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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Towards a Hausa Verbal Aesthetic: Aspects of Language about Using Language
Authors:Hunter, Linda
Oumarou, Chaibou E.
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies
Geographic terms:Niger
language usage
Hausa language
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13696819808717832
Abstract:This paper examines the terminology of Hausa metalanguage in verbal art, the discourse about language in verbal art, and the social function of that discourse in Hausa society (Niger, Nigeria). The primary sources are Hausa proverbs, oral narratives, the language of the Hausa 'bori' ritual (possession trance), and the language used in the performances of two contemporary Hausa poets from Niger - Zabia Hussei and Ali na Maliki. The authors show that Hausa verbal artists are acutely aware of their language and their ability to create with language. In their process of creation, which converts ordinary language into something extraordinary, they frequently create a discourse about language itself. The verses in praise of the 'bori' spirit Mai Dara indicate that the voice of the spirit is very powerful. Seen as a metaphorical discourse about language, the verses proclaim that language is so powerful that it must be used judiciously. Its power can and sometimes should be tempered by rechannelling it, by having a spokesperson intervene. Poets like Zabia Hussei and Ali na Maliki create metalanguage by using images such as the building of fences, forging and farming to allude to the process of poetic creation. These examples illustrate how language is categorized, how to define ideal language behaviour, and how to conceive a Hausa verbal aesthetic. Bibliogr., sum.