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The Role Of Comparative/Historical Linguistics In Reconstructing The Past: What Borrowed And Inherited Words Tell Us About The Early History Of Hausa

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reinforces the importance of linguistic input from comparative reconstruction, and is aimed principally at non-linguists whose knowledge and understanding of the methodologies used, of family tree models and the genetic classification of Hausa, vary considerably in author experience. It focuses on Hausa loanwords, especially borrowings from Berber, it also illustrates how historical events can be revealed by careful scrutiny and comparison, by professional linguists, of a range of relevant vocabulary-based data. The chapter demonstrates how the developmental history of Hausa culture and contact is mirrored in individual words which carry an important historical signal. Identifying clusters of features in the shape of lexical and morphological evidence derived from the traditional methods of historical/comparative linguistics can produce plausible generalisations and helps to get a relative fix on when and from where words first entered the language.

Keywords: Berber; Hausa culture; historical linguistics



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