Books News

Boran proverbs in their cultural context

Boran proverbs in their cultural context

Guide Introduction

Textual content by Günther Schlee

The Boran are a southern Oromo group, which occupies a senior place in Oromo conventional historical past. Their contact interval with the Amhara was shorter than that of different Oromo teams and their dialect has included fewer Amharic loanwords. It’s a rela­tively “pure” type of Oromo.

Their richness
in proverbs is gigantic, even compared to different African peoples who’ve
preserved orality in lots of spheres of life (the on a regular basis sphere, the jural
sphere, the passing on of historical past) and thus have good use for proverbs to
sharpen their arguments, rend savour to their accounts and provides every thing they
say the ring of acceptance by custom and of legitimacy. Once I requested
Abdullahi Shongolo in 1984 to gather Boran professional­verbs which we might then
analyse, illustrate and contextualize in a approach which places additionally these not
lucky sufficient to have Oromo as their mom tongue able to
perceive them and to take pleasure in their wit, we agreed on 1000 as a goal for col­lection.
He met this goal very quickly. Of those 1000 proverbs we right here current a primary
bunch of 100 (not counting these professional­verbs which we quote solely within the context
of different proverbs wit­hout taking them by way of all steps of study

With these comparatively small numbers we’re, in fact, in no place to compete with the admirable assortment of Fr. George Cotter which is predicated on 20 earlier collections and includes not lower than 4677 proverbs from totally different areas (Cotter 1990). We will solely advocate that guide (which got here out too late for us to utilize it) to all those that really feel they want a fuller pattern. It’s, nevertheless, not our intention to compete with Cotter and his illustrious contributors when it comes to numbers. In truth, there’s not a lot competitors in any respect because the current work is of a completely totally different sort.

Between the life world expertise and its linguistic expression of a Cushitic individuals just like the Boran Oromo on the one hand and the tradition and languages of recent Europe (right here represented by our courageous use of English which is neither Abdullahi’ nor my mom tongue) however, there’s such a large hole that it can’t be bridged by a single translation. Cotter, too, is conscious of this and subsequently provides two translations for every professional­verb. The primary is a somewhat literal translation, which imitates the Oromo unique even in phrase order, in order that the ensuing English is considerably ungrammatical and exhausting to know. The second translation is immaculate English and instantly beneath­standable to any reader who has mastered English. It’s free of the tradition particular imagery of the unique and the lite­ral translation and generalized in its which means in order that it makes good sense additionally to anyone who has by no means spent a day amongst any Oromo.

In translation
principle, the primary type of translation known as a supply language oriented
translation and the second sort is known as a goal language oriented
translation. The hole between Oromo and English, nevertheless, is so broad, than even
by two steps it can’t be bridged. If just one supply language oriented and one
goal language oriented translation is given, it isn’t all the time clear which
phrases and morphemes (the significant parts of which phrases are made up) of the
unique Oromo corresponds to which aspect of the primary translation, neither is it
essentially clear how the solely believable, affordable and grammatically
clean second translation, the one in “English English”, has been
derived from the obscure wording and the unusual imagery of the primary, until,
in fact, the reader is aware of Oromo and in that case he wouldn’t want any translation
in any respect. In different phrases, extra steps are wanted, more room must be allotted
to every single proverb, to elucidate absolutely what it means and to analyse it in a
means that exhibits the way it involves imply what it means.

Within the
following presentation the varied steps taken are:

            – The Oromo model of the proverb as transcribed from
spoken Oromo,

– the morpheme by morpheme illustration of the
proverb, giving underlying types (the grammatical concepts) the place in spoken Oromo
phonetic assimilations and simplifications haven taken place (e.g. at this
degree we write hin beek+u for ‘I have no idea’, separating the verb stem beek
from the ending u by the image for a morpheme boundary, +, and writing hin
quite than him, though in spoken Oromo (him béeku) the n
of the underly­ing hin is realized (takes the floor type) m
due to the affect of the next b with which the béeku
begins. /b/ is a labial sound, i.e. it’s articulated by the lips, and beneath
its affect the /n/ which is shaped with the tongue on the tooth (a dental
sound) strikes with its place of articulation ahead to the lips, too, and in
the method turns into an /m/. We thus have

                        the floor type                      him béeku

                        the underlying type                hin beek+u

            – the morpheme-by-morpheme translation, which ascribes
every morpheme a which means or a grammatical perform, which is des­cribed in

            – the interpretation in grammatically right English which
is sufficiently “goal language oriented” (s. above) to ren­der
no matter might be rendered of the unique in an English translation which does
not exceed the size of the origi­nal,

            – further explanations entitled ‘which means’, ‘use’, ‘cul­tural
context’ or the like as the necessity arises, which elabo­fee on parts of the
which means of the unique which haven’t come throughout within the translations, principally
as a result of English phrases allude to a unique cultural expertise, a diffe­lease
life world from the world to which Oromo phrases refer,

            – examples for using the proverb.

The final
aspect of this enumeration occupies a lot of the area and causes a lot of the
printing prices, however we don’t remorse that, as a result of it’s by way of their use that
e study most about proverbs or different types of speech.

These examples
for using a proverb take the form of tales about authorized instances which have
been delivered to the eye of elders who then cope with these instances and
underline their positions by quoting the proverb in query. A few of these
tales are legal tales, others cope with peculiar on a regular basis conflicts like
those between husband and spouse or between the generations. Most of them are
fictional. Abdullahi Shongolo has invented them after which we’ve got mentioned them
collectively, me typically questioning his reasoning and enjoying the advocate of
the opposite aspect, till we each felt that the story made sense and fitted the
proverb nicely. That these tales are fictional, nevertheless, doesn’t imply that
they’re unrealistic. They describe occasions which Abdullahi Shongolo, who has
grown up within the setting of those occasions, regards as the standard circumstances
by which the respective proverbs are quo­ted, scenes from the life in and
round Moyale, the place he lives. Different tales will not be invented, however actual. In
that case they might not be entitled ‘an illustration’ or ‘a narrative’, however ‘a
case historical past from such-and-such a spot, such-and-such a date’. In these instances,
nevertheless, we’ve got modified all names of individuals in order that we can’t inadvertedly
hurt anyone by misrepresentating what she or he stated or did.

Due to
these illustrations this guide about proverbs has additionally turn out to be a e-book of tales.
Linguists might use these texts to review syntax and textual grammar and different
points of the language, which can’t be studied from brief fragments of a
language. These all in favour of tradition can study so much about Boran life and the
attitudes of the Boran about life from them. As each authors are academics
(Shongolo at Butiye Main Faculty, Moyale, I on the School of Sociology,
College of Bielefeld, Germany), the third class of readers we’ve had in
thoughts are pupils and college students. Vernacular languages ought to discover their place in
faculty curricula, and Oromo isn’t just any vernacular. In Kenya, it might be a
minority language; in Ethiopia it isn’t, and if we regard it on the
continental scale we discover that Oromo is among the largest languages in Africa
when it comes to variety of audio system.

A instructor’s information for working with this quantity can simply be developed. One can ask the scholars to put in writing tales illustra­ting these proverbs which have been introduced right here with no story, one can encourage them to gather extra proverbs, to dis­cuss them with their elders and to explain their use following the patterns laid down on this quantity, and one can invite them to criticize our translations and to search for various trans­lations of Boran phrases and phrases to develop linguistic reaso­ning and philological scrutiny, and so forth. There are not any limits. A gifted instructor will discover ample materials for classroom discus­sions on this quantity.

Boran Proverbs of their Cultural Context by Abdullahi A. Shongolo (Writer), Günther Schlee (Writer).Paperback: 139 pages; Writer: Rüdiger Köppe; 1st version (2007)

Textual content offered to Ethiopia Observer by Abdullahi A.Shongolo

Major Picture: At a village in Yabelo Woreda, Borana Zone, Oromia Area, Ethiopia. (6 March 2016) photograph by AXBXCX

Revealed beneath a Artistic Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Worldwide licence.
Please cite Ethiopia Observer prominently and hyperlink clearly to the
unique article in case you republish. When you’ve got any queries, please
contact us at Verify particular person photographs
for licensing particulars.

About the author