Meikal Mumin “The Arabic Script in Africa”
For my PhD, I am studying Chimiini (also known as Chimwiini, Chimbalazi, or Baravanese), a minority Bantu language of Somalia, which is particularly interesting because it was spoken for centuries in one coastal town only, while nearly all the remainder of Somalia spoke varieties of Somali, a Cushitic language.
Previously, I had written my master’s thesis entitled “The Arabic script in Africa” on the use of Arabic script for the writing of languages of Africa apart from Arabic (also known as Ajami). In it, I gave an overview of the history of the scientific study of the use of Arabic script to write languages of Africa apart from Arabic, and tried to deconstruct some previously held biases and pre-conceptions on those writing traditions.
Since then I have been looking to advance this field of research by co-organizing two symposia as well as co-publishing a collected volume by the same name on the matter, containing sixteen papers on the past and present use of Arabic script to write African languages. Currently we are working on the proceedings of the second conference. As an application of my research, I’m volunteering with ICANN to develop a standard for the use of Arabic script in domain names.
Meikal Mumin (b. 1980) studied African Studies, Oriental Studies, Phonetics, Egyptology, German, and English in Cologne and Naples. He completed his studies with a Magister Artium in African Studies, Oriental Studies and Phonetics from University of Cologne (2009), with a thesis on the use of Arabic script in Africa. Currently, he is working on a PhD on Chimiini, a minority language of Somalia, in a co-tutelle between Cologne and University of Naples “L’Orientale”. He is co-editor of two edited volumes, (co-)author of three papers, co-organizer of three conferences, and volunteer with ICANN in the sector of Arabic script IDNs.