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Nsibidi character prefixing

The nsibidi characters as you may know are capped at the 1400 characters. One of the ways of expanding these characters is with the affix system, usually with akagu, where an affix can change the meaning and sound of an nsibidi character, this helps reduce the need for more characters, and more importantly it serves as a great mnemonic device that keeps the projects original spirit of word-differentiation and the partial obsoleteness of diacritics whch people often do not use and are often not sufficient enough. The akagu prefix identifies part of the phonetic value while the nsibidi character provides the semantic field, like how animal can be extended based on the prefix to deer, antelope, and other animals, the prefix + nsibidi match is unique to each concept so an é akagu + anu nsibidi can only be used for deer, ele.

In the original ideographic nsibidi, a character can mean various things depending on the context, the context here is anchored by the phonetic affix of akagu, and sometimes nsibidi compounds that have multiple characters whose stand alone gloss sound are changed partially or completely, such as in the word 'umi' here. With context the words can be understood, especially when their original meaning would make no sense together, for instance the word for 'umi' here combines the characters, mmiri, water, and the verb mi, sink, the two together mmiri + mi makes little sense so this is easily recognised as a semantic compound after somebody is taught the compound. If the words or characters met by coincidence and not out of trying to write umi in this example, there is a punctuation mark called 'madu' or 'person' that can stand in between them if needed (show in the example for pneumonia and yellow fever and antelope), the context will probably mean this is not required. This concept is loosely similar to how 'th' in English could be pronounced a number of ways depending on the word and the position of the digraph within the word, or any silent letter, like in Featherstonhaugh, or even simply the multiple pronunciations of 'e' or 'c' in English.


This blog is about African writing, the nsibidi script. This website include many nsibidi symbols meaning a lot of different things. All images do not hold a copyright unless indicated so. You can copy, distribute, and sell any information/images you find on this website. Public Domain.