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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.

Jebel: Hill.

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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