Although I'll be using the romanization for this webpage, Njaama does have its own orthography. This page will detail that orthography. You can also download the Njaama font I created, if you so choose, here (click here for a zip file).
The Njaama Writing System
Njaama has an alphabetic writing system written as block letter as opposed to cursive (though the letters themselves are cursive-like). It's written from left to right, and, by and large, is phonemic.
Before we get to the alphabet, there's a small matter that needs to be cleared up. As I think I've said before, Njaama is a pitch-accent language, and makes phonemic use of tone. Orthographically, these tones are represented in a unique way. Since Njaama has no contour tones, and can have, at most, one tone change per word, there are four tone characters which represent the four tone patterns of Njaama: high, low, high-low, and low-high. Here's what they look like (in the order I just mentioned):
One of these four tone characters appears before each word in Njaama. In the case of either the low-high or high-low character, there's a tone shift, which is indicated orthographically by a raised dot directly before the syllable that the tone switches:
Here are some examples utilizing the tone characters:
So that's how tone works in Njaama, orthographically. Next will be the alphabet. Each phoneme/letter will be listed in alphabetical order, set off by a divider. Some letters have variants depending on where they appear in the word. Variants to a phoneme/letter will appear within dividers. In either case, the first form listed is the alphabet form, or the "base" form. For each letter, there will be four columns. The first column will list the orthographic form of the letter. The second column will list the phoneme this letter represents (based on the romanization). The third column will be an example word in which the letter appears. The fourth column will be the word written in the romanization, as well as its meaning. All clear? ¡Vámanos!
There are three punctuation marks in Njaama. One is for a pause within a sentence (i.e., a comma); one is for a full stop (i.e., a period); and the other is to mark questions (i.e., a question mark). Here they are, in that order:
A comma is used whenever there is a pause in speech, or sometimes to set off emphasized phrases. A period is used at the end of a sentence. A question mark is used in two ways. It can be placed sentence finally to indicate a question that has a WH word in it (e.g., "who", "what", "where", "when"...). To indicate a yes/no question, though, the question mark comes sentence-initially, and the sentence ends with a period, as usual.
Njaama has a base 10 number system, like English (Sathir doesn't), but the characters themselves are used in a slightly different way. If a character, rather than the word for the number (i.e., 4 vs. four) is used in a text, the shortened version of the character is used. If it appears by itself, its full form is used. Also, for numbers larger than one digit, only the last digit can bear the full form; all others always appear in their shortened form. Here are the numbers from 0 to 9: Full form on the left, shortened form on the right:
Here's an example of a larger number. This is the number 18,967:
And that just about does it for the orthography. Hope you enjoyed it. Of all the orthographies I've ever created (and there are many, because I love orthography), this is probably my favorite (hence, why it was the first to go up). Now, you can move up to brighter and better things.Back to Njaama Main