This blog is dedicated to the Midob people of Northern Darfur. It is my hope that their beautiful language will continue to enrich the linguistic and cultural landscape of Sudan.
Currently I'm collecting and editing some material and want to make it available here. I'd be glad if other people join in and start contributing - please don't hesitate to contact me (see the contact form at the right). And I hope, that the linguistic community, but also especially the speakers of Midob will benefit from the information gathering here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Short update

More than two years after my last post it's time for a short update. I'm glad that:
  • I indeed found a Midob speaker in Germany, whom I could ask some of my questions 
  • I had the opportunity to write my MA thesis (field linguistics) on the Midob material, which I hope to publish this year.
Currently I'm moving the files that belong to this blog to sites.google.com/site/tidnaal, hopefully without disruptions...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back to the material from Roland Werner

Last year I met a few Midob speakers for the first time, January this year I finally was ready to do my own fieldwork on Midob - but in the end it didn't work out.

So after a long break I'm now back to work on the material from Roland Werners research in 1987/88. And the more I look into it, the more interesting things I find: even various short narrations from different speakers, some of them transcribed and recorded. My understanding of these is still very limited (since on most of them a free translation is missing). The next step for me will be a more detailed look at the verbal system.

I would be especially thankful to find Midob speakers in or near Germany. If you are one of them or know any, don't hesitate to contact me. Thanks a lot!

Friday, August 26, 2011

First attempt at Midob Narrative

This is a first attempt to work with one of the recorded and only very basic glossed narratives. Audio is also available. Because it is a first attempt, the transcription has not been reviewed as thoroughly as would be desirable, the gloss is still littered with question marks (especially the verbal suffixes) and the free translation is only a guess.

Also the format is not yet what I would like to do: something like this transcription of a Beja text or this Efate story (using the EOPAS framework).

Take a look at Text02, narrated by Mohammed Yusif Adam on 4/8/87, and recorded by Roland Werner.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sentences 210 - 1200 glossed

An extended set of sentences is ready:
The work I currently do with the toolbox database is a first draft interlinear gloss which is followed by checking both, spelling and gloss, while trying to unify them.

This is illustrated best with an example: When searching for "bitter" (this can be done inside the uploaded pdf as well), the first two occurrences vary in consonant length: kə̀ddìyâm (394) vs. kə̀dìyâm (729). I can now check the Original Notes, the word list of the book and Audio to see if there is a clear tendency towards one of them. If I see/hear that, I will correct the transcription accordingly. In the above example I would tend to use the single "d" (this is the spelling from book word list, the audio is not clear enough for my ears).

There are two more occurrences of "bitter": sáasíyâm (1199) and sáasònùm (1200), a different stem (sáas). Interestingly the meaning varies from English "bitter": Milk usually does not become bitter but sour. A Lemon usually is sour. Another sentence (2485) uses the same word for the taste of sweat (salty) - and the word list in the book of Roland Werner lists all three meanings: sour/bitter/salty. It's hard to pin down the basic meaning (and range) of such words without asking the Midob people.

There is enough room for error on my side: First, my ears are not used to hear the differences clearly. Second, the recordings might sometimes not represent typical speech (for many words I have only a small set of recordings). Third, pronunciation quality varies widely: Some sentences are spoken very fast, some with no recognizable tonal difference while others are very clear and easy to recognize.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Original Material from Roland Werner

Here is some raw Material from the field work of Roland Werner, which he did in 1987/88. When he published his material in "Tìdn-áal: A Study of Midob (Darfur-Nubian)" (Berlin: Reimer, 1993), he mentioned more material:
"A collection of over 30 narrative texts and another 2400 sentences have been excluded from the present publication for various reasons (amongst them printing costs), but it is hoped that they will be published at some future date."
While the narrations still only exist as handwritten notes and on tape, Roland Werner had done a print of the above sentences which he gave me to scan. These documents were of course not intended to be published in their current state, but nevertheless are valuable resources to continue working with. To give you an impression, here some samples from his material:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First sentences glossed

I have the privilege of working on Material from Roland Werner, who did linguistic field work on Midob (Urrti dialect) in 1987-88 and could publish only a part of his material in his book Tìdn-áal: A Study of Midob (Darfur-Nubian), Berlin: Reimer, 1993. He kindly gave me his material and the permission to make more of it available - so here is the first part:


These are sentences like the text documentation of the book of Roland Werner (p.66 ff). The interlinear gloss I added has not the detail and consistency recommended by Lehmann rules, but should give a basic idea of how the sentences work. Phonetic transcription mainly follows the book, but I might switch to the more phonetic way he used in his notebooks (i.e. [ng] as [ŋ]). Currently I have 2569 sentences in electronic format (including some duplicates) plus some narrations and sentences from handwritten notebooks which I hope to make available as it is ready.

Comments are welcome.