Friday, March 14, 2008

bilad shinqit

I regret that I have been negligent in posting the last month, but I have been away from internet access much of that time, and busy with humanitarian more of the time, and then losing my mind the rest of the time. But now I am going on holiday for a bit, and where would I go but... you guessed it : Mauritania! Having lived there for 2 years I really miss the place, and I can't wait to get back into a little Hassaniya... I have a soft spot in my heart for all the mixed up french/zenaga/wolof/arabic messiness, and most of all the occasionally poetry, known as givan (sing. - gaf) passed back and forth of glasses of sweet minty green tea. here are are a fewI still remember:

متنقلي ميات ذشهر
ومتنقلي بعد اوطاني
شوف نجمة واشهرعلامة موريتاني
mutanagli miat dha shhar
wa mutanagli ba'd watani
shouf nejma w'ashhar
'alamat muritani
Missing the end of the month
and missing yet my homeland
look, the star and half-moon
the standard of Mauritania
...and for your empty stomachs missing your favorite lunch:
اشبه القوت
مارو والحوت
بط من الماء
وسبما
ashbah al-qout
maro wal hout
batt min al-ma
wa soppema
The best of meals
is a fish and rice
a bottle of water
and cabbage
... and for the francophones out there, from the famous polyglot poet of chinguetti:
اراد عنك تو لفوا
والامحان بوركوا
انت لارن
وانا لاروا
arad 'annik,
tu le vois
w'al-amhan pourquoi
anti la reine,
w'ana le roi
I want you, you see
and the proof why is
you are the queen,
and I am the king

on the second one there are two Wolof words (from what I am told - my knowledge of Wolof is quite rudimentary) - "maro" is rice, and "soppema" is cabbage.
more givan to come in the next week hopefully!

3 comments:

Mica Sow said...

Is maaro really of Wolof origin? At least the common word for rice is ceeb, as in ceebu jën (= Pulaar maaro e liɗɗi). As for suppimaa, the folk etymologist in me suggests it's derived from French chou + Arabic بماء, as in "watery cabbage". Probably very far from the truth, but entertaining anyways...

khawaji said...

you are certainly right about maaro - I realized shortly after posting the gaf that it couldn`t be Wolof, but didn't get around to changing that... as for the folk etymology of suppimaa I am not sure what to think, though I was definitely told that word came specifically from Wolof, my knowledge of which is manifestly quite poor.

Anonymous said...

re: etymology of "maaro". it is in fact from South Arabian "maaru", meaning "irrigated grain" (source: Chaim Rabin, 'Ancient West-Arabian'). Another word often erroneously assumed to be 'African' or 'Berber' is Iggiu ('bard' or itinerant musician; plural: iggawen), which is actually from old Arabic 'Qawwan', "singers" (sing: Qawwi).
Nuri ould el-Shinqiti