Occasional Ajami (Type 4)

The sporadic translation of some Arabic words in a text’s margins

This is the fifth post in a series on types of Ajami. Read the initial introduction here and find all of the posts here.

Type 4 refers to the occasional and random translation of some Arabic words in the margins of the main text. Such “Occasional Ajami” is found in manuscripts that usually reflect a more advanced level of Islamic education; when Arabic is the sole scholarly language and there is no need to use local languages as props as in intermediate phases of learning.

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Systematic Interlinear Ajami Glosses (Type 3)

Ajami phrases written above or below corresponding Arabic phrases in the space between the lines.

This is the fourth post in a series on types of Ajami. Read the initial introduction here and find all of the posts here.

In “interlinear” Ajami manuscripts, annotations in Ajami are systematically applied to the source Arabic text in order to explicate its grammatical structures and render accurate translations.1

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  1. Here I use the notion of annotations as a cover term for “glosses” and “commentaries”. The distinction between the two in the context of West African Islamic manuscripts is discussed in Bondarev 2017: 121. []

Intralinear Ajami (Type 2)

Manuscripts where Ajami phrases follow Arabic phrases on the same line.

This is the third post in a series on types of Ajami. Read the initial introduction here and find all of the posts here.

“Intralinear Ajami”, in the strictest sense, refers to African language phrases following Arabic ones written on the same line. Similarly to Type 1 (which I reviewed in my previous post), such Ajami, which I call Type 2, is written in a continuous act of writing.

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Ajami primary manuscripts (Type 1)

Ajami documents that are exclusively or predominantly in an African language.

This is the second post in a series on types of Ajami. Read the initial introduction here and find all of the posts here.

“Ajami primary” refers to manuscripts that are predominantly or exclusively written in an African language. They are the best studied and until 2010s they were the only focus of Ajami research.

Single Ajami texts can roughly be subdivided into three subtypes: poetry, history and correspondence.

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Types of African Ajami

Welcome to a series of posts, exploring types of African Ajami manuscripts

This is the first post in a mini-series on types of Ajami manuscripts. See all the posts here.

What forms do “Ajami manuscripts” actually take?

This post, the first of a mini-series, seeks to answer this question by giving a general description of Ajami types along with some hints as to how they change across time. Subsequent posts will be more in-depth looks at each individual type with specific examples and discussions of their relevance for research.

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