Conference paper Open Access

(In)visibility of Ajami in Chad and Sudan and in Nigerian Android applications

Dobronravin, Nikolay

Some occurrences of African Ajami may be described as invisible\marginal or occasional\experimental. A few cases of invisible\marginal Ajami may be found in the Nigerian Android apps of Sagware International which are based on Nigerian market editions in Arabic, where Hausa Ajami is only used in the glosses. Neither the developers of the apps, nor the editors of the original publications mentioned the fact that Hausa Ajami occurrences can be found in these texts. It seems that the bilingual Arabic-Hausa works tend to be treated as Arabic, while Hausa "disappears". Lack of Ajami visibility is not a rare phenomenon in modern Sudanic Africa. Thus, during my recent visit to N'Djamena I could not find a single work in Kanuri or Kanembu, though the speakers of these languages are not rare in N'Djamena. Unlike Kanembu and Kanuri in N'Djamena, Maba Ajami can be described as a visible adaptation of Arabic script; it has been supported by both native speakers and foreign missionaries. The corpus of Maba Ajami editions includes more than fifteen works published by the SIL. There is an experimental edition in Dazaga in Arabic and Roman script also published by SIL “Dînaã cûrou\Le monde est vaste” in Dazaga and French (Niamey, 2009, "Édition expérimentale"). However, it is not clear whether this "experimental edition" was linked with any previous writing tradition in Dazaga. The question why Ajami sometimes remains marginal or experimental remains open for discussion and the same question may be asked when studying the Ajami manuscripts in the Mande linguistic area in Mali.


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