Soninke Ajami Manuscripts

An interview with Darya Ogorodnikova about West African manuscripts written in Arabic Script

Editor’s Note: One of the most promising, but understudied traditions of African manuscripts that include sub-Saharan African languages written in Arabic script is that of Soninke. To learn more about this, I recently addressed a number of questions to Darya Ogorodnikova who has been researching Soninke Ajami manuscripts as an Ajami Lab member since 2013. She will defend her PhD at the University of Hamburg in 2020. – CD


What are Soninke Ajami manuscripts?

By Ajami manuscripts, I mean manuscripts containing Ajami elements; that is, words and phrases in local West African languages written in Arabic script. Such writing may make up an entire text. Soninke Ajami elements in manuscripts, however, are mainly represented by annotations, written between the lines or in the margins. They typically serve to explain the phrases of primarily Arabic language texts.

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How to Analyse Soninke Ajami Manuscripts

A workflow for the analysis of Soninke Ajami manuscripts using the open-source software Tropy

This post lays out the software and workflow solutions that I use for analysing Soninke Ajami manuscripts. Together, they may be helpful for other researchers working on digitized manuscripts, especially Ajami manuscripts.

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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. []

Updated abstracts and presentations from Ajami Lab Workshop, 31 Oct-1 Nov, 2018

Presentations and slides from the Ajami Lab’s Nov 2018 workshop

While preparing some new material on types of Ajami manuscripts and specific approaches to study them (based on this talk),  I post here an updated programme of the last year’s workshop. A big thank you to all participants and presenters! Here are the links to slide presentations (following the order of the talks in the programme):

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