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Swahili is a Bantu language, more specifically a member of the Sabaki subgroup of North East Coast Bantu. Swahili was first written in Arabic script, in which there are manuscripts dating back to the early 18th century. A Roman alphabet which is now standard was introduced during the colonial period, although some Swahili-speaking Muslims continue to use Arabic script, especially in private correspondence. The cultural importance of Islam is reflected in the large number of loanwords from Arabic. Swahili is the national language in Tanzania and Kenya and largely spoken in the nearby countries. It has also an important role as a donor language in East Africa and Central Africa, not only to other Bantu idioms, but also to other languages belonging to different linguistic families.
The Beja (Beḍawye) language is the only representative of the North Cushitic branch of the Cushitic languages. Although there are several dialects, e.g. Amar’ar, Arteiga, Beni Amer, Bishari, Hadendowa, Halenga etc., scholars collecting the lexical data of the Beja language usually do not distinguish between individual dialects and frequently summarize material of two or more dialects (e.g. Reinisch: Beni Amer, Bishari, Hadendowa), or they determine only the area, where their data were collected (e.g. Wedekinds: Eritrea; Hudson: Port Soudan and Tokar). Roper indicated the dialect Hadendowa, but according to MORIN (1995: 22) it was a transitional interdialect of the Sinkat area. In this case it is impossible to separate specific lexicons of individual dialects and the only solution is to compare the lexical materials in dependence, who has collected them. Although there is only one distinctive phonetic isogloss dividing the Beja dialect continuum with typical u in the north vs. i in the south (VANHOVE 2006), the result of the present study demonstrates a relatively high internal diversity of the Beja lexicon. Two most incomplete or deviant sources, namely Munzinger and Bender, indicate the disintegration of common Beja to the 9th and 11th cent. respectively. The common share between the remaining idioms is c. 95% or higher, corresponding to the beginning of their disintegration around AD 1200. This younger dating better agrees with at least partial intelligibility between the tribal dialects of Beja.
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Women's Power To Be Loud: The Authority of the Discourse and Authority of the Text in Mary Dorcey's Irish Lesbian Poetic Manifesto "Come Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear"
The following article aims to examine Mary Dorcey's poem "Come Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear," included in the 1991 volume Moving into the Space Cleared by Our Mothers. Apart from being a well-known and critically acclaimed Irish poet and fiction writer, the author of the poem has been, from its beginnings, actively involved in lesbian rights movement. Dorcey's poem "Come Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear" is to be construed from a perspective of lesbian and feminist discourse, as well as a cultural, sociological and political context in which it was created. While analyzing the poem, the emphasis is being paid to the intertwining of various ideological and subversive assumptions (dominant and the implied ones), their competing for importance and asserting authority over one another, in line with, and sometimes, against the grain of the textual framework. In other words, Dorcey's poem introduces a multilayered framework that draws heavily on various sources: the popular culture idiom, religious discourse (the references to the Virgin Mary and the biblical annunciation imagery), the text even employs, in some parts, crime and legal jargon, but, above all, it relies upon sensuous lesbian experience where desire and respect for the other woman opens the emancipating space allowing for redefining of one's personal and textual location. As a result of such a multifarious interaction, unrepresented and unacknowledged Irish women's standpoints may come to the surface and become articulated, disrupting their enforced muteness that the controlling heteronormative discourse has attempted to ensure. In Dorcey's poem, the operating metaphor of women's silence (or rather—silencing women), conceived of, at first, as the need to conceal one's sexual (lesbian) identity in fear of social ostracism and contempt of the "neighbours," is further equated with the noiseless, solitary and violent death of the anonymous woman, the finding of whose body was reported on the news. In both cases, the unwanted Irish women's voices of either agony, during the unregistered by anybody misogynist bloodshed that took place inside the flat, or the forbidden sounds of lesbian sexual excitement, need to be (self) censored and stifled, not to disrupt an idealized image of the well-established family and heteronormative patterns. In the light of the aforementioned parallel, empowered by the shared bodily and emotional closeness with her female lover, and already bitterly aware that silence in discourse is synonymous with textual, or even, actual death, the speaker in "Come Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear" comes to claim her own agency and makes her voice heard by others and taken into account.
In the course of a career that spans half a century, from the Vietnam era to the America of Barack Obama, Sam Shepard has often been labelled as a “quintessentially American” playwright. According to Leslie Wade, “[d]rawing from the disparate image banks of rock and roll, detective fiction, B-movies, and Wild West adventure shows,” Shepard’s texts “function as a storehouse of images, icons, and idioms that denote American culture and an American sensibility” (Sam Shepard 2). The article addresses Shepard’s work in the 1990s, when—as suggested by Stephen J. Bottoms—the writer’s prime concern was with depicting “a Faustian nation mired in depravity and corruption” (245). The discussion centres primarily upon a brief anti-war play first presented by the American Place Theatre in New York City on 30 April 1991, States of Shock, whose very title appears to sum up much of the dramatist’s writing to date, aptly describing the disturbing atmospheres generated by his works and the sense of disorientation frequently experienced by both Shepard’s characters and his audiences. The essay seeks to provide an insight into this unsettling one-act play premiered in the wake of the US engagement in the First Gulf War and deploying extravagant, grotesque theatricality to convey a sense of horror and revulsion at American military arrogance and moral myopia. It investigates how Shepard’s haunting text—subtitled “a vaudeville nightmare” and focusing on a confrontation between a peculiar male duo: an ethically crippled, jingoistic Colonel and a wheelchair-using war veteran named Stubbs—revisits familiar Shepard territory, as well as branching out in new directions. It demonstrates how the playwright interrogates American culture and American identity, especially American masculinity, both reviewing the country’s unsavory past and commenting on its complicit present. Special emphasis in the discussion is placed on Shepard’s preoccupation with the aesthetics of performance and the visual elements of his theatre. The essay addresses the artist’s experimental approach, reflecting upon his creative deployment of dramatic conventions and deliberate deconstruction of American realism.