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    Thread: Black Is...

    1. #1
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      Default Black Is...

      Black is....

      Songhoy Language Course Online
      A Research Demonstration Case Study
      Professor Hassimi Maiga, Ph.D.
      University of Mali
      Research Design
      Dr. Joyce King
      Medgar Evers college
      William Franklin
      California State University, Los Angeles
      Web Instructional Design and Production
      Dr. RaShon
      TekAfrika Digital Media

      Research Question: In what ways does re-immersion into African culture using web-based technology to study African language 1) Broaden the epistemological, ontological and axiological perspective of students 2) Motivate their learning experience 3) Re-orient their energies toward acceptance of diversity as tool for global problem solving
      Course Overview:

      This site consists of interactive language modules, video, photographs, and interactive quizzes.
      Instructional Design
      There are four modules consisting of four lessons each. Each lesson includes interactive language instruction and practice, a brief lecture on the history and culture of Songhoy, multimedia presentations, and a short quiz; there are one to three assignments that students are expected to on their own or in small groups; tasks that are provided to improve computer literarcy; and each student has their own personal online journal.
      This course will use the Web to teach alternative language skills; familarize students with the language, culture, and people of Songhoy; present the concept of "blackness" within a traditional African worldview; teach online research and literacy skills; contemporize students' perspectives on Africa and its people to increase students' global responsiveness.
      Reinforcement and Practice
      Interactive language practice with Professor Maiga. Conference calls and online chat with other participants.
      Assessment Methods Students will be assessed based on online participation; completed assignments; and contributions to the site using the Gao Museum Methodology.
      Notes on the Songhoy Language
      Where The Songhoy Language Is Spoken The "Songhay" or "Songhoy" language group is more correctly known today as Songhoy-Senni. It is taught in Malian schools. The ethnic group or ethnonyme is called Songhoy; and Songhoy-Senni is the name of the language or glotttonyme that is spoken in Mali in the regions (states) of Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu, Mopti, Koulikoro, Segou, and Bamako, the capital city of Mali. Gao, the capital city and cradle of the Songhay empire (1350-1600 AD), Timbuktu, and Djenné, in the Mopti region, were sites of the last great African universities of the classical period. Songhoy—Senni is spoken in Saudi Arabia (in Mecca and Medina) and Cairo, Egypt by businessmen and scholars in universities and mosques. These individuals, who are very highly regarded and well-respected, are carrying on the tradition of sharing and learning that was a hallmark of the ancient West African educational institutions where people from Europe and Africa came to study. Songhoy—Senni is predominately spoken in the Republics of Ghana (Kumasi and Tokoradi); Benin (Parakou and Kandi); Togo (Lom,); Niger (Niamey, Tilabeeri, Tera, Ayerou, and Gaya); and Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou, Dori and Bobo-Dioulasso).

      Some Socio-Linguistic Aspects
      Today, contrary to the old Western belief, it has been demonstrated that African languages on the continent of Africa are part of one great linguistic family composed of four sub-groups, according to Dr. Joseph L. Greenberg of Stanford University, or just two sub-families, according to Rekhety Wimby's research at the University of Chicago. It is interesting to note that the more scholarly study of African languages there has been, the fewer sub-groups or families have been identified. This is because, in fact, African linguistic unity is not just a theory put forth to affirm the validity of Africana studies, but it is deeply rooted in African genius, history, and culture. Cheick Anta Diop developed the concept of African linguistic unity, which he called, "Parenté Génétique," in Etude de Linguistique Ouolof: Origine de la Langue et déla Race Wolof. Other works in which Diop discusses this concept include: Nations Négres et Culture; L'Afrique Noire Précoloniale; and Anté riorité, des Civilizations Négres. Dr. Joseph H. Greenberg's classification of African languages into four main language families has been widely accepted until recently. This classification is as follows:

      1. The Afro-Asiatic family
      2. The Nilo-Saharan family
      3. The Niger-Congo family
      4. The Khoisan family.

      In Mali, twelve main languages have been identified that may be grouped into three categories using Greenberg's classification scheme. These three categories are:
      Malian Languages

      1. Mande group and Gru group from the Niger-Congo family
      2. Berbers and Semetics from the Afro-Asiatic family
      3. Songhoy-Zerma group from the Nilo-Saharan family.

      More recently, on the other hand, Rekhety Wimby has reclassified the languages of Africa into only two sub-families. Her work has been guided and inspired by the study of the African origin of civilization. That is to say, African classical history and cultureconsisted of its own linguistic foundation and pattern of unity. What follows are the two African language sub-families as described by Wimby.
      Sub-Family I: Egyptian (Old Niger Congo) The first sub-family is composed of seven distinct groups:

      1. West Atlantic group: Walaf, Serere-Sin, Fulani, Pajade, Bulom, etc.
      2. Mande group: Soninké, Malinké, Bambara, and Dan
      3. Gru group: Minanka, Lobi-Dogon, Puguli, and Mossi
      4. Kwa group: Kru, Logba, Ewe, Yoruba, Akan, Jupe,Ibo, Igala and Bini Benue-Congo group with four major divisions: Kambari, Dukawa, Jukun, Efri, Ukele, Tiv, and Bantu
      5. Adamawa-Eastern (Adamawa, Vere, Teme, Gbayaand Tagbo)
      6. Kordofanian (languages spoken in the Nuba hills of Kordofan) Sub-Family II: Kushitic (Old Semetic).

      Wimby included the Chad language family within Greenberg's “Semetic Branch” classification and suggests that the designation Kushitic is more appropriate for this branch of the African language family "in view of the African connection" (Wimby,1986, p. 158). As Wimby further observes: In fact four of Greenberg's proposed Hamito-Semitic Families are found on the continent of Africa, while only one, “Semitic”, is found in a small portion of the New East outside Africa. . . The name Kush comes from the Egyptian root K 3 S which etymologically means that which is spiritual, or ingenious. Kush was also the Egyptian designation for the Kingdom of the Central Sudan, south of Kemet (Wimby, 1986, p. 158). These Chad (or Kushitic) languages can be divided into nine distinct groups, as follows:

      1. Hausa and related languages: Gwandara, Ngizim, and Bede
      2. Kotoka group: Logone, Ngala and Shoe
      3. Bata group: Margi, Fali, and Sukur
      4. Hina group and Gauar
      5. Gidder group
      6. Mandara group
      7. Musgu group
      8. Bana group
      9. Somrai group (or Songhay ).

      The Concept of “Black” and “Blackness” in the Songhoy Language
      In the Songhoy language the concept of "black" (bibi) or "blackness" (borobibi or kuurubibi) identifies the color and refers to people of African descent as well. However, this concept is never used to designate anything negative. In fact, bibi and its extended meanings represent positive valuations in Songhoy—Senni, as the following examples illustrate:
      Ciini bibi maana ti kala kuurubibidaawoo
      Black Speech (Black Spiritual Power) is Black people¹s essence since the beginning of time.
      Ay noo hari bibi.
      Give me black water.
      Tiira ma faya kuuro kaž ra a ga kokor.
      The gris-gris should be made in the leather box that lasts for good.
      Saddiža labu si boori kala nda bibi.
      The soil in a garden is not good for planting unless it is black.
      Ma sii fatta wayne bibi woo ra.
      Do not go out into that black sun.
      1. In Gao, which is located on the Greenwich Meridian, the sun reaches its highest point at 12 o'clock noon. That is when the Sožay people say the sun is "black" or wayne bibi. This is the hottest time of day, and bibi refers to the fullest expression of the sun: to the brightest, most dazzling, and radiant time of the day. This "black sun" symbolizes luminosity, unlimited and total expression. It also indicates that it is noon in Gao.
      2. When crossing the Niger in a canoe, it is common for old people to ask for water to drink when the canoe reaches the deepest part of the river. At that point, where the water is most clear and clean, Sožay people will say, "Ay noo hari bibi." (Give me black water). Here, hari bibi means plain, pure, potable water--in contrast to the dirty, muddy water near the river bank where children play. The deepest part of the river offers the purest, most refreshing water any one could ask for.
      3. "Saddiža labu si boori kala nda bibi." The soil in a garden is not good for planting unless it is black.
      From these examples in the Sožay language, we can observe and conclude that black (bibi) symbolizes the:
      a) beauty and totality (i.e., the fullest expression of the sun);
      b) purity and reliability (i.e., fresh, clear water);
      c) fertility and productivity (i.e., the richest soil; and
      d) quality and durability (i.e., lasting color).
      That "black" or "blackness" has represented such positive meanings in African societies (e.g., Kemet--the Black Land--and Sudan) has been a fact of African civilization since ancient times. Before the Republic of Mali became independent in 1960, this part of West Africa was called the French Sudan in contrast to the British Sudan of Khartoum, south of Egypt or Kemet. Sudan means "black" in Arabic. This fact is consistent with the historical migration pattern of African peoples. African population groups moved from East to West to Central Africa, following the rivers that flowed through the area that is now the Sahara desert, just as earlier generations had followed the Nile. That is why all original civilizations have been river civilizations.
      It is also known throughout history that people tend to preserve some remembrance of the places from which they came in the names they give to the new places where they settle. While Sudan identifies the ancient people in Africa, New York is reminiscent of York in Great Britain, and New Mexico recalls "old" Mexico. Likewise, New Orleans in Louisiana is a reminder of Orleans in France.
      Excerpt from: H. Maiga, Conversational Songhoy Language of Mali (West Africa). New Orleans: Muhrem Books, 1996.

      Thursday, March 30, 2000 10:02 AM
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      Last edited by Obadele Kambon; 08-28-2012 at 08:11 PM.
      "Isn't it sad how some people's grip on their lives is so precarious that they'll embrace any preposterous delusion rather than face an occasional bleak truth?"

    2. #2
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      Default Re: Black Is...



      Here are the translations as follows:

      I. To be African: borobibitaray
      Boro: a person; bibi: black; taray: the process.
      So borobibitaray means: the process of being African; that is to be African...Related proverb: Borobibitaray ga cendi, woo se a ga boori. (To be African is difficult, that's why it is an excellent thing as well.)

      II. Sacred speech/ divine speech: ciini bibi (ciini: the word, bibi: black). So, ciini bibi means the black word, the first word that was used, then, to unlock closed doors (whether material doors or spirituals doors).... Related proverb: Ciini bibi ti Songhoytaray (the process of being Songhoy)
      alasal senno. It means: the black word is the original Songhoy sacred Language.

      III. Good speech: Senni henna; ciini-senni: speech, language ; henna : nice, but deep.... Related proverb: Senni henna ga takuba willi foola ra.

      Senni henna: good speech
      ga: Can; Takuba: sword willi; return; foola ra: in its sheath.
      So: good speech (or deep speech) can put the sword back into its sheath.

      I hope these words will be helpful.
      Waato ma boori!
      Hassimi Maiga
      Last edited by Obadele Kambon; 03-01-2015 at 05:06 AM.

    3. #3
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      Default Re: Black Is...

      Once upon a time, Hyena went to see the village shoemaker to ask him to
      make a leather box for her gris-gris (amulet).
      However, Hyena was very concerned about what color the shoemaker would use to finish the job. So she asked the shoemaker:
      "Which color do you think I need, because I want the brightest color but also, I
      don't want a color that fades?"
      Without waiting for the shoemaker's answer, Hyena started choosing colors for
      "What about red?" she asked excitedly.
      "Later on," replied the shoemaker, "it will turn dark".
      Then, Hyena asked,"Well, what about green?"
      "It will change, too," the shoemaker responded.
      "Then what about white?" asked Hyena.
      "If it gets wet-and you know how you always like to run through water,
      especially when someone is chasing you-it will be worse. The leather will get
      dirty and stained with dark spots," the shoemaker explained.
      "Well, yellow is very bright. What about yellow?" Hyena insisted.
      "In the long run," the shoemaker told Hyena, "all these colors will just turn
      Upon hearing this, Hyena, who had become rather exasperated, sniffed. "Well, why didn't you just tell me I needed to choose Black in the first place?"
      The shoemaker said,
      I couldn't tell you anything because you started out being too choosy and so concerned about colors. That's why I did not have a chance to tell you that Black (bibi) is the only everlasting color."
      So, in the end. Hyena chose Black for her gris-gris box.
      "Aha,"sighed the shoemaker. "At last, this is a wise choice."

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      Default Re: Black Is...

      Black Is!
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