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Ajami script. Posted by Kenndo

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  Quote kenndo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ajami script. Posted by Kenndo
    Posted: 31-May-2010 at 14:56
there were west african kingsoms that became important in ancient times,but not has much has they were later. in the middle ages west african did had the sail,depending on the kingdom.
second the mande script goes back further then you think.


here is new info. the mande script goes back to over 1000 years.there were few of them.one was wriitten in mandink the one came later.

anyway here is the recent info.




















Subject: the lost script

























The lost script
By Kenneth J. Cooper
January 10, 2010


It’s a writing system called Ajami, it’s a thousand years old, and a Boston University professor thinks it could help unlock the story of a continent


One day while he was living near Seattle, the Senegal-born linguistics professor Fallou Ngom forgot to close a window before a rainstorm passed through, and the next morning discovered the wind had blown some of his papers to the floor. On one of them, a sheet several years old, his late father had recorded a debt.


Ngom’s father was considered illiterate because he couldn’t read and write in the country’s official language, French. But like many Senegalese had for centuries, he wrote daily information in his native tongue using a modified form of Arabic script known as Ajami. Ngom was struck by the irony: Here was his “illiterate” father communicating with him years after his death, in writing.


Ngom realized that this was more than just a touching personal moment. It also represented an immense opportunity. Ajami script had been widely used across Africa for day-to-day writing in a dozen languages, and Ngom knew those writings had been largely overlooked in the official story of the continent - in part because so few historians could read them. How many other documents like this existed across the continent? How many had simply been missed, or ignored?


Within a year, Ngom shifted his research from French linguistics, his specialty at Western Washington University, to the handwritten script of his father. Today Ngom is director of the African Languages Program at Boston University, and is training the first generation of American scholars capable of reading Ajami.


What Ngom hopes is nothing less than to lay the groundwork for a reinterpretation of much of African history, using this widespread but little understood writing system to unearth new information about the daily life of Africans, the spread of Islam, the continent’s literary traditions, the Atlantic slave trade, and who knows what else.


Could one writing system have that much influence? Not all scholars of Africa agree that the impact of Ajami


studies will be so continental. Some say that since the script was used primarily to record everyday, local concerns such as business deals and cultural practices, it is unlikely to be the source of significant new revelations.

But for Ngom, what little is known about Ajami texts is reason enough to push deeper. To study Ajami, as he sees it, is to open the door to a different side of Africa, unlocking an oral tradition widely assumed to have vanished with its speakers, and offering an important corrective to the way Africa’s story has been told.


“What Ajami tells us about Africa is yet to be known,” Ngom says.

The study of Africa’s history, particularly the region below the Sahara Desert, has traditionally reflected not only the biases of its historians, but also the limits of the written sources available to them. Official African documents tend to be in the languages of the outsiders who held power - either the Arab invaders who began arriving on the continent in the seventh century, or the Europeans who colonized it starting about a millennium later. These outsiders were there to convert the locals, trade them as slaves, and mine their natural resources, and colonial writings helped justify those commercial and religious interests, portraying sub-Sahara Africa as lacking literacy, history, and civilization.Continued...

The African-American assertion of black pride in the 1960s brought new attention to African achievements in art, technology, and governance, with student protests forcing some revision of college history curriculums. But the assumptions behind the principal sources of African history have continued to shape scholarship, as well as broader perceptions of the continent. The documents preserved in African archives, for the most part, are still the ones written by its colonizers.

But they aren’t the only writings that were produced in Africa. Starting at least in the 10th century, African holy men who had converted to Islam and learned Arabic began to modify Arabic writing to enable them to spread the religion more easily. The resulting Ajami script - the name comes from the Arabic word for stranger - helped make Islam accessible to shepherds and other commoners who could not understand Arabic. In Koranic schools that espoused Africanized versions of the religion, Ajami displaced Arabic, to the displeasure of traditionalists.

The script became widespread across the continent’s north-central waist, the so-called Sudanic belt, and was adapted for uses far outside Islamic education. Traders would record business transactions in Ajami, while other people would write secular poems or compile medical encyclopedias of indigenous treatments. It was used to write about a dozen languages, including the Wolof spoken by Ngom’s father, in what today are nearly 20 countries. Though most of its uses were unofficial, some sultans corresponded with provincial administrators in the script, Ngom says, meaning that government records may exist in Ajami. By now, it has been used continuously for more than 1,000 years.

But officially speaking, it has also been widely ignored. Uncounted Ajami manuscripts squirreled away across the continent have gone untranslated, even unseen, by scholars. Even in African countries where it is still used, the script lacks government recognition. In French colonial archives from Africa, Ngom says, Ajami documents remain classified as “unreadable Arabic” - based on the mistaken notion that writing in African languages simply did not exist. Some of this misclassification may have even been intentional.

“One of the reasons the documents have not been available has to do with colonial politics and the suspicion in which these documents were held, because the colonizers couldn’t read them,” says Jennifer Yanco, US director of the West African Research Association, based at BU. “During the colonial era, a lot of people hid their libraries.”

So the documents were buried, Yanco says, or concealed in false adobe walls. She says African scholars have discovered many, and recognized them as Ajami, in Nigeria, Ghana, and Mali. Many are religious, she says, but not all: Some of the documents are lineages, travelogues, and records of events.

Ngom says he knows of no African universities that teach Ajami to students. “It’s just a colonial tradition. There are only a few countries where African languages are taught,” he says; and when they are taught, it is done in Latin script. John Hutchinson, Ngom’s predecessor as director of the African Languages Program, cites just one other university anywhere with an Ajami program: the School of Oriental and African Studies, part of the University of London, which teaches Hausa Ajami.

Still, Ajami is starting to make headway in some corners of academia. Some African scholars who, like Ngom, learned Ajami on their own, have been translating and publishing Ajami texts, according to Yanco and Bruce S. Hall, a history professor at Duke University who focuses on Mali. Those Africans outnumber the handful of professors at American universities doing similar work. For the last five years, Ngom has been plodding away at his research on Ajami literature in Senegal.

The BU program, several specialists say, offers more instruction in Ajami than any other traditional institution of higher education. Under his leadership since 2008, the African Languages Program has been a pioneer in offering instruction in both Ajami and Latin scripts. This year, about 30 BU students are learning Wolof, Hausa, or Pular. Most are graduate students in other departments - such as anthropology, history, or health - who will undergo five years of language training, supported primarily by grants from the US Department of Education. In the future, the program plans to teach Swahili and Amharic, the language of Ethiopia, in Ajami.


What nobody knows yet is what kind of information might be out there. Ngom’s hopes are high. He says he has already found an information-rich genealogy written in Ajami that goes back to the 12th century, and that other Ajami texts include Islamic edicts, business records, eulogies, letters from rulers, legal documents, and poems. From more recent times, he says, “You also have political satires, criticisms of colonial governments and traditional leaders.” Content of that last sort drove Ajami underground.

“I haven’t read one-tenth of one-thousandth of what’s out there,” Ngom says. “We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s exciting.”


Others are less optimistic about Ajami’s potential to change the study of the continent. “Ajami may well have been set aside for the mundane tasks of life,” says James McCann, a BU historian who specializes in Ethiopia. He says the writings probably focus on “the texture and movement and rhythms of local life,” such as marriages, debts, business transactions, and social issues.

Hall of Duke University says the Ajami documents are vastly outnumbered by standard Arabic texts authored in Africa by Africans which are, with philanthropic help, slowly being cataloged, preserved, and translated in Timbuktu. The many thousands of ancient documents found in the onetime center of higher learning in Mali include some in Ajami.

“How much is there to learn about history, per se? I don’t know,” Hall says. “I don’t think they’re going to provide chronicles of events. I don’t think they’re going to provide diaries of particular individuals, or military or political histories.”


But Hall suggests that Ajami texts can at least reveal much about the script’s original purpose - to spread Islam. “There’s a lot there to learn, I think,” he says. “We don’t have a great sense of how these ideas were diffused and how Islam spread among nonelites.”


Ngom, who is Muslim, argues that the script was far more than a tool of religious conversion, also providing a important way for Africans to record their culture and the details of their lives safely out of view of Arab Muslims and European colonists. “The average village Joe” writing in Ajami, he says, would have felt free to cover topics left out of African texts in standard Arabic because they were blasphemous under traditional Islam, such as indigenous use of amulets to ward off dangerous spirits. “Ajami does contain things from Arabic literature, but the reverse is not true,” he says.

In talking about Ajami’s potential to change our picture of Africa, Ngom makes a comparison to how the Western estimation of Arab society, at first considered backward and barbarous, went up once the outsiders learned to read Arabic and could grasp the Arab contributions to mathematics, science, geography, and literature.


Language can loom large in the interpretation of history of a place and a people, even as it can carry personal messages, like alerting a son to paying his late father’s debt. One by one, Ngom says, those kinds of communications accumulate into a larger story, and perhaps one never before heard.


“From Senegal to Tanzania, if you want to know how people think, how people heal, how they farm - their way of life,” he says, “you have to read their own literature.”

Kenneth J. Cooper, a former national editor of The Boston Globe, is a freelance journalist.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
_________________________________________

Ajami script


The term Ajami (Arabic: عجمي‎), or Ajamiyya (Arabic: عجمية‎), which comes from the Arabic root for "foreign" or "stranger," has been applied to Arabic-based orthographies  used for writing African languages or Old Yorba.


Since African languages involve phonetic sounds and systems different from the Arabic language, there have often been modifications of the Arabic script to transcribe them -- a process not unlike what has been done with the Arabic script in non-Arabic speaking countries of the Middle East, and with the Latin alphabet in Africa or with the Vietnamese alphabet.


The West African Hausa is an example of a language written using Ajami, especially during the pre-colonial period when Qur'anic schools taught Muslim children Arabic, and by extension, Ajami. When Western colonizers adopted a Latin orthography for Hausa, Ajami went into decline, and today is employed less frequently than the Latin standard orthography. However, Hausa Ajami is still in widespread use, especially in Islamic circles.









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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2010 at 20:24
Can one say "fable?"

But, perhaps, and hopefully, I am incorrect?
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2010 at 14:36

Why do you suspect that it is a fable?

Persians, Pakistanis, Turks, Azeris and many other central asians have all used or use variations of Arabic script modifed to their own languages.  Why not Africans?

As a side note, Bosnian converts to Islam also experimented with a modifed Arabic script, but the script never entered into wide spread use. 
 


Edited by Cryptic - 14-Jun-2010 at 14:54
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2010 at 15:17
So, just why was Arabic at one time used all over Russia?

Why did the Ismamics attack Contantinople from Adrianople?

Adrain(ople) merely means the New City of Adrian! Or do you have a better answer? Constaintin(ople), merely means the New City of the Constant, etc.! Ie, Neopolis, is the same as "nople!", or "New People", etc.?

Of course, according to some of my sources Adrian is but a variation of Arian, etc.! Could this really be the real "Arian" conspiracy?

You might well note that I did out of hand dismiss it! Rather, I said that I wished it was true!

And, just what is the meaning of a "constant?"

Edited by opuslola - 14-Jun-2010 at 15:28
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  Quote kenndo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2010 at 08:50
the ajami script is true.while there were other scripts in africa.this became the most widespread script for african languages.

anyone could  type in google the ajami script and see for themselves.you  could type in google african scripts and see and read about what scripts africa has now and in the past.it's easy.
just do the work,or pick up  book.

anyway

quote from above-

But they aren’t the only writings that were produced in Africa. Starting at least in the 10th century, African holy men who had converted to Islam and learned Arabic began to modify Arabic writing to enable them to spread the religion more easily. The resulting Ajami script - the name comes from the Arabic word for stranger - helped make Islam accessible to shepherds and other commoners who could not understand Arabic. In Koranic schools that espoused Africanized versions of the religion, Ajami displaced Arabic, to the displeasure of traditionalists.

The script became widespread across the continent’s north-central waist, the so-called Sudanic belt, and was adapted for uses far outside Islamic education. Traders would record business transactions in Ajami, while other people would write secular poems or compile medical encyclopedias of indigenous treatments. It was used to write about a dozen languages, including the Wolof spoken by Ngom’s father, in what today are nearly 20 countries. Though most of its uses were unofficial, some sultans corresponded with provincial administrators in the script, Ngom says, meaning that government records may exist in Ajami. By now, it has been used continuously for more than 1,000 years.

But officially speaking, it has also been widely ignored. Uncounted Ajami manuscripts squirreled away across the continent have gone untranslated, even unseen, by scholars. Even in African countries where it is still used, the script lacks government recognition. In French colonial archives from Africa, Ngom says, Ajami documents remain classified as “unreadable Arabic” - based on the mistaken notion that writing in African languages simply did not exist. Some of this misclassification may have even been intentional.



Edited by kenndo - 20-Jul-2010 at 08:58
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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2010 at 09:50
Half of the Church based Libraries [Monostaries etc.] in Europe seemingly, have texts written in Ajami.  Most have been ignored for centuries.  The Ethiopian Christian church has repositories all over the country that may contain some of the oldest writings in the world.  Many in Ajami.
 
 
In French colonial archives from Africa, Ngom says, Ajami documents remain classified as “unreadable Arabic” - based on the mistaken notion that writing in African languages simply did not exist. Some of this misclassification may have even been intentional.

May have been?  The idea that no African culture had a writing system came from the Racist Europeans who had to rationalize their colonial presence in another country.  Racism, unfortunately, is still with us.   As is demonstrated by some of the older posts in this thread.
 
 


Edited by red clay - 20-Jul-2010 at 09:51
"Arguing with someone who hates you or your ideas, is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter what move you make, your opponent will walk all over the board and scramble the pieces".
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2010 at 10:42
I do believe I have been convinced that Ajami, certainly needs to receive some scholarly research! But, alas, I also feel that most all documents of any historical value, might well be dust by now?

As in many other things, some are only missed when no one can find any of them!

Perhaps such repositories do exist, here and there?

I certainly hope so!

As redclay wrote;

"Half of the Church based Libraries [Monostaries etc.] in Europe seemingly, have texts written in Ajami. Most have been ignored for centuries."

I may well state right now, that I have never heard of such, but since red has seen things in his travels that most learned historians have never even heard of, then I shall have to take his words as "fact!"

(So many questions, so few answers!)

Edited by opuslola - 20-Jul-2010 at 10:45
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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2010 at 12:30
Originally posted by opuslola

I do believe I have been convinced that Ajami, certainly needs to receive some scholarly research! But, alas, I also feel that most all documents of any historical value, might well be dust by now?

As in many other things, some are only missed when no one can find any of them!

Perhaps such repositories do exist, here and there?

I certainly hope so!

As redclay wrote;

"Half of the Church based Libraries [Monostaries etc.] in Europe seemingly, have texts written in Ajami. Most have been ignored for centuries."

I may well state right now, that I have never heard of such, but since red has seen things in his travels that most learned historians have never even heard of, then I shall have to take his words as "fact!"

(So many questions, so few answers!)
 
 
I have seen only a few.  I'm not versed in any of the scripts from that area so I was unable to translate.  The examples I viewed were in surprisingly good condition, very readable, a little time darkened as they were on animal skin, but in decent shape overall. 
 
Compared with what's in Ethiopia, Europe is just a small sampling.  I have not been fortunate enough to be able to travel there.Cry Opuslola doesn't have to take my word for that one either.
But the collections in Ethiopia are the ones that I consider to be most endangered.  The history channel had one of the Hunt for the Grail shows on recently.  They showed monks on an Island somewhere in Ethiopia who had parchments dating as far back as 2nd mille. BCE.  They were handling them with their bare hands and passing them around like it was yesterdays NY Times.  Some of them were so badly darkened they would have to be read with special equipment.
These Documents were kept in a cave under a church.  The Narrator described the number he had seen as being "Unimaginable." There are apparently a mix of Ajami, Arabic, Aramaic, hebrew, and early Coptic documents kept there.
 
 
"Arguing with someone who hates you or your ideas, is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter what move you make, your opponent will walk all over the board and scramble the pieces".
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2010 at 17:35
So, as it seems red clay readily agrees that any attmpt to save these documents is time essential!

More and more become less and less accesible every day!
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  Quote Mosquito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2010 at 17:38
Originally posted by opuslola

 
 
Ie, Neopolis, is the same as "nople!", or "New People", etc.?
 
 
 
Polis is in ancient greek a city-state, not people.
"I am a pure-blooded Polish nobleman, without a single drop of bad blood, certainly not German blood" - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2010 at 18:03
Yes, of course it is! Sorry, I meant to write "New City!"

My hands and brain do not work together anymore!
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