New Federal Grant Award: Readers in Ajami

The team of Ajami scholars at Boston University, led by Professor Fallou Ngom, has been awarded a three-year grant of $178,900 by the U.S. Department of Education to develop specialized Ajami readers in Hausa, Wolof, and Mandinka (three major African languages with rich written Ajami literatures) with a multimedia companion website. The Readers in Ajami (RIA) project will provide students, language teachers, scholars, and American professionals with the necessary linguistic, cultural and literacy skills to engage Ajami users of West Africa. The resources of the project will cover a range of fields, including business and economy, health and medicine, agriculture and the environment, and human rights, politics and diplomacy. The project will produce a methodology that can be replicated for other world languages with dual literacy systems (Ajami and Latin script orthographies). It will provide an optimal model of how to build and sustain specialized textual and digital educational resources that incorporate local voices and knowledge recorded in multiple African Ajami scripts – something many academics and professionals have overlooked for centuries. The project draws on the expertise at BU and overseas in Ajami, African linguistics, pedagogy, social anthropology, and digital technology. Our team, led by Professor Ngom, includes Dr. Daivi Rodima-Taylor, Dr.  Jennifer Yanco, Dr. Mustapha Kurfi, Mr. Ablaye Diakite, Mr. Elhadji Diagne, Dr. Bala Saho, and the Geddes Language Center digital specialists Alison Parker, Shawn Provencal, and Frank Antonelli.

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