Syllabary organized into syllabic blocks
|Languages||Kikongo, Lingala, Tshiluba, Swahili|
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Mandombe or Mandombé, is an Afrikan language script proposed in 1978 in Mbanza-Ngungu in the Bas-Congo province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Wabeladio Payi, who explained that it was revealed to him by Simon Kimbangu, the prophet of the Kimbanguist Church, in a dream. The word Mandombe literally translates to "for blacks", "how black" or "that which belongs to the blacks." in Kikongo Language It is based on the sacred shapes 5 and ㄹ, and intended for writing Afrikan languages such as the four national languages of the Congo, Kikongo, Lingala, Tshiluba and Swahili. It is believed that research into the script will result in scientific discoveries. It is taught in Kimbanguist church schools in Angola, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also promoted by the Kimbanguist Centre de l’Écriture Négro-Africaine (CENA). The Mandombe Academy at CENA is currently working on transcribing other African languages in the script.
Mandombe combines the function of the signs with vowel and consonant to form syllabic blocks. All characters are based on a fundamental graphic sign, called Mvuala Pakundungu, , Whose shape is similar to a "5" and its mirror image, , Said Mvuala Pelekete, similar in shape to a "2". There are six vowels, which can be combined in different positions, consonant with the function of the graphic elements, distinct processes graphically by rotation and / or reflection, and classified to form 'groups', and for guidance in 'families'. A system of diacritical marks, prefixes or fixtures, allows you to note the sequence of vowels, nasal vowels, consonants and consonant clusters prenasalizzate.
Vowel letters are composed of two parts: the basic 5-shape of the Mandombe script plus a numeral, or—in the case of the French u vowel—by modifying the basic u vowel letter. Vowel 1 is i, vowel 2 u, vowel 3 e, vowel 4 o, and vowel 5 a.
A vowel can be written individually and form a syllable on its own. In a vowel sequence or diphthong, however, a diacritic is used for the second vowel or part of the vowel. That is, lio (two syllables) is written li plus the diacritic for o, while mwa (one syllable) is written mu plus the diacritic for a. Diacritics come at the end of the last stroke of the vowel. While there is a diacritic for u, sequences ending in u are instead generally written as two full syllables, the second being wu. This strategy is apparently also employed in some other cases rather than using diacritics.
Consonants groups and families
There are four basic consonant shapes. Each shape (base character) can be reflected horizontally, vertically, or both to represent a different consonant; the four consonants thus formed are considered to be a group, and consonants reflected in the same way are considered to be a family. These consonants are combined with vowels, which are similarly reflected, to create syllables.
- Family 1
- The consonant with the basic orientation is attached to the lower left of the vowel
- Family 2
- The consonant-plus-vowel is reflected both horizontally and vertically (rotated 180°)
- Family 3
- The consonant-plus-vowel is reflected horizontally
- Family 4
- The consonant-plus-vowel is reflected vertically
Vowel diacritics are reflected along with the main vowel.
The use of geometric transformation is also present in Pitman shorthand and Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, though Mandombe consonants in the same group do not seem to have any phonological relationship (except the fifth group named mazita ma zindinga, in which all consonants are affricates and fricatives).
|Consonant||Family 1||Family 2||Family 3||Family 4|
|Mazita ma zindinga|| |
- Prenasalisation of consonants is indicated with a variation on (n) disconnected from the vowel. This always joins the consonant body, else certain signs could be read in more than one way.
- Nasalisation of the vowel is marked by an attached diacritic: .
Examples of Complex Syllables
|Nasal vowel or final nasal consonant||ken|
The digit for 1 resembles the Hindu-Arabic 1, and 2–5 are based on this shape. 6 and 9 are square versions of Hindu-Arabic 6 and 9, and 7–8 are formed by reflecting them.
A period is used as a word divider to separate words.
The punctuation corresponds to that of the Roman alphabet. A comma has the form of a short line, ı, a period as a turned vee, ʌ, like the diacritic for o, and a colon and semicolon combinations of these (semicolon î, colon double ʌ). The exclamation mark is like a lambda, λ, and the question mark is
- The Definition: Mandombe, Negro-African script.
- Pasch, Helma. 2008. Competing scripts: the introduction of the Roman alphabet in Africa. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 191:65-109.
-  in French