Author Archives: clriley

የእኔ የታክሲ ሾፌር ኢትዮጵያ ከ ነበር.

እኔ ደግሞ ከዚህ ጠዋት ከኢትዮጵያ ቡና ጽዋ ነበረው.  እኔ ቀስ የአማርኛ ቋንቋ የበለጠ በመማር ነኝ.  እኔ መዝግቦ ለማሻሻል እፈልጋለሁ.  ይህን ለመረዳት አስቸጋሪ ነው.  እኔ ጥረት ይበልጥ ውጤታማ እንዲሆን አደርጋለሁ.

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The UDHR in the Adlam script of the Fula people

We now have a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights typed in the newly invented Adlam script of the Fula people; this was generously produced and provided by Boubacar Diallo of Grand Dakar, Senegal:  UDHR Adlam Pulaar.  Enjoy!

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The UDHR in the invented Shü-mom language, in the A-ka-u-ku script of the Bamum people

Thanks to the effort of Kapu Njikam Abdel Ramadan, in work sponsored by Athinkra, LLC, we now have a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights translated into the Shü-mom language of the Bamum people of Cameroon, using its indigenous script known as “A-ka-u-ku”.  This translation has yet to be typed in, but will soon join the other 502 translations that exist.  We are happy to post it here.1234567891011121314

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ALC at Northwestern

It was a pleasure to attend the Africana Librarians Council meeting in Evanston last week, hosted by the Herskovits Library at Northwestern University. Pippa Skotnes was a featured speaker; some of her unique work can be seen here: http://www.cca.uct.ac.za/people/pippa-skotnes/. Souleymane Bachir Diagne also gave a lecture after the conference that some of us were able to attend. We were treated to a tour of the Center for Research Libraries and discussed microfilming newspapers from Malawi and Ethiopia.  Dinner on Thursday night was hosted by Shoshanah Seidman.  It was nice to see the John Hunwick collection getting processed at the Herskovits. All around, a thought-provoking experience, culminating with a dinner at the Ethiopian Diamond II in Rogers Park.  Thanks to our colleagues Esmeralda Kale, David Easterbrook, Marcia Tiede, Gene Kannenberg, Jr., Shoshanah, Paul Burley, Shelley Morrison, Florence Mugambi, Judy Eckoff Alspach, Bethany Bates, and James Simon for hosting.

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“The Odyssey of Ajami…”

Yale Library was host to a talk by Dr. Fallou Ngom of Boston University last Thursday.  The talk was well-attended, and co-sponsored by the Standing Committee on Professional Awareness, the Yale African Students Association, and the Yale Muslim Students Association.  Dr. Ngom touched on many aspects of the use of Ajami, or modified Arabic script, as it relates to African languages as diverse as Afrikaans, Malagasy, Hausa, and Wolof.  He covered material found in his book, published by Oxford University Press, “Muslims Beyond the Arab World”.

There were three manuscripts of particular interest that he brought up; one in Wolof and two written in Mandinka.  The Wolof poem is from a period between 1912 and 1927, by Mbaye Diakhaté, entitled “In the Name of Your Quills and Ink”, found in the British Library’s Endangered Archives collection 334.  Dr. Ngom played an audio recording of the poem and provided a full transcription.  One of the Mandinka manuscripts dates to the 1940’s and is a curse against Hitler, rendered as “Ikleer”–something like “إکلںڔ”, although my rendering of this here is only a rough attempt.  The actual image from the text is:  ikleer

Another Mandinka manuscript turned up on a search of the Harvard catalog; it’s not covered in Dr. Ngom’s book but it is apparently an incantation that dates to 1789.

Many interesting questions were posed afterward, including one about the need for a romanization table to process these texts, and one about the prevalence of Koranic schools relative to public schools teaching in French in regions of Senegal and Mali.

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Further documentation on the Loma language and script

Balla Koevogui, an intrepid taxicab driver and former elementary school teacher who lives in West Haven, returned to his home country of Guinea earlier this year for a visit and picked up some documents relating to the Loma language and script.  I am posting them here for the convenience of fellow researchers.

Loma Script Narrative

Carte-de-Macenta

Loma Text with video of its reading here.

Guinean-Alphabet-Part-1

Guinean-Alphabet-Part-2

Loma-Koloe-Part-1

Loma-Koloe-Part-2

Loma-Koloe-Part-3

Loma-Koloe-Part-4

Update #1:  While one of the 1940’s-era Loma texts has been transcribed and partially translated (“Loma Text”, above), two more have surfaced from the same source that are as yet untranscribed and untranslated.  I am posting them here in case anyone wants to start deciphering them.

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New England Code4Lib presentation

I recently gave a lightning talk at Hampshire College during the New England Code4Lib meeting on the progress of Unicode implementation in the Yale library catalog, with reference to African scripts.  Here are the slides from that presentation:  unicode-implementation-in-the-yale-catalog.  Enjoy!  I’ll be happy to provide more details and documentation on request.

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Dictionary in Baga Tshi-Tem

Courtesy of Frederick John Lamp, curator emeritus of the African art collection at the Yale Art Gallery, a Baga Tshi-Tem (Sitem) Dictionary is now available online for study.  It runs to about three thousand words, containing entries for a few other Baga languages as well.  It is the result of several years of research in Guinea by Fred.  The group that he worked with also turned up evidence of another Baga language that was not known to researchers before, Tshol.  A much shorter wordlist of about 100 words and phrases has been drafted for that language.  The numbers have yet to be added in.  Pending permission clearance with David Conrad, I will upload it here as well in an update to this post.

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Mende notebooks of Bokari Kanneh, ca. 1950

Some notebooks have recently been transferred, within Yale, from the Art Gallery to the special collections of Sterling Memorial Library’s Manuscripts and Archives.  A snippet of the kind of content contained in the notebooks can be found here.  These were donated by Dr. Konrad Tuchscherer of St. John’s University.

In principle, the text should be fairly straightforward to transcribe, following the Unicode code chart here for the Kikakui script of the Mende language.  But there is enough variance between the manuscript and the encoding that it will take some extra efforts to ensure that an accurate transcription can be made.  Please leave a comment if you have any competence in Mende or familiarity with the Kikakui script; I’d love to hear from you!

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A Vai manuscript from 1913

In 2005, Dr. Mohamed B. Nyei and Dr. John Singler brought to my attention a manuscript of 180 pages that had been borrowed in Liberia from the family of its author, Boima Kiakpomgbo. With Mohamed’s permission, I digitized the manuscript that year using a large-format scanner. Since last year, Tombekai Sherman has been working to transcribe and translate the manuscript. I am posting here files from the work in progress, as Mohamed prepares to return to Liberia later this year.

vaims19132

MSVai1913_1_1 MSVai1913_1_2 MSVai1913_1_3 MSVai1913_1_4

MSVai1913_1_5 MSVai1913_1_6 MSVai1913_1_7 MSVai1913_1_8

MSVai1913_2_1 MSVai1913_2_2 MSVai1913_2_3 MSVai1913_2_4

MSVai1913_2_5

MSVai1913_3_1 MSVai1913_3_2 MSVai1913_3_3

MSVai1913_4_1 MSVai1913_4_2

MSVai1913_5_1 MSVai1913_5_2

MSVai1913_6_1 MSVai1913_6_2 MSVai1913_6_3 MSVai1913_6_4

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