"Tamasheq and Tifinagh" Lac Faguibine Travelogue by F_Meignant
Lac Faguibine Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 170 photos
The Tuaregs’ language is called Tamasheq. Its origin seems to be still undetermined. At least, there are different theories on the subject.
When you listen to Tamasheq, it looks a bit like a softened Arab: less guttural, with strange (for an Occidental throat…) associations of consonants like “kt”, “qq”, “rb”, “hh”...
It’s often said that Tuareg culture is only oral. It’s true and wrong… There is a strong tradition of tales, pieces of history and poems which are orally transmitted from one generation to the other.
But there is also an alphabet, the letters of which are called Tifinagh (pronounce: tifinarh).
It’s commonly said that Tuaregs have no memory and their stories are taken away by the wind: traditionally, Tifinagh were only written in the sand….
They can be read from left to right, right to left, from top to bottom or bottom to top. This is due to the fact that the normal use of Tifinagh is as follows: two persons are sitting, facing each other, the writing being made in the sand between them. The one who writes does it from left to right and from top to bottom (like European writing). So, the one who reads has to do it from right to left and from bottom to top…!
Originally, there were no vowels like in Arab. Vowels have recently been introduced in the frame of the modernisation of the Tifinagh. “Aman, Iman”… “[ I, [ I” in Tifinagh without vowels…: “Water is Life”, says the Tuareg proverb.
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