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Chimi:ni in Arabic script: Examples from Brava poetry

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Chapter Summary

This chapter illustrates how the people of Brava, a coastal town in southern Somalia, have adapted the Arabic script to record their rich poetic heritage composed in the local vernacular, Chimi:ni. The town that the outside world knows as Brava is called by the local inhabitants Mi:ni or Mwi:ni, whence the name of their language, Chimi:ni or Chimwi:ni. In comparing Arabic writing with Chimi:ni pronunciation the following points should be noted in particular: The actual pronunciation of Arabic loanwords depends on the individual speaker's knowledge of Arabic; Arabic ع is reduced in Chimi:ni to a glottal stop and is often not pronounced at all at the beginning of a word; The pronunciation of Arabic loanwords has undergone different modifications in Swahili and Chimi:ni; the Chimi:ni 'prosodic phrase formation', are not reproduced in Chimi:ni texts written in Ajami script; the sṯe:nzi are recited or 'sung' according to a certain musical rhythm.

Keywords: Ajami script; Arabic language; Arabic script; Brava poetry; Chimi:ni texts; southern Somalia



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