The End of Frankincense?

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The New York Times recently published an article about the possible extinction of the frankincense plant in the wild.

Frankincense is exported by the thousands of tons each year. But as demand increases, over-exploitation and ecosystem degradation are bringing populations to the brink of collapse. The study’s authors estimate that without new trees to replace the old, half the intact forests — and half the frankincense they produce — will be gone within 20 years.

Check out the article here.

R. B. Serjeant’s Work on Yemen

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Last year a memorial issue on the 25th anniversary of the passing of the major scholar of Yemen, R. B. Serjeant, was published. Serjeant, who held the Adams Chair of Arabic at Cambridge, had personal experience in Yemen and made a variety of contributions to Yemeni Studies.

A copy of this issue is available here:

Chroniques du manuscrit au Yémen

Numéro spécial 2, 2018

Robert Bertram Serjeant (1915-1933).
Écosse-Yémen

Edité par Anne Regourd

Table des matières

Le volume complet (format pdf)

Anne Regourd (CNRS, UMR 7192). Vingt-cinq ans après : Hommage à Robert Bertram Serjeant (1915-1993). L’homme et ses archives

Aline Brodin (Cataloguing archivist, Special Collections, University of Edinburgh). An overview of the Robert Bertram Serjeant Collections at the University of Edinburgh Main Library

Ronald Lewcock (UNESCO consultant on architecture in the Yemen). Three Medieval Mosques in the Yemen: architecture, art, and sources
Plates and photographs

Philippe Provençal (Natural History Museum of Denmark). La question des noms d’espèces de poissons en arabe : la liste de Robert Bertram Serjeant

Mikhail Rodionov (Peter-the-Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St. Petersburg State University, Russia). Ibāḍīs in the written-oral tradition of modern Ḥaḍramawt

G. Rex Smith (University of Leeds). Two literary mixed Arabic texts from the Yemen

Al-Sosowah’s Study of Yemeni Dialects

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Abbas Ali Muhammad al-Sosowah

Almadaniya has published an article on the Yemeni linguist, Dr. Abbas Ali Mohammad al-Sosowah and his work on Yemeni dialects. Check out the full article here.

Al-Sosowah’s Approach to Yemeni Dialects
Professor al-Sosowah, as far as we know, has studied and researched Yemeni dialects more than any other Yemeni academic. His work in this field started with his Master’s thesis on ‘The Dialect of Dhamar: A Descriptive Phonological Study’. He then published two specialized books on Yemeni dialects after getting his doctorate. The first, Studies in Yemeni Dialects (Dar Ubadi, Sana’a, 2007), is divided into three sections. Each section discusses a phenomenon of the dialects, or a certain field (like the morphological level), and each section includes a number of topics in that field. The second book is titled Qad in Yemeni Dialects – Research in Structures, Grammar, and Lexical Borrowing (Dar Ubadi, Sana’a, 2012), and is divided into six sections that are similar to the sections that were presented in his first book.

For information on his works, click here.

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For this Youtube video of a talk by Dr. Al-Sosowah, click here.

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Parts of this book are available online.

Al-Gabali Book Signing at YCSR

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Dr Salwa Dammaj, Dr Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh, Ahmed al-Gabali, Abdulbari Taher, left to right.

A cultural event was organized and held at the Yemen Center for Studies and Researches (YCSR) in Sanaa on Wednesday 17 July 2019 to celebrate the publication of Qāmūs al-‘urf al-qabīlī fī al-Yaman [The Lexicon of Tribal Norms in Yemen]. The author is Ahmed al-Gabali, the Head of the Sociology Department at the Center. The book was published by AIYS as part of a recent series to publish annually a book on Yemen’s cultural heritage in Yemen by a Yemeni author. It was really a wonderful moment to celebrate a publication of an important cultural work at this extremely gloomy time.

An elite group of senior Yemeni researchers and authors attended and contributed to the event including Yemen’s great poet Dr Abdulaziz al-Maqaleh, President of the YCSR. The event commenced with brief speech by the author and researcher Mohammed al-Shaybani in which he welcomed the audience. Then, the sponsor of the function Dr Abdulaziz delivered his opening remarks in which he voiced thanks and appreciation for the author, Ahmed al-Gabali, for his great efforts and hard work to get the lexicon accomplished. Dr al-Maqaleh also expressed thanks for AIYS for contributing toward printing the lexicon and getting it published.

Hear Dr. Maqaleh’s remarks

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After that the Resident Director of AIYS, Dr Salwa Dammaj, delivered a speech, expressing thanks for the audience and  deeply appreciating the attendance of Dr Al-Maqaleh and his extraordinary role and contribution to the Yemeni culture and literature. She said:

“It is very difficult for me, who grew up on al-Maqaleh’s poetry and his prominent humanitarian and cultural active role in the Yemeni national arena, to talk about him. I’m like my generation and several Yemeni generations who have been influenced by Dr al-Maqaleh’s literature. We are grateful for this great man who devoted his life to develop Yemeni culture, establish cultural institutions and encourage young authors and support them. His extraordinary poetical works and pioneering role will remain an outstanding landmark in the modern history of Yemeni culture and literature.

The rich Yemeni culture with its unique diversity expressively denotes the deep and great civilized heritage of our people and country. Today we are here to celebrate a noteworthy and valuable book aimed to shed light on a significant side of our cultural heritage and illustrate some of its components. I am referring to the issue of tribal norms in Yemen. Perhaps, it should be quite difficult today to talk about the Yemeni culture and its uniqueness, while Yemen has been enduring the current dilemma, suffering from misery and a humanitarian crisis. But, the opposite is true; culture is the key factor that can help over some of the country’s misery and it is a prerequisite to cope with political challenges and short-sighted visions, as we move forward to a better future.”

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Afterwards the much-respected researcher and political activist, Abdulbari Taher, made a significant comment on the importance of the ‘Lexicon’, describing the book as a pioneering work which will fill an important gap in the Yemeni literature and library. The chief researcher at the (CYSR). Qadiri Ahmed Haider, delivered a speech on behalf of the author’s friends; he highly praised the tireless efforts and hard work made by Mr al-Gabali over the years to see the Lexicon accomplished. “It is a remarkable and pioneering work, self-driven and plausible adventure that al-Jabili deserves to be congratulated for”, noted Haider.

Finally, the author expressed his pleasure for having his Lexicon published, voicing deep thanks and appreciation for AIYS for printing his book and getting it published. Mr al-Gabali talked about his work on the book over the years, describing his research methodology that involved him in field survey in different Yemeni regions to collect and verify the tribal norms and vocabularies of the Lexicon. He reiterated his thanks for Dr Al-Maqaleh’s support and encouragement. By the end of the session, Mr al-Gabali signed copies of the book, launching the distribution of copies of the Lexicon in three volumes.

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AIYS is please to announce that the annual book award will be named the “Abdulaziz al-Maqaleh Book Award for Yemen’s Cultural Heritage” in honor of Dr. Maqaleh’s contributions to Yemen’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Dr.Salwa A. Dammaj

Yemeni manuscript resource

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A website called The International Treasury of Islamic Manuscripts contains basic information on almost 250 Yemeni manuscripts, most in the Glaser collection in Vienna and Berlin. You can search these by clicking here. Several of the manuscripts listed are digitized and available to view online. An example is: النفحة الندية فى توالى ايام الاشهر العربية والرومية والفارسية .  This is described as follows:

“The author Muḥammad b. Aḥmad Ibn al-Imām gives instructions on how the following tables (ff.40v-94r) for the years 1215/1800 to 1241/1825 are to be used. Every year is dealt with on four pages, and on each page the Arabic, Greek, and Persian months and their days are juxtaposed. Then the four seasons, beginning with autumn, are listed in ff.94v–96r with their appropriate lunar mansions; ff.97r-100 provide tables on the length of day and night; 101v-131r, with every page divided into three columns, indicate the first day of each month for the years 1242/1826 to 1300/1883. Corrections of احمد بن يحيى المفتى الحبيشى, as necessitated by the leap years in calculating the beginning of the new year, from the year 1266/1849 to 1300/1883.”

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