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Rethinking Orient

In Search of Sources and Inspirations


Edited By Adam Bednarczyk, Magdalena Kubarek and Maciej Szatkowski

The contributions in this book address a vast variety of questions concerning the sources and mutual inspirations in Oriental and European literatures. The authors discuss selected texts from both historical and synchronic perspectives. They reveal and scrutinise the sedimented layers in their search for the original as well as for the repetitive and universal. The book revolves around the creative reception of one’s own cultural heritage and of works which originated in other cultures.

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The Graphic System as a Matter of Choice for Hausa Poets (Jibril Shu’aibu Adamu)


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Jibril Shu’aibu Adamu

Bayero University, Kano Nigeria

The Graphic System as a Matter of Choice for Hausa Poets*

Abstract: Arabic-based script, ajami, has been used in Hausaland for centuries before the introduction of Roman-based script boko by the colonial administrators at the beginning of the 20th century, which eventually, due to sociopolitical factors, became the official script for writing the Hausa language. Currently, Hausa language can be said to be in a digraphic situation, which is the co-existence of two different scripts for the representation of this language. The aim is to investigate whether the educational background of a poet in Hausa society has any relevance in determining the type of script to be applied in writing poetry. The analysis is based on eight poets, four using the ajami script and four using the boko script to write down their poems.

Key words: Ajami script, Boko script, digraphia, Hausa poets, educational background


Genealogically, Hausa is the most prominent member of the Chadic language family of the Afro-Asiatic phylum of languages. Hausa is spoken by well over 80 million people, principally in northern areas of Nigeria, and adjacent areas of the southern Niger Republic as well as in other West African countries and beyond (Cohen1, ← 233 | 234 → Al-Naqar & Naqar2, Adamu,3 Works4, Lovejoy5, Wolff6, Abu-Manga7,8, Curtin9, Wolff10, Youngstedt11,12, Pawlak13, Abaka14, Falola & Heaton15, Ahmed16). Hausa is one of the three major Nigerian17...

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