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Exploring Arab Folk Literature$
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Pierre Cachia

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640867

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640867.001.0001

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An Uncommon Use of Nonsense Verse in Colloquial Arabic

An Uncommon Use of Nonsense Verse in Colloquial Arabic

(p.89) 6 An Uncommon Use of Nonsense Verse in Colloquial Arabic
Exploring Arab Folk Literature

Pierre Cachia

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses M. Urbain Bouriant's collection. All but six of the thirty-four pieces in this collection follow the most common pattern for the zajal: first, an introductory couplet setting what is the binding rhyme of the entire song; then, a variable number of stanzas almost always rhyming, sometimes incorporating the introductory couplet or part of it; and the final stanza virtually always ending with the initial couplet. The penultimate stanzas usually consist of praise of the Prophet. In the last one, the poet often names himself amid expressions of piety and humility. Each of these songs is called a himl. These songs cover devotional and Sufi brotherhood themes. They also cover miracles by saints and love songs. Peculiar to these songs are the inclusion of nonsense verses that reflect ecstatic states.

Keywords:   Urbain Bouriant, zajal, colloquial Arabic, Sufi brotherhood, himl, nonsense verses

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