This item concerning systems of transcription in Africa may be of
interest. The issue of orthographies for African languages and
standardization/harmonization of same is not new - there was some
attention to it in the colonial period and after independence some
concerted efforts that have had an effect (see for instance the
documents at But as the efforts
of CASAS indicate, there is still work to do.

CASAS is involved in other research & advocacy work relating to
African languages. See their website (not mentioned in the item
forwarded) at

Don Osborn

----- Forwarded message from Charles Becker <becker@...> -----
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2004 16:13:49 +0000
From: Charles Becker <becker@...>
Reply-To: H-Net Discussion List on History and Study of West Africa
Subject: TOC: Orthographic Conventions in African Languages and

Writing African. The Harmonisation of Orthographic Conventions in
African Languages
Edited by Kwesi Kwaa Prah

The Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society ( CASAS )
P.O. Box 352
Cape Town
7800 South Africa

First published 2002
ISBN 1-919799-66-4


The contributors
The Rationale for Revising African Orthographic Conventions, Kwesi
Kwaa Prah

The Pan-Dialectical Approach to Orthographic Conventions: The Case of
the Gbe Languages of West Africa Hounkpati, B.C. Capo

Unified Orthography for Nilotic Languages B.V.G., Nyombe

Towards a Standard Bantu Orthography: The Harmonisation and
Standardisation of the Orthographies of Zambian and Malawian
Languages, Felix Banda

Orthographe Commune et Législations Nationales: Une Expérience
d'Harmonisation de l'Orthographe du Wolof entre le Sénégal et la
Mauritanie, Chérif Mbodj

An Attempt at Harmonisation or What? On the Development of the
Orthographies of Botswana Languages, Joyce T. Mathangwane

Issues of Concern in the Standardisation of Kiswahili, Kitula King'ei

Writing Berber: Towards a Unified Orthography, Moha Ennaji

The Orthographic Conventions for Ivorian Languages, Sassango Silue

Harmonisation Orthographique du Sangö, Langue Nationale Officielle,
et des Autres Langues de Centrafrique, François Lim

Conventions Orthographiques de Certaines Zones Linguistiques de
l'Ouest Africain, Boniface Keita

The Expansion of the Dholuo Vowel System Francis R. Owino,

Consolidated Bibliography of Chapters in English


The CASAS book series

1. Between Extinction and Distinction. The Harmonisation and
Standardisation of Afrjcan Languages Edited by Kwesi Kwaa Prah

2. Knowledge in Black and White. The Impact of Apartheid on the
Production and Reproduction of Knowledge. Edited by Kwesi Kwaa Prah

3. Ibibio Phonetics and Phonology Eno-Abasi Essien Urua

4. Rethinking African Arts and Culture, Edited by Dele Layiwola

5. Language and Institutions in Africa, Edited by Sinfree Makoni and
Nkonko Kamwangamalu

6. The New Ewe/Gbe Orthography HounkpaliB.C. Capo

7. African Languages for the Mass Education of Africans Kwesi Kwaa

8. Mother Tongue for Scientific and Technological Development in
Africa, Kwesi Kwaa Prah

9. Nyansapow, J. Gyekye.Aboagye

10. Education, Literacy and Development jn Africa, Sassongo J. Silue

11. Isefe Ninu Awon Ere-onitan Yoruba Yoruba Thesis, I.G. Adejuma

12. Language Across Borders The Harmonisation and Standardisation of
Orthographic Conventions of Bantu Languages Within and Across the
Borders of Malawi and Zambia Edited by Felix Banda

13. Ifa and Related Genres, Edited by L.O. Adewole

14. Globalising Africans Edited by B.E. Bankie

15. The Akan Dictionary J. Gyekye-Aboagye et al.

16. A Linguistic Analysis of Cinsenga, Lazarus Miti

17. Kiswahili Katika Karne ya Ishirini na Moja (Kiswahili in the 21st
Century), Edited by K. Njogu, O. Momanyi, K. King'ei and P. Musau

18. Rehabilitating African Languages: Language Use, Language Policy
and Literacy in Africa Edited by Kwesi Kwaa Prah

19. Harmonisation and Standardisation of Nigerian Languages, Edited
by F.O. Egbokhare and S.O. Oyetade

20. New Perspectives in Edoid Studies. Essays in Honour of Ronald
Peter Schaefer. Edited by F.O. Egbokhare

21. Speaking African. African Languages for Education and
Development. Edited by Francis R. Owino

22. Speaking in Unison. Harmonisation and Standardisation of Southern
African Languages. Edited by Kwesi Kwaa Prah

23. Racism and the Global African Experience. CASAS and NGO Platform:
World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia
and Related Intolerance Edited by Kwesi Kwaa Prah Forthcoming

24. Discourses on Difference, Discourses on Oppression. Edited by
Norman Duncan et al.

25. Writing African The Harmonisation of Orthographic Conventions in
African Languages. Edited by Kwesi Kwaa Prah

26. Aspects of Cinsenga Tonology. L.M. Miti

27. Ikalè Masquerade. Traditions and Artifacts. Ebenezer Aiku Sheba

28. Akan Kasakoa Horow Bi. J. Gyekye-Aboagye

29. Les Langues Africaines pour l'Education des Masses en Afrique.
Kwesi Kwaa Prah

----- End forwarded message -----