Reply by Kiflemariam Hamde


Dear Selamawit Habtezghi,


Apologies for not answering your question due to summer vacation.

It is nice to hear that you liked the Dehai Blin Lessons, and the ease with which you could learn Blin in the Latin script. We appreciate your interest on learning Blin and we hope that you can master speaking, reading and writing Blin soon. Before we suggest a brief answer to your enquiry and what we plan in the short run as well as the long run, we would like to explain the context in which the Dehai Blin Lessons were conducted 16 years ago (1997-1998). Since then, the author has got many enquiries, reactions and general comments, all of which exhibiting an interest in Blin.


In 1997, the Eritrean Community Online Network, DEHAI, planned to provide lessons on Eritrean languages; this was due to many subscribers and other readers showed the demand for learning Eritrean languages, especially foreigners who worked in or had plans to visit Eritrea.. All the lessons were agreed upon to be conducted in English, and thus, the matter of Latin script was taken for granted. Once the plan was approved or endorsed by many readers, the administrators of Dehai discussed possible standard for the script. Geez script was out of question because many of the interested readers (students) of the languages were foreigners and visitors to Eritrea. Following this plan, Goitom Ahferom took the responsibility for Tigrinya, leading to the Dehai Tigrinya Lessons. After finalizing 30 lessons in Tigrinya, Dehaiers requested to extend the project to Tigre, and Omer Kekia agreed to send two lessons a week, which led to the Dehai Tigre Lesson. Again during this period of time, many readers also discussed ways of including the same project to Blin, Saho, and possibly other Eritrean Languages. When readers again asked for Blin, Kiflemariam Hamde agreed to take responsibility and this we have now the Dehai Blin Lessons homepage. An exception was Kunama language lessons because there was already a home page dedicated on Kunama language and culture. You can now find these three Dehai Language Lessons (Blin, Tigre, and Tigrinya).


What about the future? An immediate plan for Blin Lessons is to include Geez script along the Latin/English script and adjust them to fit the aims of Daberi Forum, thus opening a new space for learning Blin. Eventually, as you rightly suggest, including the corresponding voices to the script will follow. The latter, - adding sounds for the lessons in, however, will only occur gradually, as the website is newly established, and has many other priorities in the short run. Remain tuned though.


Best Regards


Kiflemariam Hamde on behalf of Daberi Forum