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More Rural Than Urban? The Religious Content And Functions Of Hausa Proverbs And Hausa Verbal Compounds

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the religious content and functions of Hausa proverbs and verbal compounds. Proverbs and verbal compounds are an excellent example of how language transmits culture, often retaining phrases from a previous era. The chapter discusses the description of the non-teaching activities of Hausa malamai which, perhaps surprisingly, involve activities that are not sanctioned by Islam and would seem to originate in Hausa pagan religion. The chapter focuses on the religious images found in the proverbs. The structure of the English compound forget-me-not parallels the Hausa verbal compounds examined in the chapter. The fact that explicit religious elements are not common in Hausa proverbs and verbal compounds raises the question as to whether the mainly rural images found in these phrases evoke non-Islamic religious sentiments or practices.

Keywords: Hausa proverbs; Hausa verbal compounds; religious content; rural images



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