Tseeyi Syllabary



Below are sample sentences written using the Tseeyi syllabary, mógboola ʦééyimo. 

A complete presentation can be seen here.  Upon examination of these characters, it becomes apparent that each consonant and each vowel possess their own unique property or theme.  There is quite a lot of variation in the actual appearance of the characters, but as long as the two themes are indicated the character can be parsed.

The use of the syllabary is learned during the sacred forest initiation year by Tseeyi men who employ it on a very limited basis to indicate residents of houses, rightful use of fields or areas of exploitation, warning, praise, directions, etc.  The characters are rarely written on paper but usually appear painted on the sides of houses, or on large rocks or tree trunks.

Some women have acquired the ability to read but rarely write, seeing little value in being literate.

The Tseeyi syllabary shares several of the forms with the syllabary of the neighboring Loma people but but the symbols have different values.  From this we can deduce that the Tseeyi system was probably developed in contact with undeciphered examples of the Loma system.

One would probably never see occurrences such as the first two examples in the traditional environment. (Especially the second one.)

Example 1.





   u        ka     ɲi    ɛ́                         á   mbɔ    ɛ

  u kaɲiɛ́ mí ámbɔe. 

  he give-APPL me knife.     

 “He gave me the knife.”


Example 2.

   ɛ          á     wɔ  na             ti    mi             ɛ      ɔ          yee ma            á     yɔ   u              kpɛ    li    a 

ɛ awɔna timi ɛ, ɔ yeema áyɔu kpɛlia.

and people say QUOT, you want NM.fish walk.about.NC.

“So they say you like mudkips.”


Note that the symbol ‘ye’ is rotated to indicate a long vowel, ‘yee’.  Normally it would appear as


Example 3

Symbols may appear horizontally but more usually vertically, either all in a line or with words arranged left to right as shown here.


 ɲiukɛ hɔŋcɛ ŋgá.

 NAME reside here

“Nyuke lives here.”





Example 4  

This is a longer passage from the beginning of a story about the origin of the Tseeyi.  Often you can see inscriptions such as this wrapping around the top of the round exterior walls of houses.