Somali Language Script Was Adopted In 1972

Somali President 1969-1991
Somali President 1969-1991

Do you know the invention of the writing system is one of the most important inventions of humankind, just behind the invention of the wheel and the ability to use fire? Historians say the earliest full writing system is more than 5,000 years old. However, the Somali language was written in 1972. At that time, the Somali government set up a panel of academic intellectuals to come up with a modern, polished Somali language that can be appreciated by knowledge-hungry Somalis. In a very short amount of time and a very fruitful effort, the panel successfully invented the Somali script by adopting the Latin alphabet and coined an official Somali language. Before the decade of 1970s was over, a beautiful curriculum was introduced and all academic subjects were being taught in Somali; even the West was surprised at the speed with which the Somali language was progressing.

In a campaign to teach Somalis how to write in their mother tongue, Siad Barre, the Somali president, put together young Somali groups with the mission to move around all over Somalia including the countryside. Those young groups, who had the nickname, Ololaha Reer Miyiga (Somali Script Teaching Groups) succeeded in 99% of their mission and two third of the Somali population became literates.

Before the Somali script was invented, the record of history and literature in Somalia depended mostly on oral communication and the wise memory of old people who used to memorize poems, riddles, events, etc. Those old people used to pass their lifetime information data in their heads to the young. In a rich recycling of history on everything, a considerable amount of history data of generations was already recorded in this way, and when the Somali script was adopted, scholars rushed to talk to everyone who knew anything to contribute to the history and knowledge books that were going to be written with the euphoria of the Somali language new script.

The Somali language is a very rich language and the Somali people are called by historians THE NATION OF POETS because in both Somali language and culture, poetry plays a major role as a communication tool in many occasions such as, love, peace, war, courage, encouragement, etc, and when you look at the history of the Somali people with their nomadic but imaginative realm of life, poetry is very important in their daily lives, and especially, before the Somali script was invented, uncountable collections of poetry were recorded in the memory of Somali illiterates and people used to recite poems and plays to one another to make a point or to remind one another of certain point of history or to talk about the current events of their times as well.

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