Hassaniya Arabic (Mali): Poetic and Ethnographic Texts

Front Cover
Harrassowitz, 2003 - Foreign Language Study - 207 pages
0 Reviews
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.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.



43 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

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

Bibliographic information