A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.
Somali is one of the Cushitic family of languages spoken in the horn of Africa
and the official language of Somalia. This practical grammar, published in
1905, was prepared by J. W. C. Kirk, who first learnt to speak the language
during his service with Somali troops during the British Empire's failed
attempt in 1902–1904 to wrest control of the region from the Dervish state
under Muhammad Abdullah Hassan. His unique knowledge of the interior of
the country and the different tribes making up the population meant that
insights were invaluable in advancing scholarly knowledge in the West.
Perhaps as importantly, Kirk also records a number of literary examples with
his translations of Somali stories and songs. Another appendix explores the
dialects of the Midgan (or Madhiban) and Yibir, both minority tribes who kept
their languages secret from mainstream Somali society.