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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Bamana Commentary on Surat al-Waqi'a (Q. 56): A Linguistic and Stylistic Analysis
Author:Tamari, TalISNI
Periodical:Journal of Quranic studies = Magallat al-dirasat al-Quraniyya (ISSN 1465-3591)
Geographic term:Mali
oral literature
External link:https://doi.org/10.3366/jqs.2013.0116
Abstract:Among the Manding and other long-Islamised peoples of West Africa, advanced religious instruction is based on the oral translation of Arabic books into a local language; the Qur'an may, furthermore, be interpreted in a ceremonial setting in Rama?an. This article discusses some of the most important linguistic, stylistic and content features of West African oral tafsir as exemplified by a Bamana commentary collected near Segu, Mali, in 1998 (Bamana being one of the several closely related Manding languages). The Qur'anic text is parsed into meaningful segments as it is read aloud, each segment being immediately followed by its rendering in Bamana, and in some instances, also by ampler explanations in this language. Manding scholarly language is characterised both by specific syntactic structures and a specialised, technical vocabulary?-?constituted in part by Arabic loanwords and a set of key technical terms drawn from and shared by several African languages, but primarily of words created from Manding roots through compounding and/or derivation, or through attribution of specialised meanings to existing terms. The Bamana discourse transcribed and translated here is remarkable for its style, which draws on several of the rhetorical resources of this language, including culturally meaningful images, onomatopoeia and a high incidence of derived terms. Its substantive content is largely based on the Tafsir al-Jalalayn and its meta-commentary by A?mad al-?awi (d. 1825).