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The Somali Alphabet


T (Ta)

J (Ja. Like when saying the English word Jar)

X (This is not X in English. More like the letter H in English, but not quite. The sound of this letter is not presented in English. Most people can’t pronounce it and make an ha sound because you have to use your throat. The way to pronounce this is by constriction of the throat. So it’s NOT the H sound in English, but a much sharper sound) 

KH (This letter is also not presented in English. The sound of this letter is like how the Scottish people pronounce Ch. Like when they’re saying the word loch)

D (Da)

R (Ra)

S (Sa)

SH (Sha. sshhh sound. Like when saying Sharp)

DH (This letter is pronounced like when saying the D in the words: dance, do, don’t, dorky etc. The fat D) 

C ( NOT C in English. The sound of this letter is also another one that’s not presented in English. Not easy to pronounce. This letter just like the letter X as mentioned is pronounce by constriction of the throat. The muscles in your throat are more tensed when pronouncing this letter. Imagine someone being strangled while they’re trying to speak,’s that sound lol)

G (Ga. Like when saying Ghana)

F (Fa)

Q (Like when saying Qur’an. It’s a clicking sound produced by the back of the tongue and the further part of the mouth…mm,if that made any sense to you)

K (Ka)

L (La)

M (Ma)

N (Na)

W (Wa. Like when saying WOW)

H (Ha)

Y (Ya)

*You might be wondering where are the vowels? Don’t you worry. In Somali, we separate the consonants and the vowels. We then divide the vowels into  two groups: 

Short vowels

A (A. Like when saying Ant)

E (E. You pronounce this letter as how you’d pronounce the letter A in English. Like when saying Alien)

I (You pronouce this letter as how you’d pronounce the letter Ein English. Like when saying Easy)

O (This one is pretty much the same as in English. Like when saying the words: Old, Oxygen, Or etc. 

(NOT like the English U. Think of the word Uruguay (the country). Yup. It’s that U) 

Long vowels (pronounced about twice as long as a single vowel) 






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  • Anonymousi want to learn the somali alphabet,can you please make a post about it? please please!!
  • Somali alphabet is very simple. I can definitely make a post :) 

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Somalis do not have surnames in the Western sense. We have a little different naming system. I don’t know about you, but most of the adults & elders that I know have always struggled with the western naming system. 

The Somali naming system is pretty simple and straight-forward. In order to identify a Somali, three names must be used. The person’s name followed by the father’s name and the grandfather’s.

E.g. : Yasmin (person’s name) Mohammed (father’s name) Abdirahman (grandfather’s name) 

Are there any other naming systems out there that you can share?

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I also heard of this fact is due to generosity to give visitors or guests some milk and show hospitality.

Beautiful! Giving guests some milk is very common in Somali culture too,so it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing this :) 

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Did you know that the word Somali originally came from the two Somali words of SOO and MAAL which literally means, “Go & milk it”?

This is an indication that the Somalis were traditional nomadic pastoral society, who kept camels, cattle, goats and sheep for both subsistence and commercial purpose. 

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