Tifinagh Script was a script created to write the Berber (Amazigh) Language, part of the Afro-Asiatic family, related to the Ancient Egyptian Language, Ethiopian/Eritrean Languages (Tigrinya, Amharinya), Hausa, and Somali Language. The word tifinagh comes from the plural Tamahaq word tafineq meaning "letter."  Traditional Tifinagh survives only among the Tuareg. It is used in Algeria, Niger, and Mali.


The script represents mainly consonants, but very few vowels. It is an abjad, by definition a script comprised of mainly consonants. Vowels are represented typically as the final vowels of words. The dot symbol usually called tagherit indicates the last vowel in a word. It does not indicate first and middle vowels. Tifinagh has 23 symbols, all of which are consonant except three which are semi-vowels. and the writing of Tifinagh has changed over time. At different periods of time it was written from right to left, left to right. It can be written from top to bottom or bottom to top. 


The origin of Tifinagh is disputed. It was the script of the Numidian Kingdom. Evidence exist of its existence since 600 BC. Numerous bi-lingual writing of Punic(Carthaginian) and Berber have been found all over the Maghrib. 


The language was revived in the 1960s. Tifinagh has been standardized, but it is now a simple alphabet, referred to as Neo-Tifinagh. The script has sparse use in Morocco and Algeria. In 2003, the Moroccan government decided to teach the Tamazight language in the Tifinagh Script. Standard vowels were added to make pronounciation consistent.

Related Article:  Coptic Script , Meroitic Script , Adinkra , Ge'ez Script , Punic Script 

Works Cited

Campbell, George L and Moseley, Christopher(2013). The Routledge Handbook of Scripts and Alphabets. Routledge, 58-59, ISBN 1135222967, 9781135222963

tags: berber tuareg tifinagh