Sunday, August 15, 2010

Unlimited Somali Ideophones Revealed

Map of Somali language distributionImage via Wikipedia

In this fast moving 21st Century of information superhighway, you should feel obliged to expose yourself to the rest of the world so that your presence in words and deeds can be felt by others.

Long time ago, it was the Europeans who studied our languages and cultures and then published them in their lands while making hefty profits from these publications for the future of their grandchildren. Today, it is quite different as the computer enables anyone with the will to write to do so without much stress as information about the whole world has been fed into search engines and libraries for quick retrievals. That means, anyone who is computer literate can write exhaustively in almost any language and yet reap the same hefty profits or more than the Europeans made in their heydays.

Watch out what I'm about to reveal. It is nothing new to you since these are words in our wonderful Somali language that revolve around in our daily conversations. But first let's have a glimpse of where in the world the Somali language is mostly spoken.

The Somali language, spoken by over 15 million worldwide, is popular in Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Ethiopia; it is also spoken by immigrant Somali communities living in North America, the EU, and the Middle East, and quite a number living in some African countries and other parts of the world. It was first written in Latin in 1972 during the reign of Mohamed Siyad Barre (deposed and deceased).

Language is the method people communicate with each other using gestures, sounds, disarticulation, and good organization while phonology is the study of sounds and sound structures in a language and incorporates phonetics and phonemics. Differences abound in dialect or accent among speakers of the Somali language depending on where one lives.

Dialect means a language composition spoken among people of different social and regional defining features due to sexual characteristics, ethnic group, and background. The intermingling of the Somali with other societies has brought about changes in accent, dialectical composition, sounds, and pronunciations. So far, many dictionaries have been printed in Somali that circulate in many parts of the world, though; further work and additions may be needed to accommodate all speakers.

Consequently, many polyglots attest to the strangeness of the Somali language and its abundance in ideophones used instead of words. These sounds describe peculiar actions as they happen and may also be found in Bantoid, Hamitic, Cushitic or Omotic, and other Nilotic langauages.

Sounds or ideophones are few in the English language with the exception of a few you may have heard many times like: the ding dong of a church bell or the tick tock of a clock. In contrast, it is quite different in Somali as sound sciences commence from the time a child is conceived when it is referred to as mujuq, munjuq, or munjuluq-meaning delicate in nature and appearance.

Buluq, which may be described as the sound composed during delivery that evolved as a result of the baby's contact with amniotic fluid-the transitional period from the womb to the hands of the gynecologist and baq when it is laid to rest on a hard surface which could be the skin or hide of an earlier sacrificial lamb reverberating with a qabac sound.

The waaq of ducks; caac of crows; baj or tufoo from the act of spitting; fiif or fuuf from the act of nose blowing; quxu and qax qax from coughing; bac which denotes a baby's flimsy blow; taw meaning to jump or spring up; fag or fagax means to run; fiiq describes the action of sipping tea; nac nac being useless talk; baf which implies to break or dislocate a bone; kaf is to separate two co-joined things or raf to pull with sheer force; yac or yoo being regret; ruq which means to uproot and jiiq from door lacking lubrication are sounds entirely used as describing actions as they happen instead of words.

Wab, wish, or nash all mean to whip or cane as punsihment; haw and fash indicate flow of blood or liquid; with ham being baby feeding technique; buc buc means a baby is stomach full; dhuq dhuq and fajaq are romantic acts; dhaq dhaq and dhiq dhiq all mean uncontrolled laughter; biq is anger; wac is a blow; qac is someone of low intelligence; kaw is demise while naf means being at the brink of death; biiq is being a coward or may also mean the act of breaking wind or furting.

Murux means laceration; bash is the breaking of glass; wiif is a stray bullet and qish or qash is to plagiarize. Wir or car is to dare something that will have consequences; muluq is recuperation; dhaw or dhac is a slap; wagagac is the flash of lightning; baq is fermentation or being frightened; bul is a blaze; jiq is like an impenetrable forest; juuq and jaaq means keep quiete and say nothing; dhub or dhukub denotes one is deaf or hearing impaired; jaf is to peel; uu and aa all mean a war cry or groan in pain; qajac is chuffing of feet; kadh, qadhab, and kadhaw mean to staple together while baw is the beating of drums.

Jug means a blow or to swallow with force; juq or nuq is to penetrate or insert; tatatac is to walk lamely; dalaq means to enter without aim or knowledge of or to swallow as in food; qub though meaning to spill or maize cob, it also denotes the sound emanating from players of certain past time games; while qab is echo from a door shutting or closing.

Haakah is sound emitted by one bitten by an insect or serpent while it also may be the alarm sounded by one scared of injections or thorns; hodhodho implies empty or useless talk; xuf and xaaf is speed; manaq manaq is being mischievous; bodh bodh connotes bubbling; bidh bidh represents radiance or an object appearing from a distance; fagax is to race; buq is the sound made when a lid is removed from a container; balaq means to collapse though it also means the male organs; jaw is a continuously reverberating sound; fatalaq is to tumble; jaq is to suckle while ciic is to use sheer force to emit excretion.

Fud and foq all mean to spring out as from a hole or enclosure; faq is to scramble; fashuuq is to squeeze as lemon or orange; fash indicates gushing liquid or blood; bash again means to splash; daf is to snatch; rif means shearing or jerking of hair; kud iyo kir means "back off with your aggression"; kaf is to rip off; quuq and qaaq is a form of crying; qiiq which means smoke also is the abrupt application of car brakes; damug and dam refer to total darkness or blindness; qumbuluq is to fall in to a ditch; qajajac is to crush under the feet or unsubstantiated talk; huuhaa implies talking senselessly; hayaay is an exclamation; shiiq applies to frying; shab denotes spraying or splashing while bariiq is to trip over, stuck in mud or fail an exam or quiz.

Fuuq is to drink heavy drinks like milkshake or creamy liquid; bacaac is the cry of the lamb while baac is a fool; fadfad is the bubbling of sticky cornmeal on a cooking pot; xaax is to feel cold; xuux is to instill fear in children; yaq is something nasty in appearance; aq is uttered when smoke disturbs one's visibility; yar is astonishment; uf is bad smell; bash is for any object that split into pieces when dropped while bush is when a jelly-like substance falls on the floor then splits in to bish; shabaax is sound from sea waves or meandering river water; dhibiq is for falling droplets; dhaw dhaw and qaw qaw is scrubbing of metals; hatishow is to sneeze; qabac qabac is when an object is blown by the wind; qab qab and dhow dhow is a knock on a door; brrr can be sounded with lubricated lips and is commonly used by livestock herders when watering their animals with ish and cay sounded when driving livestock.

Hag is used to move a donkey faster; haah is sounded when bringing goats to a resting place; tuuw enables a camel to kneel down; heey and jac is to scare away wild animals especially at night while jooh is to restrain a camel or bull.

Nig, dhag or rig is a slight blow or slap; nag means impossible; dhab is to tighten or hold tightly and tuss is the release or escape of air from a balloon. Qalaw qalaw is the ringing of a bell or like nature; "wii is the sound made by a wounded or dying Dik-dik and way is an exclamation of distress or disappointment (Professor Georgi Kapchits) while qar-rac is to tear apart. "Wii Sagaaro iyo way Sokeeye midna lagama soo waaqsado" (Somali proverb).

Such is the simplicity of sounds in the Somali language and that communication in clicks is possible among select groups without resorting to words; therefore, allowing them create exceptional form of conversation that flows ceaselessly and flawlessly more or less similar and of the same wavelength with some Southern African click languages.

In the absence of a strong central government and the collapse of our educational systems, our beautiful mother tongue is headed for extinction. The only way to resuscitate it is through the formation of a strong national government before 2010 slips away.

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