roomangky, yeetho haruufo bersho liing doorythi weerdhingty Afky Maayky ing gaarky e. Alifky Afky Maayky may leyaa lapaatung i afar shibly, shang shaghal oo aasaaas e, i hal shaghal ing yaal:
B P T J JH D TH R S SH DH G GH F Q K L M N NG W H Y Y’
A E I O U
AA EE II OO UU
(1.02) Shaghal ing yaal (Y)
Afky Maayky may leyaa hal shaghal ing yaal oo e harafky (Y), kaasoo weerdhingtis ku gediising weerdhingty shaghale (i , e). Shaghal ing yaalky “Y” may liing etheegsythey weerdhing ing gaar e Afky Maayky, oo e “ieh” taasoo eed liingku dereemow dhamaadky kelmetho Afky Maayky.
Misaal: teesy sedy lamy misgy bary
Maadaama harafky “Y” liing etheegsythow shibly i shaghal haangby, sy liing shak kasy madi usy shibly eyi i madi usy shaghal eyi, may liing suubiyey sher’e ly erraw Shorongshoor:
(b) Hooby “Y” hortiye shaghal jery , may naghythaase shibly, weerdhingtiyeeny misbedelaasy sithiye ley haathasy.
Misaal: Bay Biyooley siyeed biyi
(P) Hoopy “Y” hortiye shibly jery, may naghythaase shaghal, weerdhingtiyeeny may naghythaase “ieh”. (Y – may galaase meelli weerdhingtiye ing naghythy waayty shaghalky “i” misy “e”).
Misaal: toory misgy jyny shyny maghy
(1.04) Shalreepy (‘)
Hooby is rahaang lamy shaghal oo shaghal dheer ing haayny may lyky shalreebey hamsy (“) oo liingky maghy dari Shalreepy.
Misaal: ta’ady ba’iid su’aal saa’ad
Alifky Afky Maayky harfo “R” i “L” sheleethiyoley lamylaabymaayang.
Misaal: RR arry irry marry
LL hillimy billaawy duullaang
(1.06) Weerdhingty harfo gaarky e:
Harafky “P” may ly etheegsythey madi harafky “B” weerdhingtis futhudy, weerdhingtiisny may ku kooyase faruuy’o mayny ing dhowya harafky afky Ingriisky ‘P”.
Misaal: apaal heped lipee hapoog Hapiipy
Harafky “JH” may liing etheegsythey weerdhing Af Maay ing gaar e o haku bahaasy dhuungky, mayny ing dhowya harafky “J”.
Misaal: jhab jheer jhiryng galaangjhy jhaathyjhaathy
Harafky “TH” may ly etheegsythey madi harafky “D” weerdhingtis futhudy, mayny ly too eyaa weerdhingty kelmydy Afky Ingriisky e “the”.
Misaal: mathal etheb mathy mithow
Harafky “GH” may ly etheegsythey madi harafky “G” weerdhingtis futhudy, mayny weerdhingtis ly too etaa harafky Af Arbeedky e ( ).
Misaal: maghy aghaar meghyng lughy dhaghar
Harafky “NG” may liing etheegsythey weerdhing ing gaar e Af Maay, mayny weerdhingtis may ing dhowta weerdhingty dhamaadky kelmytho Afky Ingriisky e “ morning, caring, helping”.
Misaal: angkaar ming lang sang bang
Harafky Y” may liing etheegsythey weerdhing ing gaar e Af Maay, weerdhingtiisny may ly too etaa weerdhingty ky jerty kelmytho afky Telyaanighy (signore, agnello).
Misaal: y’aay’ur y’isaang maay’y muy’y
(1.07) Farqyghy Weerdhingty Harfo (b,d,g, n) i (p, th, gh, ng)
barbaar hupung dabaal dapaal derby dupy dharbaang depeel
D TH derdaar mathy sedy mathal sody detheb
G GH legdyng maghy lug lughy dugsy meghaad
N NG tinaar lang naar ming suny shang
(1.08) Dhikaal is too e:
Af Maay may leyaa kelmythy dhikaaliyo is too e, laaking ma’naasho shal gediising, mayny ly gorythey ma’naasho madi jumly ky jeraang. Misaal:
weel (weelky wal ky shib)—–weel (weelka weelshey kiing etheeghy) dood (gurbyghy ha dood)—————–dood ( doody bathyng dhaaf) eleeng (eleengky haniing goori)——–-eleeng (eleeng ing geng) jeer (jeermaaw geeky)——————–jeer ( jeer wepi ky jerty) beer ( beer eryng)————————–beer ( beer gooymy)
b bal bed bir bohol bur
p apaal heped lipe hapoog hupung
t tab teneneg ting tol tub
j jawaang jelmed jilib jowhar jug
jh jhab jheer jhiring jhiir jhuug
d dar derdaar dilow dopool dubud
th athar etheer ithing othow uthur
r raad reer riyy roob ruung
s sar sed sir soor suul
sh shang sher shir shoor shughul
dh dhaang dheel dhiiry dhoob dhul
g gar ger goob guur gengber
gh maghaar dhaghar maghy lughy ighir
q quly qiyaas quud qalqaaly qereer
k kal keer keped koor kuul
l lab laab leeb liiling ludaay
m malmal meghed ming moory
n nal neped nikaa nolol nuur
ng lang mingdily shang bung lung
w waaly weysy withaad wehel waany
h haang heraay hiraab hoory huur
y yahaas yeemby yeraang yasow yoong
y’ y’aay’y muy’y maay’y y’aay’ur