Flag of Cameroon

BAMOUN ( BAMUN, Bamoum, Bamum )

Trade language spoken by 215,000 people in most of the Noun Division, the northern area of Mifi Division and in the southeast area of Bamboutos Division, West Province, Cameroon.
Chart of Bamiléké languages family
Cover of "Histoire et anthropologie du peuple Bamiléké" by Dieudonné Toukam
Linguistic Lineage for Bamun
Bamum Scripts and Archives Project - Cameroon

Lord's Prayer

Nouveau Testament et Psaumes en Bamoun.
New Testament and Psalms in Bamoun (1979)
Contributed by Wolfgang Kuhl - E-mail WKuhl44238@aol.com

Another version in Bamun script

Bamum Script (Cameroon)
First line in Bamum Script.
Second line: transcription
Third line: German literal translation
(Note: Cameroon was a German colony from 1884 to 1911)

Lord's Prayer

Note: Sultan Ibrahim Njoya king of the Bamum (Bamoun) for over 40 years, was a man of genius. At the end of the nineteenth century, he evolved an independent system of writing for his own language as well as for a secret "court language". He was inspired by a dream, in which he was told to draw a man's hand on a board and then to wash off his drawing and drink the water. After doing this, he asked his subjects to draw different objects and to name them. Armed with their results, he experimented until he had created the first writing sytem containing some 466 pictographic and ideographic symbols.

He then set up a series of schools or "book houses" throughout his kingdom, at which hundreds of his subjects learned to read and write. An important and varied collection of literature was compiled, only some of which has been preserved. Among other works, Njoya compiled a volume on the history and customs of his kingdom, a book of rules of conduct at his court, a pharmacopia and a collection of maps of his kingdom. He created a library and ethographic collection at his palace and encouraged the development of traditional weaving and dyeing under his patronage.

After the First World War, Njoya's schools and achievements were destroyed by the Frecnh colonial authorities and he was deposed in 1931 and exiled to Yaounde where he died a humiliated and broken man two years later.

(Source: Africa and the Written Word, Centre Culturel Franšais, Paris 1986)

Original Source: "Vaterunser in der Bamumschrift" provided by German missionary Manfred G÷hring in "Der evangelische Heidenbote" ("The Protestant Pagan's Messenger"), vol. 80, page 41 (1907)

Reprint: Alfred Schmitt, "Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Schrift", Band II: Abbildungen, Wiesbaden, Germany (1981), ISBN 3-447-02162-4

Information on the Bamum Script:
1. Afrikan Alphabets
2. Bam˙n (in Spanish)
3. Memorable Leader: Sultan Sedou Njoya (creator of the Bamum Script)
4. King Njoya
5. African fonts

Contributed by Wolfgang Kuhl - E-mail WKuhl44238@aol.com


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