Adlam Script
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Adlam Pular

Time period
ISO 15924Adlm, 166
Unicode alias

The Adlam script is a recently invented script used to write Fulani.[2] The name Adlam is an acronym derived from the first four letters of the alphabet (A, D, L, M), standing for Alkule Danday?e Leñol Mulugol ( ?[3] or [1]) which means "the alphabet that protects the peoples from vanishing". It is one of many indigenous scripts developed for specific languages in West Africa.[4]

Adlam is supported in Google's Android and Chrome operating systems. There are also Android apps to send SMS in Adlam and to learn the alphabet.[5] On computers running Microsoft Windows, the Adlam script is natively supported beginning with Windows 10 version 1903, which was released in May 2019.


While teenagers in the late 1980s, brothers Ibrahima and Abdoulaye Barry devised the alphabetic script to transcribe the Fulani language.[3][6] After several years of development it began to be widely adopted among Fulani communities, and is currently taught not only regionally in Guinea, Nigeria and Liberia but even as far as Europe and the United States.[1]


Adlam has both major and minor cases. See Omniglot in the external links for the pronunciation of the basic letters

Capital Minuscule Latin Letter Name[3] IPA[7]
? ? a alif a
? ? d dâli d
? ? l lam l
? ? m mim m
? ? b ba b
? ? s singniyhé s
? ? p p
? ? ? (bh) bhè ?
? ? r ra r/?
? ? e è e
? ? f fa f
? ? i i i
? ? o ö o
? ? ? (dh) dha ?
? ? ? (yh) yhè
? ? w wâwou w
? ? n, any syllable-final nasal noûn n
? ? k kaf k
? ? y ya j
? ? u ou u
? ? j djim d?
? ? c tchi t?
? ? h ha h
? ? ? (q) ghaf q
? ? g ga ?
? ? ñ (ny) gna ?
? ? t tou t
? ? ? (nh) nha ?
Supplemental: for other languages or for loanwords
? ? v va v
? ? x (kh) kha x
? ? ?b gbe b
? ? z zal z
? ? kp kpo k?p
? ? sh sha ?

The letters are found either joined akin to Arabic or separately - the joined form is commonly used in a cursive manner, however separate or block forms are also used as primarily for educational content.[8]


Adlam has a number of diacritics. The 'consonant' modifier is used to derive additional consonants, mostly from Arabic, similar to e.g. s > ? in Latin script.

Diacritic Description
long '?' (on vowel 'a' or on a consonant)[9]
long vowel (other vowels)
long consonant (gemination)
glottal stop (between the consonant it is placed over and the following vowel)
consonant modifier*
long modified consonant
? Used between n and another consonant to indicate that they constitute a prenasalized consonant

* The há?ek-shaped consonant modifier is added to the Adlam letters a ('alif'), g, h for Arabic ain [?], gh [?], h (plain Adlam h is used for Arabic ?), and to s, t, d, j for the emphatic consonants ?, ?, ?, ?. To indicate the consonant is long, the combined long-modified diacritic is used. The dot diacritic is placed above the s and j to derive Arabic th and z, and above e and o to indicate a higher/closer vowel quality ([e, o] rather than normal [?, ?]). When those are lengthened, the normal length diacritic (macron) is used, and the dot is placed under the letter.


Unlike in Arabic script, Adlam digits go in the same direction (right to left) as letters.

Adlam Hindu-Arabic
? 0
? 1
? 2
? 3
? 4
? 5
? 6
? 7
? 8
? 9


Adlam punctuation is like Spanish in that there are initial and final forms of the question mark and exclamation point, which are placed before and after the questioned or exclaimed clause or phrase.

Adlam Latin
. .
? ,
: :
? ;
? ... ? ¿ ... ?
! ... ? ¡ ... !

The hyphen is used for word breaks, and there are both parentheses and double parentheses.


The Adlam alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2016 with the release of version 9.0. The Unicode block for Adlam is U+1E900-U+1E95F:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1E90x 𞤀 𞤁 𞤂 𞤃 𞤄 𞤅 𞤆 𞤇 𞤈 𞤉 𞤊 𞤋 𞤌 𞤍 𞤎 𞤏
U+1E91x 𞤐 𞤑 𞤒 𞤓 𞤔 𞤕 𞤖 𞤗 𞤘 𞤙 𞤚 𞤛 𞤜 𞤝 𞤞 𞤟
U+1E92x 𞤠 𞤡 𞤢 𞤣 𞤤 𞤥 𞤦 𞤧 𞤨 𞤩 𞤪 𞤫 𞤬 𞤭 𞤮 𞤯
U+1E93x 𞤰 𞤱 𞤲 𞤳 𞤴 𞤵 𞤶 𞤷 𞤸 𞤹 𞤺 𞤻 𞤼 𞤽 𞤾 𞤿
U+1E94x 𞥀 𞥁 𞥂 𞥃 𞥄 𞥅 𞥆 𞥇 𞥈 𞥉 𞥊 𞥋
U+1E95x 𞥐 𞥑 𞥒 𞥓 𞥔 𞥕 𞥖 𞥗 𞥘 𞥙 𞥞 𞥟
1.^ As of Unicode version 13.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points


  1. ^ a b c Bach, Deborah; Lerner, Sara (July 29, 2019). "Adlam Comes Online". Microsoft. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Dalby, Andrew (1998). Dictionary of Languages. Columbia University Press.
  3. ^ a b c Everson, Michael (28 October 2014). "N4628R: Revised proposal for encoding the Adlam script in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF). Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Unseth, Peter. 2011. Invention of Scripts in West Africa for Ethnic Revitalization. In The Success-Failure Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts, ed. by Joshua A. Fishman and Ofelia García, pp. 23-32. New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. ^ Winden Jangen Adlam: Cellphone Applications
  6. ^ Waddell, Kaveh (16 November 2016). "The Alphabet That Will Save a People From Disappearing". The Atlantic.
  7. ^ "Adlam alphabet". Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Adlam/Pular script notes".
  9. ^ There are two competing conventions: the long-a diacritic may be placed over the letter 'a', in which case '?' simply takes a different diacritic than other vowels do, or it may be placed over a consonant, in which case the vowel is not written at all.

External links

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