Guddiri Studies

ISBN 978-3-89645-103-3

Guddiri Studies

Languages and Rock Paintings in Northeastern Nigeria

Edited by: Wilhelm Seidensticker †, Michael Broß, Ahmad Tela Baba. With a preface by: Norbert Cyffer. With an introduction by: Wilhelm Seidensticker †, Ahmad Tela Baba, Michael Bross. With contributions by: Ahmad Tela Baba, Michael Broß, Yusuf Mtaku, Hajara Njidda, Wilhelm Seidensticker †. Series edited by: Herrmann Jungraithmayr, Norbert Cyffer.

Series: Westafrikanische Studien Volume 16

1997
175 pp.
6 maps, 73 illustrations
Text language(s): English
Format: 160 x 240 mm
300 g
Paperback
€ 24.80

The present volume has been dedicated to the memory of Wilhelm Seidensticker (1938–1996). It contains five contributions by Nigerian and German scientists on the history of language and culture of the Guddiri region in Northeastern Nigeria. Being situated between the powerful Hausa city states westwards and the kingdom of Borno eastwards, the Guddiri region functions as a sort of buffer zone and has been exposed to frequent changes in prevailing economical and social circumstances during the last centuries.

The linguistic and cultural changes are examined on the basis of three different kinds of sources: Firstly, linguistic sources are taken into account, among them ancient word lists which have been discovered only recently. Another source material is oral traditions which were recorded by civil servants of the colonies at the beginning of the century. And finally, the well-known rock paintings found in the regions of Bauchi, Birnin Kudu, Shira and Uba in Northeastern Nigeria serve as the third kind of source material for this study.

CONTENTS

Norbert Cyffer:
In Memoriam Wilhelm Seidensticker (1938–1996)

Ahmad Tela Baba:
Lexicographical Approach to the History of Language Movement in the Guddiri Hausa Speaking Area

Michael Broß:
Some Remarks on the History of the Extinct Languages Auyo, Shira and Teshena

Wilhelm Weidensticker:
The Rock Paintings and Rock Gongs of Shira

Hajara Njidda:
TA GHENCIDU – Study of Marghi Rock Paintings

Christopher Yusuf Mtaku:
The Rock Paintings of Birnin Kudu, Geji, and Bauchi

Bibliography

Reviews

Among the publications on African tradition which in the last few decades were mostly related to the reconstruction of languages, the book under review is unique for two reasons. First, in searching for the history of African people not only languages but also other aspects of their cultural life are taken into consideration. Second, mere linguistic features are not related to the development of particular languages but are interpreted in terms of language contacts which are characteristic of the situation in the region discussed. Last but not least, the book presents the results of work done within the joint project in which African and European scholars contribute their knowledge and experience on interpretation of African tradition. Such an attitude towards the question of studying the history for which we do not have written sources is an interesting proposal for the methodology in African studies [...]
Concluding, it can be stated that the book indicates the lack of written sources does not prevent reliable reconstructions, whether of linguistic or other types. “Guddiri Studies” is a painstaking study of this kind, containing thorough analysis, oral tradition supports linguistc data, the latter make historical facts manifested in rock paintings credible.

Nina Pawlak in Afrika und Übersee, 81/1998, pp. 312-314

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