Vai script

It is not often that I see Liberia feature in New Scientist magazine for a reason that is not so doom-laden as forest despoilation, climate change or endangerment of pygmy hippos – so I am pleased to note an article in the latest issue (January 22nd 2022) about computer analysis of the evolution of the Vai script.

This script was examined because it has been well documented almost from its invention, and regularly through its first 171 years of use, and the analysis shows a pattern of simplification over time, with understandable drivers for that.

I have been curious that Liberia has not celebrated this invention more. While I know that Cockrill noted its existence (in Booklet 25), does anyone know whether it has ever impinged on Liberian philately?

The original analysis is at “The Predictable Evolution of Letter Shapes: An Emergent Script of West Africa Recapitulates Historical Change in Writing Systems”, by Piers Kelly, James Winters, Helena Milton and Oliver Morin, in Current Anthropology, Volume 62, Number 6 (January 3rd 2022), at


  • Martin

    the only slight connection I know is that one of the early stamps (1892 #40) pictured a Vai woman

    I've never seen any reference to the script itself
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