Title: LITERATURE OF SOMALI ONOMASTICS & PROVERBS Written by: Mr. Anwar Maxamed Diiriye Illustrated by Betsy Bowen $24.98(paperback)>
This Somali-English dictionary of Somali onomastics and proverbs is the result of a monumental effort on the part of the young Somali scholar, Mr. Anwar Maxamed Diiriye. It attempts to produce a reliable reference work that can serve not only the needs of any outsiders curious about Somali language and culture but also the crying needs of a new Somali generation in the diaspora who are either cut off or alienated from such culture.
The work is divided into two parts: a straight-forward translation of Somali diction and a second part, which attempts to illuminate traditional proverbs;
the foundation of all wisdom in any preliterate society. But before we proceed any farther, a word on the long and brilliant “Introduction” is in order.
This section of the work is an excellent overview of Somali and Muslim cultures. Then, there is a very lucid and highly informative discourse on the practice of naming all things in the physical and natural world; beginning with “Prophet” Adam up to the present. This is where the intriguing title of the work comes from. According to Webster’s English Dictionary, Onomastics means: the study of the origin and history of proper names. Mr. Diiriye, citing sources, writes as follows:
A name is simply a word, phrase or sentence by which a human being is by it, he or she is identified, called, described, distinguished and classified.
Nothing on earth and in much of the heavens exists without a name…A name conveys history, culture, heritage, language and a consciousness of self-image and pride. Onomastics (study of names) involves many disciplines such as history, geography, linguistics, literature, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, sociology, theology, and even the legal and medical sciences... In all, identity is the underlying feature and the principal one.