The Hausa lexicographic tradition

  • R Newman
  • P Newman


Hausa, a major language of West Africa, is one of the most widely studied languages of Sub-Saharan Africa. It has a rich lexicographic tradition dating back some two centuries. Since the first major vocabulary published in 1843 up to the present time, almost 60 lexicographic works — dictionaries, vocabularies, glossaries — have been published, in a range of metalanguages, from English to Hausa itself. This article traces the historical development of the major studies according to their type and function as general reference works, specialized works, pedagogical works, and terminological works. For each work, there is a general discussion of its size, accuracy of the phonological, lexical, and grammatical information, and the adequacy of its definitions and illustrative material. A complete list of the lexicographic works is included. Keywords: arabic, bilingual lexicography, dialectal variants, dictionaries, english, etymologies, french, german, glossaries, grammatical categories, hausa, language learning, loanwords, neologisms, Niger, Nigeria, orthography, phonetic transcription, phonology, russian, standard dialect, standardization, terminology, vocabularies, west Africa.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904