Kaddare alphabet for Somali

Ian James
© July 2012

language name /af soomaali/ in Kaddare

This rare script was designed by Xuseen Sheekh Axmed Kaddare for his language Somali in 1952. It was one option for a national writing system, before the Somalian government adopted a Latin-based scheme.

The images shown here use a font which I developed while researching the script, and which is based on careful study of two unrelated and poorly photographed examples. If anyone has detailed knowledge or experience of how this alphabet is used in practice, I would very much appreciate the information.


The letters are quite unique, and there is upper and lower case. The lower case has been made in cursive style, although many letters (as given) cannot be drawn without lifting the pen. Several letters are reminiscent of Brahmi, and some are similar to the earlier Osmanya alphabet for Somali.

Kaddare consonants


If a vowel is to be made long, it is either written twice, or a horizontal bar (macron) is added above.

Kaddare vowels


This is Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with the modern transliteration as given on Simon Ager’s Omniglot page of Somali alphabets. Since I have never seen anything written in this script, I offer two renditions. The first assumes a single channel with serifs added as decoration.

Kaddare example
Aadanaha dhammaantiis wuxuu dhashaa
isagoo xor ah kana siman xagga
sharafta iyo xuquuqada waxaa alle
(ilaah) siiyay aqoon iyo wacyi,
waana in qof la arkaa qofka kale
ula dhaqmaa si walaaltinimo ah.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

The second rendition assumes that connection is intended at the serifs and tail-ends.

Kaddare example


All material on this page © Ian James, except the UDHR transliteration.
Last modified Jun.6,2013