Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/423

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BAVILI NOTES.i

BY R. E. DENNETT, AUTHOR OF "SEVEN YEARS AMONG THE FJORT," "FOLKLORE OF THE FJORT," ETC.

{Read at Meeting, \<^th April, 1905.)

The Soul.

When I read that according to the observation of Mr. So and So the same word is used among a certain people for breath, shadow, ghost, and soul, I do not conclude that the observer in question is wrong. Neither, however, am I led to suppose that these four distinct ideas are one in the mind of those people. I know how hard it is for an observer of primitive, arrested, or degraded people's thoughts to get at their real meaning ; and I know that in some cases one word may stand for four distinct ideas.^ Even in the country in which I live, although the white man has been here over four hundred years, I doubt if there are many who could enter on this subject with any

^ [The Bavili, otherwise known as the Fiote or Fjort, are a Bantu tribe living on the Loango coast, north of the Congo river (see map), where till the recent troubles Mr. Dennett had resided for nearly a quarter of a century. Miss Kingsley, as we know, formed the highest opinion of his intimate knowledge of the natives.

Mr. Dennett has slightly varied his system of spelling the Fjort language, since we last had the pleasure of receiving a communication from him, but the following hints on pronunciation will perhaps be sufficient. The vowels should be sounded as in Italian ; the au or aw which in some cases replaces the o formerly used, apparently representing the sound of the open Italian o. X should be sounded as tsh, c always soft ; and a slight breathing, or indefinite vowel-sound, should be heard before the initials yJ/and N, when followed by a consonant. — Eu.]

-Take the Bavili word Mabili for instance.