Identifying languages of Ajami commentaries

Identifying an African language written in Arabic script may be problematic even for speakers of the language. It is especially challenging when the Ajami items are represented by isolated words in the margins of an Arabic manuscript. Moreover, if the Ajami item is not visually linked to the intended Arabic phrase or word, it is almost impossible to tell what the Ajami item means and in which language it is written.

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Notes from the “Manuscripts and Development” Conference in Bamako

From November 16-17, 2018, myself and Dr. Maria Luisa Russo had the pleasure of attending and presenting at a conference on “Manuscripts and Development” put on by the Arabic Department of the University of Bamako.

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New Technical Notes for Using Tropy to Analyze Manuscripts (en français)

We just released two working technical notes (in French) to help researchers get set up to use Tropy to analyze Ajami annotations/segments in West African manuscripts:

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Welcome to A-label!

This blog is a companion to the research of the Ajami Lab within the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures at the Universität Hamburg. Focused on historical and modern instances of Ajami—that is, sub-Saharan African languages written in Arabic script—we aim here to share updates, anecdotes, and conceptual and methodological tools as we work to catalogue and analyse African Islamic manuscripts. In doing so, the blog will serve both other scholars of Ajami as well as a wider audience of scholars interested in the insights that can be gleaned from these understudied documents and literacy practices.