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Glossary of vernacular words
Abosabayn: Dura cut green after about 70 days'growth. Fodder crop.
Angareeb: Indigenous type of bedstead laced traditionally with rope.
Angaya: A division within an irrigated field associated with the method of irrigation.
Baja: Grazing lands, particularly on the qoz west of the White Nile.
Bamia: Okra; lady's fingers. Hibiscus esculentus.
Barchan: Desert crescentic sand dune.
Bersim: Lucerne; alfalfa. Medicago saliva. Fodder crop.
Bilad: Main village farming lands.
Dammar: The dry-season settling centre for a nomadic group.
Dar: The home area or region of an ethnic or cultural group.
Dukhn: Bulrush millet.Pennisetum typhoideum.
Dura: Great millet. Sorghum vulgare. Exists in many varieties.
Feddan: A measure of area. 1 feddan = 1.038 acres = 0.42 hectares.
Feterita: A hardy, quick-growing, open-headed but not always preferred variety of aura.
Garaj: Small desert sheep, capable of subsisting on very poor pasture.
Gassabi: A palatable variety of aura.
Gaw: A tussocky forage grass of semi-arid Sudan. Aristida mutability
Gerf: Riverbank land cultivated after the annual flood has receded.
Gizu: To subsist on juicy plants without water. Applied to winter camel grazings of this type near the northern border of the Sudan.
Haboob: Strong wind, hence association with dust storms.
Haboura/habra: Implies drop in crop yields which may be due to many different variables.
Hafir: A hollow in the clay plains excavated by earthmoving machinery (formerly by hand) to store run-off water.
Hantud: Ipomea cardiosepala Provides good grazing.
Harari: Drought-resistant variety of sesame.
Haraz: Large forest tree. Acacia albida.
Hashab: Gum arabic tree. Acacia senegal.
Hashasha: A weeding hoe of the pushing type.
Haskanit: An important forage grass with spiny fruit. Cenchrus biflorus.
Hawasha: A plot of land on an irrigation scheme worked by a tenant.
Jala/safga: Implies near-famine conditions with low crop production.
Jibraka: Farm usually adjacent (and always close) to the house.
Kanteen: Shop, in White Nile Province often associated with cheese factories.
Kharif: Rainy season.
Khor: A seasonal watercourse. Usually smaller than a wadi, but both words used almost synonymously in the Sudan.
Kisra: Thin sheets of bread made from aura flour.
La'ot: A shrub of the dry savanna. Acacia orfota.
Lubia: Hyacinth bean. Dolichos lablab. Mainly for fodder, but sometimes for food.
Mahal: Implies lack of plant cover, crop failure, livestock losses.
Maiya: An abandoned meander, or other portion of river channel not connected fully with the main stream.
Marakh: Desert bush. Leptadenia spartium.
Matmura: A hole excavated in the ground for storing aura and other grains. Usually excavated in clays.
Mukamas: A measure of area. I mukamas = 5 feddans.
Nafir: A communal event for various farming processes, usually associated with beer drinking.
Namliyya: Netted fly screen around a verandah or across a window.
Nazir: Traditional tribal leader.
Nushugh: The main northerly movement of nomadic groups associated with the northerly advance of the summer rainy season.
Ombaz: Oil-cake for livestock feed made from sesame and cotton seeds.
Qoz: Sandy areas, especially the fixed sand dunes of the Sudan lying to the west of the White Nile.
Safga: See jala.
Safra: A very palatable variety of yellow-coloured aura, for which the White Nile gerf lands became famous. Little is grown today due to changes in river regime and because of its susceptibility to disease.
Sagia: Persian wheel. An animal-operated device for raising water.
Samad: A local agricultural official on an irrigation scheme.
Samr: Desert shrub. Acacia tortilis.
Sayal: Desert shrub. Acacia raddiana.
Seid: Nutgrass. Cyperus rotundas.
Seif: Long and relatively narrow sand dunes, especially in western and northern Sudan.
Seluka: Digging stick.
Semn: Clarified butter.
Senna nekka: Senna. Cassis acutifolia.
Shadouf: A man-operated lever used for raising water.Used on the Nile since ancient Egyptian times.
Shoggara: Early rainy-season movement by nomads south-wards to take advantage of the new season's grazing.
Siha: Blepharis spp. Provides good grazing.
Sunt: An important timber tree. Acacia nilotica.
Tabak: Plaited grass cover for food pots.
Tagil: Common variety of sesame.
Talh: Tree exuding second-grade gum arable. Acacia seyal.
Teras (pi. turus): Earth bund built across gentle slopes, especially on the clay plains, to contain sheet flow and encourage local percolation.
Torea: A two-handed digging hoe.
Tundub: Leafless, semi-desert shrub. Capparis decidua.
Wad fahal: A close-headed and highly palatable variety of aura.
Wadi: A seasonal watercourse. Usually larger than khor, but both words used almost synonymously in the Sudan.
Wasuq: Flat-faced earth levelling board for use by hand.
Zeriba: An enclosure, usually for protecting animals at night.
Zirzira: A hardy aura variety grown on the rainlands of White Nile Province.
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