Revisiting the Classifications of Hausa Dialects

 Citation: Nazir Ibrahim Abbas (2023). Waiwaye A Kan Rabe-Raben Kare-Karen Harshen Hausa Na Yamma. Sch Int J Linguist Lit, 6(7): 287-295.

Nazir Ibrahim Abbas, Ph.D.
Department of Nigerian Languages,
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
email: ibrahimabbasnazir@gmail.com
Gsm: +234 8060431934


Scholars have divergent views on the classifications of Hausa dialects. Their classifications were based on the Hausa dialects' linguistic features and the geographical locations of the dialects in the Hausa land. Bargery (1934) was the first scholar who classifies the Hausa dialects into two broad divisions of Eastern and Western Hausa dialects in the introduction of his famous dictionary. He made the classification based on their common linguistic features and their regional or geographical locations. Most of the subsequent research of scholars conducted after Bargery’s 1934 dictionary followed the same footsteps of the Eastern and Western dialects classifications, though some scholars had different views on the individual dialects constituting the earlier two broad divisions. Some of the works of these scholars include; Jaggar (1945), Muhammad (1978), Abubakar (1982), Amfani (1993), Bello (1992), Musa (1995), Fagge (2002), Sani (2003), Yakasai (2006), Muhammad (2010), Bello (2015), Musa (2015) and Bello (2016). However, the research works of Ahmed and Daura (1970), Malka (1978), Wurma (2005), and Zulyadaini (2005) on the other hand classified Hausa dialects on the basis of major and minor dialects. They argued that the dialects are supposed to be classified and studied based on popularity and populations of speakers. In essence, the population of speakers of a dialect determines its status of being either a major or a minor Hausa dialect. This paper attempts to make a critical review of the scholars' classifications of Hausa regional dialects of Eastern and Western Hausa dialect divisions with a view to highlighting some of the neglected Western Hausa dialects found in Nigeria today that were not earlier considered in the scholars' two broad divisions. The data of this research was sourced mostly from the Hausa dialect works conducted by scholars and researchers. The research discovered that the earlier classification of individual Western Hausa dialects made by scholars was too narrow, which resulted in merging a number of independent Hausa Western dialects into one, instead of classifying the dialects and studying each dialect independently and broadly.

Keywords: Hausa Dialects, Linguistic Features, Geographical Locations, Classification of Dialects

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