Hassaniya Arabic (Mali): Poetic and Ethnographic Texts

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Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2003 - Foreign Language Study - 207 pages
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In most countries of the Maghreb, the local Arabic vernaculars are increasingly inundated by vocabulary, grammatical forms, and even syntax from literary Arabic (used in mosques, schools, and media), and oral poetry is receding except for popular song genres. The Arabs of the TimbuktuGao region, by contrast, are a peripheral linguistic minority with little exposure to literary Arabic. They continue to speak a relatively pure beduin Arabic, closely related to varieties spoken in Mauritania and southern Algeria. These texts, recorded in 1986-1989 and presented here in transcription along with facing English translations, document this language, as well as the remarkable verbal culture of these people. The ethnographic texts cover such topics as the annual salt caravans from Timbuktu to Taoudenni, the perils of the pastoral life, and adjustments to city life. The "poetic" texts include recitations of locally familiar poems, typically integrated into narratives or otherwise contextualized. The poems, consisting of quatrains (gaf) and more extended poems (tal'a), are often satirical or even bawdy in nature.Jeffrey Heath is Professor of Linguistics and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of many fieldworkbased works, including grammars, dictionaries, and text collections on languages of Australia and on Songhay languages of West Africa.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
7
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
10
THE CHARCOAL BURNER
12
BS SELFPORTRAIT
14
A LOVE POEM
18
DENUNCIATION OF A LOOSE WOMAN
20
DAYLUUL
26
DABBOU FAATIMA
42
CHANGE OF LUCK POEM
128
THE REGUIBAT
132
SPEAKERS DISCUSS RECORDINGS
138
FRAGMENTS
146
A POETIC SHOOTOUT
154
THE MISSING CAMEL l56 29 RIGHT OR LEFT?
156
CARAVAN TO TAOUDENNI
158
3l MUSLIM HOLY DAYS
161

DAYLUULS CAMELS
46
GARFAAF
50
POETIC MEDLEY l
52
l0 POETIC MEDLEY 2
64
l1 THE TRESPASSING FULBE
78
l2 JACKAL AND RABBIT
80
l3 HEDGEHOG AND OSTRICH
90
l4 HEDGEHOG AND MUHAMMAD
92
l5 MUHAMMAD MARRIES THE RABBIT
94
l6 THREE QUATRAINS
96
l7 THE BRAINY BLACKSMITH
98
l8 SHEEP GONE ASTRAY
100
l9 LIONS l
110
LIONS 2
116
2l TAOUDENNI SALT CARAVAN l
118
TAOUDENNI SALT CARAVAN 2
124
A MERCHANTS TRIP
164
THE PASTORAL LIFE
166
COLLECTIVE FEASTS
172
POETIC MEDLEY 3
174
A SAINT DIES IN PRAYER
180
MAHMOUDS ESCAPE FROM JAIL
182
AN ELOPEMENT
184
RIDDLES
186
FAMINE OF l97273
188
4l PROUD ARABS OF OLD
192
INTRIGUE OVER A CHIEFHOOD
194
SHEPHERD AND GOUMIER
198
TRADITIONAL MEDICINE
200
FATMAS SONG
204
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About the author (2003)

Jeffrey Heath teaches English at Victoria College, University of Toronto.

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