Fula Ba [NEW]

In his 1969 article in  African Language Studies, “Further indigenous scripts of West Africa: Manding, Wolof, and Fula alphabets and Yoruba holy-writing,” David Dalby, a pioneer in the area, wrote:

“The date of invention of the Fula alphabet of Adama Ba is not at present known, but it was in existence before 1964. The Fula inventor, Adama Ba, was born in Mali around the early 1920’s, his grandparents (or great-grandparents?) having come to that area from Mauritania with El Hadj Omar in the middle of the nineteenth century. He is a Muslim.

“Like Dembélé’s script this alphabet appears to be a purely personal form of writing, having been used by Adama Ba for the recording of poetry and stories (‘contes’). He has also apparently used it for correspondence, an indication that at least some of his friends have mastered it. The study of his manuscript volumes will no doubt throw more light on his literary usage of the script. As also in the case of Dembélé, Adama Ba’s efforts have been regarded unfavourably by Malian educational authorities, doubtless in the fear that the popularization of either script would interfere with the present vernacular literacy programme in the Roman script.

“The cursive and continuous style of this script is reminiscent of Roman hand-writing, and is in notable contrast to [Manding, Wolof and Fula Dita],especially to that of the other Fula alphabet. Unlike these other alphabets, there is also an influence from the Roman script on the forms of some of the characters.”

Needless to say, we are ashamed to be able to offer so little on this script, and we’d love to hear from anyone who can add to this pathetic little stub. It seems unlikely the script is still being used, but odder things have happened.

17.5707° N, 3.9962° W