Shire Jama Ahmed

Shire Jama Ahmed (Somali: Shire Jaamac Axmed, Arabic: شيري جامع أحمد‎) was a Somali linguist who is credited with having devised a unique Latin script for transcribing the Somali language. Shire Jama's winning Somali Orthoraphy was chosen from eighteen competing new orthographies in 1972 by the Language Committee and the ruling party. The committee commenced its work back in 1960.

In the late 1960s, Shire and a few other Somali linguists presented before the Somali Language Committee, an organization in charge of settling Somalia's outstanding language issue, and eventually deciding between several prospective orthographies. These scripts ranged from Arabic to some resembling Ge'ez, an ancient Ethio-Semitic writing system. Among those proposed was the Osmanya script, an orthography invented in the early twentieth century by the Majeerteen poet and ruler, Osman Yusuf Kenadid, which had enjoyed a strong following. Shire's competing orthography, for its part, was derived from Latin characters, and it omitted a few letters (p, v and z) to accommodate the unique sounds of the Somali language. Shire also introduced combination letters (kh, dh and sh), which were in many ways exclusive to the language. In 1972, his proven orthography was selected as Somalia's national writing script for Af Soomaali (as the Somali language is traditionally referred to).

Read more about Shire Jama Ahmed:  Early Years, Education, Career, Language Issue, Publications, See Also

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