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close this bookRural Development in White Nile Province, Sudan (UNU, 1986, 139 pages)
View the documentPreface
View the documentGeneral introduction
Open this folder and view contentsI. The physical environment of the White Nile
Open this folder and view contentsII. The human response in the White Nile
Open this folder and view contentsIII. The human and physical environments come together: a case-study of the gummuiya scheme
Open this folder and view contentsIV. Conclusions and recommendations
View the documentGlossary of vernacular words
View the documentContributors
View the documentOther UNU publications

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.