Libmonster ID: U.S.-1323
Author(s) of the publication: O. I. TETERIN

O. I. TETERIN

Candidate of Historical Sciences

Keywords: Swahili in the USSR/Russia, dictionaries

The works of Russian lexicographers on the Swahili language look much more modest. Only bilingual dictionaries of the Swahili language were published in our country. The first of them, "Swahili-Russian", a small volume (16,000 words), was compiled in 1961 in the Africa sector of the Institute of Ethnography of the USSR Academy of Sciences 1.

Its circulation - it's hard to believe these days - is 6000 (!) copies. This dictionary (in a hard red cover, in the format - "pocket") My fellow students and I (including Volodya Makarenko and Sasha Dovzhenko, one of the authors of new dictionaries 30 - 40 years later), started studying Swahili in 1960 - the first of the African languages that we started teaching at the Institute of Oriental Languages at Moscow State University (since 1970 - ISAA of Moscow State University). Like many of our other"Swahili" students, they continued their studies until the late 1980s.

In 1978, N. V. Gromova and N. G. Fedorova, teachers of Swahili at the IVYA, became the authors of the Russian-Swahili Educational Dictionary2. Its volume is 5000 words, its circulation is 1500 copies. This publication was a great help for new generations of students studying Swahili*. It is important to note that the editor of the dictionary was a native Swahili speaker-a Zanzibari Hussein Abdul-Razak, who for many years worked as a translator and announcer for the Department of Broadcasting to Africa of Moscow Radio, as well as a Swahili translator at the Progress Publishing House.

In the future, the author's groups included enthusiasts, often working on a voluntary basis.

In 1987, the second "Swahili-Russian dictionary" was published, containing about 30,000 words. The circulation was very modest - 1,650 copies.3 Its authors are N. V. Gromova, V. G. Makarenko, N. G. Fedorova, and E. N. Myachina. Ekaterina Nikolaevna is a graduate of the Department of African Studies of the Eastern Faculty of Leningrad State University, Professor. She taught at the Military Institute of Foreign Languages of the USSR Ministry of Defense, headed the Department of African Languages at MGIMO, participated in the creation of the first "Swahili - Russian dictionary", and participated in the dictionary groups of all Swahili dictionaries published in the country.

Almost 10 years later, in 1996, the "Russian-Swahili Dictionary" was published (authors N. V. Gromova, A. I. Dovzhenko, B. B. Karpovich, E. N. Myachina) with an even more modest circulation of 500 copies.4 I would like to note that one of the authors of the dictionary, Boris Karpovich, is a graduate of VIYAK, where he studied Swahili. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he, then a major, was the head of a group of Soviet military translators in Tanzania.

In 2008, the same authors, N. V. Gromova and N. G. Fedorova, completed a unique work-the compilation of the first phraseological dictionary in Russian African studies. "Swahili-Russian Phraseological Dictionary" 5 contains about 3000 phraseological units of the modern Swahili language. The circulation of this publication is quite insignificant - 200 copies. I would like to mention that one of its reviewers is Volodya Ovchinnikov, my fellow student in the first group of Swahili in IVYA, and we worked together as Swahili translators in Zanzibar in 1965-1966. 6

Naturally, all these dictionaries have become bibliographic rarities.

In 2012, a new, third "Swahili-Russian dictionary"was published7. Contains about 30,000 dictionary entries, includes new vocabulary, but the circulation is minuscule-150 copies. Its authors are N. V. Gromova, E. N. Myachina, and N. T. Petrenko. I have long and well known Natalia Terentyevna, a 1971 graduate of the UDN named after her. Patrice Lumumba, where she studied Swahili. After graduating from the university, she worked with this language for almost a quarter of a century in the Department of Broadcasting to Africa of Moscow Radio-until its closure in 1995. Now Associate Professor N. T. Petrenko teaches Swahili at MGIMO (U) of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

* * *

Swahili is spoken by at least 150 million people on the African continent. The importance and role of Swahili is recognized by the entire African community. It is the most well-known and studied African language outside of Africa. Modern Russia is striving to regain and strengthen its position in Africa, so it is hoped that the country will need specialists in African studies, and lexicographic work on African languages and, in particular, on the Swahili language will be in demand.


* From the 1960s to the early 1990s, new Swahili groups were opened in the IWA/ISAA every two to three years, much less frequently in the 2000s: after 3 to 5 years (ed.).

1 Swahili-russkiy slovar ' [Swahili-Russian Dictionary]. AN SSSR D. A. Olderogge. M., State Publishing House of Foreign and National dictionaries. 1961. Edition of 6000 copies, 560 pages.

Gromova N. V., Fedorova N. G. 2 Russko-Swahili uchebnyj slovar ' [Russian-Swahili educational dictionary]. Huseyn Abdul-Razak, Moscow, Russian Language Publishing House. 1978. The print run is 1500 copies and 5000 words. 320 s.

3. Gromova N. V., Makarenko V. G., Myachina E. N., Fedorova N. G. Swahili-russkiy slovar ' [Swahili-Russian dictionary]. Circulation of 1,650 copies. Approx. 30,000 words. 696 pages.

4 Russian-Swahili dictionary / N. V. Gromova, A. I. Dovzhenko, B. B. Karpovich, E. N. Myachina; edited by N. V. Gromova. 1996. Circulation of 500 copies. Approx. 30,000 words. 720 s.

5. Gromova N. V., Fedorova N. G. Swahili-russkiy frazeologicheskiy slovar ' [Swahili-Russian Phraseological Dictionary]. 2008. Edition of 200 copies. Approx. 3000 phraseolae. units. 276 p.

6 For more information, see: Teterin O. I. On Zanzibar, a little about yourself and others / / In Egypt and on Zanzibar (1960-1966). Memoirs of Soviet Military Translators, Moscow, publisher I. Bely. 2011, pp. 102-199.

Gromova N. V., Myachina E. N., Petrenko N. T. 7 Swahili-russkiy slovar ' [Swahili-Russian dictionary]. 2012. Edition of 150 copies. Approx. 30,000 dictionary entries. 716 pages.


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O. I. TETERIN, SWAHILI DICTIONARIES IN THE USSR AND RUSSIA // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 07.11.2023. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/SWAHILI-DICTIONARIES-IN-THE-USSR-AND-RUSSIA (date of access: 28.02.2024).

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