Publisher: University of Port Harcourt

Aspects of The Phonology of Hausa Ideophones

Abubakar Muhammad
KEYWORDS: Phonology, Hausa, Ideophones


The paper examines the phonological properties of ideophones in Hausa. Of interest, here, are the canonical syllable structure, consonant and vowel types, consonant-vowel repetitive system, reduplication types and the associated meanings. Central to these are definable characteristic patterns depicted and possible role of tone. This system is then contrasted with the phonology of the rest of the language and the implications thereof. In Hausa, as in symbolic words in the language generally, there is a direct correlation between sounds and the meaning they convey. Generally, this is achieved via tonology, vowel singularity/ lengthening and reduplication. In drawing a comparison between the phonology of ideophones and the rest of the lexicon, we delineated clear differences and similarities. In a nutshell, it is found that ideophones constitute a class of words which are phonologically different from other words in the matrix language. The present study has added more weight to the findings obtained in Parson’s (1955) study of Abstract Nouns of Sensory qualities and Amfani’s (1984) research on Abstract Nouns of Game, both carried out on Hausa, that certain word classes in Hausa depict peculiar phonological properties.

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