The Shettima Kagu Qur’an

A linguist friend of mine doing a bit of work on archaic Saharan languages sent me a link to this site at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, full of lovely scans of annotated Qur’an pages from northeastern Nigeria. The manuscripts, which date from the 16th to 18th centuries, feature Qur’anic texts and commentaries (tafsīr) in Arabic along with extensive glosses—the more odd-angled jottings—in “archaic Kanembu,” which bears roughly the same relation, my friend notes, to the currently-spoken Kanuri language as does Middle English to that of today. All of which makes for a beautiful piece of parchment, full of layers and meanings.

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Originally published at culture-making.com.

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