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El-Shazly, Mohamed Helal Ahmed Sheref (1987) The provenance of Arabic loan-words in Hausa: A phonological and semantic study. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis consists of an Introduction, three Chapters, and an Appendix. The corpus was obtained from the published dictionaries of Hausa together with additional material I gathered during a research visit to Northern Nigeria. A thorough examination of Hausa dictionaries yielded a large number of words of Arabic origin. The authors had not recognized all of these, and it was in no way their purpose to indicate whether the loan was direct or indirect; the dictionaries do not always give the Arabic origin, and sometimes their indications are inaccurate. The whole of my corpus amounts to some 4000 words, which are presented as an appendix. The entries show the tones and vowel lengths of the words, which do not appear in Hausa orthography, but are in general related to the syllable structure of their Arabic origins. The Arabic items are given in transliteration. Meanings and examples are given for the Hausa items, and for the corresponding Arabic items as fully as is deemed relevant. Items have not always come directly from Arabic, and wherever possible their most likely source has been indicated. A large part of the research was given to this part of the work, and it has been thought desirable to present this corpus in full as a necessary part of the thesis, without which the rest would be much less intelligible. Chapter 1, concerning the historical side suggests that the amount of influence in Northern Nigeria direct from Arabs is much less than has been alleged, and is far exceeded by that of Kanuri, Tuareg, Songhai and Fulani teachers. They came, of course not to bring the Arabic language but to spread Islam, and it was Islam that brought the Arabic language and culture. The Arabic and Hausa languages have different phonological systems and Chapter 2 sets out how these differences affected the borrowed items in Hausa, and points to the great complexity of the relations. Chapter 3 attempts to show how far the loan-words retained their meanings in Arabic and how far these meanings changed in their new environments. It would be impossible in one thesis to deal with all the items, and attention has been focused on the development of Hausa personal names. In many cases the Arabic origins were personal names but in some instances Hausa names have been evolved from other areas e.g. Arabic words for numerals and for days of the week and months of the year. This new and independent development in Hausa is a common feature regarding most loans from Arabic.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:04

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