Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Somali Translator's Companion

The Somali Translator’s Companion is the first e-book of its kind for Somali translators. It is based on research the author conducted between 2008 and 2012. In this e-book translators will find a wealth of information based on Standard Somali grammar with an emphasis on common mistakes in Somali translation caused by failure to observe grammar rules.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Xeerarka fagaasa labada Shibbane

Hordhac Sida laga wada dheregsanyahay, labada dhawaaq ee ‘dh’-a iyo ‘r’-a waxay ka mid yihiin laba-iyo-labaatanka shibbane ee afsoomaaliga. Haddana ereyo ay ku jiraan baa muran xoogle abuura. Tusaale ahaan labada erey ee ‘gabadh’ iyo ‘gabar’ oo isku ujeed -do ah, hayeeshe ku kala geddisan labada dhawaaq ee u dambeeya, baa ka mid ah kuwa muranka abuura. Haddii aan soo qaadanno wadarta ereygaasi waxay noqonaysaa ‘gabdho’. Waxa haddaba isweydiin leh qofka marka horaba ereyga ugu dhawaaqay ‘gabar’ muxuu kolka dambe u odhanayaa ‘gabdho’ ee uu u odhanwaayey, waa halkii Muuse Galaale, ‘gabro’?

Monday, 24 June 2013

On Arabic loan verbs in Somali

Like many languages the Somali language has borrowed words from the Arabic language . Although Somali is not in the same language group as Arabic language’s, geographic proximity and Islam have made borrowing from Arabic possible for Somalis. Arabic loan verbs in Somali have followed three of the patterns identified by linguists: 1-Verbs have been imported from Arabic and adapted to the conjugation groups for spelling and pronunciation. 2- There are composite Arabic loan verbs made up of an Arabic noun and a Somali verb. Since it is the Arabic noun that made the use of the Somali verb possible ( i.e. partial substation), this book calls this type of verb an Arabic loan verb. 3- Somalis have coined Arabic loan verbs such as bismillee (to taste something –from bismillah, meaning ‘in the name of Allah’). All Arabic loan verbs in Somali are regular verbs. Since Arabic loan verbs in Somali are from Arabic nouns and verbs Arabic language speakers may be able to figure out the meaning of many loan verbs. Somali Arabic loan verbs such as feker translated into English as ‘to think’, does not mean the same as malee ‘to think’ as in waxaan u malaynayaa in…”( I think that…) Somalis use the verb feker in a more abstract sense e.g. Waan fekerayaa ( I am worrying/ contemplating ) or Waan ka fekeri doonaa ( I will think about it). This book contains two hundred commonly used Arabic loan verbs in Somali in sentences. Where an Arabic loan verb has a variant spelling it is stated. There is information about each loan verb— the type of the verb and its conjugation group. If a loan verb was brought into existence by partial substitution the abbreviation p.s. follows the conjugation group of the verb; if the verb is a loan coinage the abbreviation l.c. comes after the conjugation group of the verb. This book assumes a knowledge of standard Somali grammar. 200 Arabic Loan Verbs in Somali By Liban Ahmad eBook (PDF), 18 Pages

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Standard Somali Grammar and Pareto Principle

In October 2012 Somali language speakers celebrated the fortieth anniversary of written Somali. Since 1972 Somali has been used as a medium instruction, for judiciary and public administration. Research into Somali – modernisation and the grammar of the language, and the use of Somali for fiction writing— constitute the most seminal but least-celebrated aspect of Somali Studies. This essay contends that Somali is easy to learn partly because the Pareto Principle is operating in the Somali grammar. Pereto Principle, also known as 80/20 Principle, was named after Vilfredo Pareto, the Italian economist. The Pareto Principle “asserts that a minority, a small number, of causes inputs or efforts usually leads to a majority of the results, outputs or rewards, so most of the outputs result from a very small part of the causes or inputs.” Applied to standard Somali grammar, the verb and adjective, 20% of Somali grammatical categories, constitute 80% of written and spoken Somali because use of tenses affects both grammatical categories.

Somali: Writing history

The following article appeared in the Chartered Institute of Linguists' magazine.

Gothenburg: Bandhigga Buugagga, Dhaqanka iyo Codka hal-abuurka

Waxa magaalada Gothenburg ka furmay barnaamijka bandhigga Buugagga iyo Dhaqanka. Wuxuu socon doonaa maalmaha Jimcaha, Sabtida iyo Axadda.
Buug naxwe ah ayaa dib loo soo saaray. Haddii aad leedahay Kindle ama kombiyuutarkaagu ama telefoonkaagu leeyahay Kindle software, waad iibsan kartaa buugga. Sidoo kale waxa jira buug la soo saaray 1999kii--Barashada Naxwaha af Soomaaliga (A Somali School Grammar).

Laaxinjire

Ku dhowaad afartan sanadood ayaa ka soo wareegtay markuu marxuum Maxamed Xaashi Dhamac (Gaarriye) daaha ka rogay miisaanka maansada. Maqaalladii taxanaha ahaa oo ku soo baxay wargeyskii Xiddigta Oktoobar waxay abuureen dood iyo cilmibaarisyo. Cabdiraxmaan Faarax (Barwaaqo), oo wax ka qoray miisaanka maansada una fududeeyay dadka inay maqaalladii Gaarriye aqristaan , ayaa kaalin wayn ka geystay barnaamijaynta miisaanka maansada. Qof kasta wuu tijaabin karaa in maanso leedahay ama la'dahay laaxin ama deelqaaf.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Abwaan Mursal Xuseen baa i baraya af Soomaaliga oo wuu maansoodaa

Qoraalka soo socda waxa ii soo diray "Abwaan Mursal Xuseen".
Wuxuu dhaliilay sida aan u higgaadiyey ereyada qaarkood. Farriintiisu waxay ku qornayd af Soomaali iyo Ingiriis. Aan idinla wadaago talada Abwaanku i siiyay:



Please pay attention to my advice:
1-try to learn well (learn your ability and your personality the first and second Language,the the way to translate-you should know that translation is a knowledge without it you can't translate!.
2-criticise yourself before others,that is to correct your deeds.
3-the study is not to argue or to debate,it is to learn deeply and perfectly.
4-read more and try to write more and to practice with the owners(natives) and who knows influently.
5-don't chase after the others where you are in mistake and misunderstood.

Do you remember when I though you the difference between "I & We" and it's use equally sometimes!!!,my School is open for all.aply u will be permitted.


Warcelinta aan u diray Abwaan Mursan Xuseen waa tan:
Dear Mursal,

I am will be happy to join your school but you wrote
Do you remember when I though you the difference between "I & We" and it's use equally sometimes!!!,my School is open for all.aply u will be permitted. Did you mean taught?
I wrote the Somali piece in 2006 when I was puzzled by the way we write Somali especially by those who are paid to translate into or write in Somali. I must have said af Soomaaliga which is correct but many Somalis, like me, write afka Soomaaliga. You write what you see; I started a debate; my aim was not to claim knowledge of Somali language. Again, remember, it is the job of the website editor to edit. Why do they publish anything?
I replied to you in English because I think you are confident in communicating in English because you concluded your email in English. Thanks for pointing out the inconsistent spellings; since 2006 I have learned a lot about Somali spelling. Where is your school based?
By the way Ramadan Karim


Four your information Mursal is a poet: his poems were publsihed in such websites as oodweynenews. This is one of his poems.

Hordhacan baa la socda maansada
Walaal waxan kuu soo tebinayaa salaantaa qaaliga ah ee Islaamka sidoo kle waxan salaamayaa Abwaanka Siciid Suleeymaan ee ay ka soo maaxatay Maansada Shiinleyda ah ee Shaamareer,waxan jecelahay anigoon shahaado ku sidan gabayga siduu dalbaday inaan Maanso gaaban oo sharraxuu Abwaanku dalbaday wax ka taabanaysa iyadoo ishaaraysa cidda arrimahan loogu noqonayo iyo sida loo gaadhayo sababaha iyo dawadoodaba ay ku xidhan tahay in bulshada qaybeheeda kulanno lala sameeyo oo ra’yigooda la isu geeyo deed laga soo saaro natiijada iyo sida dhibta jirta loo daweeynayo Maansada oo la yidhaahdo Shaqo gal waatan



Can Abwaan Mursal tell me why he used waxan when he could use waxaan? I have ignorted the spelling mistakes in the introductory note.
He signed his poems with Abwaan Mursan Xuseen. Does he call he call himself an Abwaan?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Will mistranslation lead to cooperation with Edmonton Police Service?

The Edmonton Police Service of Canada is working hard to solve homicide cases as it posted, in Somali websites, information for "a person or persons" who will receive $40,000 on any homicide case EPS solves on the basis of information provided by the community . When you click the link of the EPS ad, it leads to an EPS homepage with Somali language information. Entitled ABAAl-MARRIN ( the correct spelling is ABAAL-MARIN), the Rewards Information for Somali speakers contains three spelling errors caused, I think, by poor grasp of either the target language or the source language. Inevitably, this situation has led to mistranslation and misinformation. The sentence:

"The Edmonton Police Commission has approved the payment for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for various murders throughout the Edmonton Area." was translated into Somali as:

Dan-jiraha Booliska Magaalada Edmonton ayaa ogolaadey in la silyo $40,000 "Dilkiiba"( The Edmonton Police Commission has approved the payment of $40,000 to each "Homicide". Qofka ama Dadka ka keena warbixin Dilka iyo Dhimashad loo geystey Marxuumyada hoos ku xusan."The persons of persosn who bring information about murders of the perosns whose neames are:"

Does Edmonton Police Service use criteria for commissioning translators to translate information for people who speak community languages? Mistranslations do not lead to cooperation. Since The EPS is looking for information that can help detectives solve youth homicides in Edmonton, the Service ought to show it takes community languages seriously. Information in English is far better than a poorly translated text. The chance of finding someone who can tell you the gist of the information in Somali orally and correctly is bigger than the chance of securing the cooperation of the communities if EPS publishes incorrectly translated information for communities for whom English is not a first language.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Somalia: How BBC Somali Service Misinforms Listeners

The BBC Somali Service has not learned from past mistakes—misquoting a Somali warlord and using an exclamation mark to mock him (Muuse Suudi oo is eedeeyay !); mistranslating BBC Africa editor’s sentence in an analysis (’In Djibouti there are 900 American soldiers for preventing Al Qaida from entering the Red Sea”) (US predicts Zarqawi Africa flight as “Dalka Djibouti waxaa jooga 900 oo askari oo Mareykan ah oo loogu tala galay in ay ka hortagaan al qaacida in aysan galin badda cas”) “(In Djibouti there are 900 American soldiers for preventing Al Qaida from NOT entering the Red Sea.)”; and attributing to the British government policies that tolerate extremism in universities: “The British government said that universities in UK must fight extremist views that do not encourage hatred and violence or terrorist activitie” (Dowladda dalkan Britain ayaa sheegtay in Jaamacadaha dalka ay tahay in lagala dagaallamo fikradaha xag-jirka ah ee dhiirri gelin karin nacayb iyo in ay dadku isu gacan qaadaan amaba ay fuliyaan falal argagixiso.) (Doodda Ardeyda ).

Those examples were discussed in writing and shared with Jerry Timmins, Head of Africa and Middle East Region, BBC World Service in 2006 and 2009. According to Jerry Timmins, there ‘is’ risk of defamation if listener feedback about his department is not shared with him because “it is our policy to always look in to any specific complaints when they are raised”. Why are the standards at the BBC Somali Service declining if Mr. Timmins had taken a serious look at the evidence about Somali language misuse and breach of BBC editorial guidelines after evidence has been shared with him? Why is the BBC Somali Service making the same mistakes?.

The following examples are from the BBC Somali Service website. A new report on two Somali men released from Guantanamo and handed over to the Somaliland authorities in 2009 was headlined: Somaliland Guantanamo; a news report on clashes between Somali and Oromo communities in Ethiopia’s in 2009 was headlined Soomaali Vs Oromo.

Is Guantanamo in Somaliland or does Somaliland has its own Guantanamo? What did the BBC Somali Service editors and producers have in mind when such a headline was used to mislead the readers about the two Somali men who were released from Guantanamo? Why did BBC Somali Service treat a story about people who were killed in ethnicity based clashes as a football match between two communities in Ethiopia? Last week the Somali Islamist insurgent group Harakat al-Shabaab Mujahideen demolished tombs of Somali Sheikhs in Mogadishu.

BBC Somali Service published a report on tomb demolitions by Al Shabaab and headlined it Jihaadka Qabuuraha (Jihad of/on Graves). Does the BBC view Al Shabaab’s activities as Jihad or it is how Al Shabaab describes its campaign to demolish graves? In the same week, BBC Somali Service published a report based on the detention of ‘al-Qaeda militants’ by Saudi authorities. The report was headlined Soomaali al Qaacida ah (Al Qaida Somalis), but the headline of the story in BBC News website on which the story for Somali speaking listeners and readers was based is Saudi Arabia detains dozens of ‘al-Qaeda militants‘ .

If BBC Somali Service decided to use to translate the story from English, why had the editor failed to ensure that the headline should not label Somalis as Al Qaeda operatives? Given the BBC Somali Service’s failure to learn from past mistakes, and even make more outrageous mistakes because of unfamiliarity with BBC editorial guidelines, it is unclear why BBC World Service protects mediocrity and exposes itself to accusations about having “no concept of value for money” and not having equal opportunity policy?.

The BBC World Service’s attitude towards the Somali speaking listeners and readers is disdainful. If the BBC Somali Service were a privately run radio station, the editor and his bosses would take their work seriously and ensure that journalistic misjudgments and mistakes should not tarnish the work of the Service on which many Somalis and Somali speaking listeners and readers depend for information about Somalia and the world.