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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The Revelation: The earliest known use of ʿajamī as a label

The interlinear glosses written in African languages of West Africa often have a descriptive metalinguistic marker, asserting the presence of an Ajami segment.

Our blog has the acronym A-LABEL: we deal a lot with the African languages between the lines. But why “label”? This is because the interlinear glosses written in African languages of West Africa often have a descriptive metalinguistic marker, asserting the presence of an Ajami segment. This marker is typically a graphic variation of the word ʿajamī (عجمي – the form written on our logo) or ʿajam. Another way of the metalinguistic labelling of the Ajami glosses found in the manuscripts is the Arabic phrase fī kalāminā ‘in our language’ (في كلامنا) and its variations (for the use of ʿajamī and fī kalāminā in Soninke and other Mande manuscripts see Ogorodnikova 2017: 122-125).[1]

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