Related Scripts

Quick Facts
TypeConsonantal Alphabetic
Time3rd century CE to Present
DirectionRight to Left

Tifinagh is the traditional writing system of the Tuareg people, who are scattered throughout different countries of northern Africa such as Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger, and Burkana Faso. It is the sole descendent of the more widespread ancient Berber script, and ultimately derives from the Phoenician script. In fact, the name Tifinagh is thought by some modern scholars to mean "Phoenician/Punic letters" (finagh being derived from Punic). Tifinagh is not used widely and certainly not in public contexts such as newspaper, literature, or history. Rather, it is instead employed for private or personal purposes such as letters, diaries, and household decorations.

The following is the traditional Tifinagh alphabet.

Like other scripts in the Phoenician family, Tifinagh is an abjad or a consonantal alphabet, meaning that the letters only represent consonants. Vowels are left unwritten except occasionally at the end of a word by the signs for /a/, for /i/, and for /u/.

Another special case at the end of word is the feminine ending /-t/. In some instances, the letter is joined with the previous letter to form a ligature (that is, a sign that is a compound of two other signs).

Recently the government of Morocco adapted Tifinagh as the "official" alphabet to write Berber languages in Morocco that up to this point did not have a writing system or were written in either Arabic or Latin alphabets. Signs were added to the traditional Tifinagh to denote vowels as well as sounds not found in the original alphabet. This new system is called Neo-Tifinagh, and it is Tamazight, Tachelhit, Kabyle

Tifinagh is part of the Unicode range, from U+2D30 to U+2D7F.

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