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Everyone speaks text message

from The New York Times

When Ibrahima Traore takes his sons to a park in Montclair, N.J., he often sits on a bench and reads. He reads English, French and Arabic, but most of the time he reads N'Ko, a language few speakers of those languages would recognize. N'Ko is the standardized writing system for Mande languages, a family of closely related tongues — among them Traore's language of Mandinka, but also Jula, Bamana, Koyaga, Marka — spoken, for the most part, in eight West African countries, by some 35 million people. N'Ko looks like a cross between Arabic and ancient Norse runes, written from right to left in a blocky script with the letters connected underneath. more


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