Mangani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Mangani (disambiguation).

Mangani is the name of a fictional species of great apes in the Tarzan novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and of the invented language used by these apes. In the invented language, Mangani (meaning "great-ape") is the apes' word for their own kind, although the term is also applied (with modifications) to humans. The Mangani are represented as the apes who foster and raise Tarzan.

As a species of ape[edit]

The Mangani are described by Burroughs as approximately man-sized, and appear to be a species intermediate between chimpanzees and gorillas. There have been a number of attempts to identify the fictional Mangani with an actual primate species. Science fiction author Philip José Farmer speculated they might be a variety of Australopithecus in his pseudo-biography of Tarzan, Tarzan Alive. Walt Disney Pictures' 1999 animated feature film Tarzan, its sequels, and the television series The Legend of Tarzan based on it, portray the apes who raised Tarzan as gorillas, though in the books gorillas, called Bolgani by the Mangani, are explicitly stated to be a separate species. It has also been suggested that the Mangani be retroactively identified with the recently discovered Bili Ape, a type of giant chimpanzee sharing some of the traits of the fictional species, including size and habitat.

As described by Burroughs, Mangani are organized in tribal bands ruled by dominant males, or "kings," which subsist by foraging for fruit, grubs, insects, and sometimes meat, in localized territories. Tribes are generally identified by the names of their kings. Burroughs portrays the Mangani (and indeed most jungle animals) as susceptible to occasional bouts of madness in which they will lash out violently and unpredictably at other living creatures in their vicinity. Tarzan is raised in the tribe of Kerchak, based in the coastal jungle of equatorial Africa, as shown in Tarzan of the Apes and Jungle Tales of Tarzan. As an adult he comes to lead this tribe; later, he becomes accepted in other tribes of Mangani, such as the tribe of Molak in The Beasts of Tarzan. Tarzan continued to associate occasionally with his original tribe until cast out in Tarzan and the Golden Lion, as the result of a Tarzan impersonator having murdered one of its members.

Altogether, Mangani appear in fifteen of the Tarzan books; the first through seventh (Tarzan of the Apes, The Return of Tarzan, The Beasts of Tarzan, The Son of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, Jungle Tales of Tarzan, Tarzan the Untamed), the ninth (Tarzan and the Golden Lion), the eleventh (Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, the twelfth (Tarzan and the Lost Empire), the fourteenth (Tarzan the Invincible), the eighteenth (Tarzan and the Leopard Men), the twentieth (Tarzan and the Forbidden City), the twenty-third (Tarzan and the Madman), and the twenty-sixth (Tarzan: the Lost Adventure).

A list of tribal groups of Mangani and individual named Mangani associated with them as portrayed in the Tarzan novels follows, together with the titles of the books in which they appear or are referenced. Individuals associated with more than one tribe may be listed more than once.

Tribe of Go-lat

Tribe of Kerchack (later of Tarzan, Karnath, Pagth)

  • Chulk (m.) – Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
  • Gazan (m.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Gobu (m.) – Tarzan and the Golden Lion
  • Go-yad (m.), later of the tribe of Toyat – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle; Tarzan and the Lost Empire
  • Gozan (m.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Gunto (m.) – Tarzan of the Apes; Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Kala (f.) – Tarzan of the Apes; Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Kama (f.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Karnath (m.), king after Tarzan – The Return of Tarzan
  • Kerchak (m.), king – Tarzan of the Apes; Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Mamka (f.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Mumga (f.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Mungo (m.) – Tarzan of the Apes
  • Neeta (f.) – Tarzan of the Apes; Tarzan and the Golden Lion
  • Numgo (m.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Pagth (m.), king after Karnath – Tarzan and the Golden Lion
  • Taglat (m.) – Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
  • Tana (f.) – Tarzan of the Apes
  • Taug (m.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Teeka (f.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Terkoz (m.) – Tarzan of the Apes
  • Thaka (m.) – Tarzan of the Apes
  • Thaka (f.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan
  • Tublat (m.) – Tarzan of the Apes; Jungle Tales of Tarzan

Tribe of Mal-gash (also called the tribe of Ho-den and the Servants of God)

  • Fernando (m.), mangani name unknown – Tarzan and the Madman
  • Mal-gash (m.), king – Tarzan and the Madman
  • Sancho (m.), mangani name unknown – Tarzan and the Madman

Tribe of Molak

  • Akut (m.), later solitary – The Beasts of Tarzan; The Son of Tarzan
  • Molak (m.), king – The Beasts of Tarzan

Tribe of Toyat

  • Gayat or Ga-yat (m.) – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle; Tarzan and the Lost Empire; Tarzan the Invincible; Tarzan and the Leopard Men
  • Go-yad (m.), formerly of the tribe of Kerchak – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle; Tarzan and the Lost Empire
  • M'walot (m.) – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle
  • Toyat or To-yat (m.), king – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle; Tarzan the Invincible
  • Zutho or Zu-tho (m.), later king of the tribe of Zutho, later of the tribe of Ungo – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle; Tarzan and the Lost Empire; Tarzan the Invincible; Tarzan and the Leopard Men; Tarzan and the Forbidden City; Tarzan and the Madman

Tribe of Ungo (possibly the same as the earlier tribe of Zutho)

  • Ga-un (m.) – Tarzan and the Forbidden City; Tarzan and the Madman
  • Ungo (m.), king – Tarzan and the Forbidden City; Tarzan and the Madman
  • Zutho or Zu-tho (m.), formerly of the tribe of Toyat, formerly king of the tribe of Zutho – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle; Tarzan and the Lost Empire; Tarzan the Invincible; Tarzan and the Leopard Men; Tarzan and the Forbidden City; Tarzan and the Madman

Tribe of Zutho (split from the tribe of Toyat, possibly the same as the later tribe of Ungo)

  • Zutho or Zu-tho (m.), king, formerly of tribe of Toyat, later of the tribe of Ungo – Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle; Tarzan and the Lost Empire; Tarzan and the Leopard Men; Tarzan the Invincible; Tarzan and the Forbidden City; Tarzan and the Madman

Tribe of Zu-yad

Rogue (tribeless) Mangani

  • Toog (m.) – Jungle Tales of Tarzan

As a language[edit]

The Mangani language is depicted as a primal universal language shared by a number of primate species in addition to the Mangani themselves, including monkeys (Jungle Tales of Tarzan and others), Indonesian orangutans (Tarzan and the Foreign Legion), and the more man-like Sagoths of Pellucidar (Tarzan at the Earth's Core). In the later Tarzan novels, Tarzan is actually shown conversing in Mangani with his monkey companion Nkima more often than with the Mangani themselves. Other jungle animals are depicted as being able to understand it to varying degrees.

The language as described by Burroughs is made up largely of grunts and growls representing nouns and various basic concepts. The bestial quality of the speech, however, does not come through in the rather large lexicon of Mangani words Burroughs actually provides. The depicted language can be thought of as bearing a relationship to the described language similar to that of the movies' euphonious "Tarzan yodel" to the books' terrifying "victory cry of the bull ape" from which it supposedly derives; the example in each instance falls short of embodying the description.

The word "mangani" is a compound, with man meaning "great" or "large" and gani meaning "ape" (or perhaps "people"). With modifications, the term is also applied to humans, gomangani ("dark-great-people") for black-skinned humans and tarmangani ("light-great-people") for white-skinned humans, suggesting that the Mangani regard human beings as variations on their own type. Notably, gorillas do not seem to be regarded as "man" gani, but as a different type of "people," bolgani ("flat" or "earth-bound people").

Some examples (with translation) of Burroughs' Mangani words follow.

  • Tarzan = White-skin
  • Mangani = Great Ape (also refers to humans)
  • tarmangani = "Great White Apes," i.e., white-skinned people, such as Tarzan himself
  • gomangani = "Great Black Apes," i.e., dark-skinned people,
  • bolgani = "Flat [earth-bound] Apes," i.e., gorillas.
  • nala = up
  • tand-nala = down
  • Kreegah bundolo = "Beware; (I) kill!"
  • Kagoda = "Surrender" (depending upon the inflection used, the word can be a demand for surrender or a concession of surrender)
  • Numa = Lion

Mangani in other media[edit]

Attempts to portray the Mangani outside the medium of their origin have varied.

The Tarzan comic strip and comic books generally have no difficulty in visualizing them according to Burroughs' vision, though the Tarzan comic books published by Malibu Comics in the early 1990s suggested the Mangani were a variety of Sasquatch.

In the live-action Tarzan films they have generally been represented by a token individual, Cheeta, a chimpanzee. The chief exception is the 1984 Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, which adheres closely to Burroughs' description; in this film, adult Mangani are portrayed by human actors in ape costumes, while the roles of immature Mangani are taken by chimps. (Inexplicably, the Mangani language is not used in the film, with sub-titles or otherwise, and as a result the name "Tarzan" is used nowhere in the film, except in the title.)

Walt Disney Pictures' 1999 animated feature film Tarzan, its sequels, and the television series The Legend of Tarzan based on it, portray the apes who raised Tarzan as gorillas. The only use of the term Mangani in the television series is as the proper name of an individual white ape who glows and possesses mystical powers.

Poems in Mangani have been written by members of the Oulipo group, like Jacques Jouet, Jacques Roubaud, or Hervé Le Tellier.

Other uses[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

General[edit]

Lexicons[edit]