More Notes from the Canadian honey jar
May 18, 2017
On the correlation between abogida and love (scrambled alphabet???)
I think this prompt is here because I’ve heard of abogida being used as a metaphor for love in a couple of Amharic love songs. The ones that come to mind are a Kuku Sebsibe song and a Teddy Afro song. What I know of abogida is that it is a scrambled alphabet chart. Students ‘advance’ to that after they have learned to identify all the letters of the alphabet in their correct order (‘ha, hu,’). Then the real test comes, to sound out each letter without the help of the sound of the letter that comes before it (or after). The 7 tones of each letter (variations?) remain the same, so once you have the rhythm down, all you have to do is get the first tone right and the rest is easy, you keep that sound and just vary the tones. The rhythm carries you along. But if you don’t have that ‘rolling start’, if you’re presented with a letter that has no relation to the ones around it, you have to land on the right tone on your own, out of the blue.
So how is this a metaphor for love? How the hell should I know?! Well I guess, in the sense that there’s no ‘road map’, no reliable rhythm or pattern, you have to land on it and just take it one step at a time with no expectation, no guarantee? It’s a test? A challenge? In many ways it’s about normal human interactions, which everyone has a good idea how to go about, but ‘scrambled’ by the addition of love?
But the thing is, students eventually memorize the ‘abogida’ chart as well, so that can become rote too. And yes after that technically they can read. But what they do with that ability is another matter.
I feel like I’m reaching here. Time to research what this ‘abogida’ is actually about, and listen to the lyrics too.
Ok according to this I’m completely wrong! ‘Abugida’ is not the scrambled version, it’s just the name of the script!
https://www.learn-amharic.com/amharic-script-1 “The Amharic language is written in a script known as an abugida, with characters called fidel. If you don’t understand what abugida means, it is a script where consonants and vowels are written joined together, [WAW that’s kinda accidentally poetic, like male/female, yin/yang, on/off haha] rather than as individual units, as you’ll come to see when we look at the letters. Amharic uses the Ge’ez script, minus a few consonants – Ge’ez is an Ethiopian language no longer spoken, and used only as a liturgical language by the Ethiopian Church.”
Okay so even that bit in bold is an interesting new thing to learn about Amharic! It’s one of those languages where the consonant sound and the vowel sound are joined together in one letter. VERRRY interesting. I can see how it can be a metaphor for love sure. The vowel is always secondary. So it’s as if the vowel is the less dominant person in the relationship (typically the female?).
So when the singers are talking about the abugida of love, they mean that they were educated in love, period, made literate in it, learned the language, the script of love. Aha! AHHHAAA!!!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amharic “It is written (left-to-right) using Amharic Fidel, ፊደል, which grew out of the Ge’ez abugida—called, in Ethiopian Semitic languages, ፊደል fidel (“writing system”, “letter”, or “character”) and አቡጊዳ abugida (from the first four Ethiopic letters, which gave rise to the modern linguistic term abugida).”
So does this mean that only later on they got organized into ‘ha, hu,’ ?
In addition to using the song lyrics, can also use the nature of Amharic itself to find metaphors, etc. for the story?
learning ‘abugida’ = learning the alphabet, before can read/write, so in terms of love, being a beginner, no idea yet how it goes, what to do, etc. the ‘new love’, ‘first encounter’, etc.
Okay so since folks are being a bit shy about commenting/feedback, I’m thinking maybe it would help to give them some prompts of their own!
SO! When did YOU learn THE abugida or are you still working on it? And are you usually the vowel or the consonant in a relationship?