Jeffrey Heath (ed.): Texts in Koyra Chiini – Songhay of Timbuktu, Mali [PDF]


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Verbal Art and Documentary Texts in African Languages Volume 5

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XIII, 389 pp.
1 map

Text language: English

Koyra Chiini is a Songhay language spoken along the Niger River in northern Mali. This volume contains texts from the fabled city of Timbuktu (152 pp.), a nearby village (24 pp.), and the town Niafunké (94 pp.). It also includes 118 pages of texts in Djenné Chiini, a closely related variety spoken in the enclave city of Djenné. The transcriptions respect dialectal variations.

The originals and English translations are on facing pages, and there are extensive footnotes on grammatical and cultural matters. A few texts are monologues, but most are in dialogue form. Among the more interesting interviews are that of a Timbuktu donkey driver who gathers limestone for use in construction, and that of a Djenné goldsmith.

There is an unusual text about dwarfish djinns, and several narratives about travelers’ adventures. There are two legends, including one from Djenné that illustrates the sophisticated interaction of narrator and listener.

Under these links you will find publications by the volume editor and further descriptions and text collections of West African Songhay / Songrai varieties:

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