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Aspects of style and meaning in the analysis of a Hausa Poem

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2009

Extract

Much of modern Hausa verse is either didactic in tone or is written in praise of God, a person, or a political party. Didacticism and praise are often seen as separate descriptive labels for poetry, song or other forms of verbal art. Yet treatment of topic may in fact be very similar in didactic and in praise poetry; certainly in Hausa this is the case. The aspect of treatment that shows this similarity is the association of the message/theme/topic with words conveying the ideas ‘good’, ‘worth’, ‘quality’ or words indicating their opposites ‘bad’, ‘worthlessness’, ‘lack of quality’. This association is made rather in the way that a product is sold by being linked by the advertiser to things ‘attractive’, ‘of value’, ‘of use’, etc., except that the valueloaded words in Hausa are drawn from a moral and religious code very different from those ‘codes’used to sell soap.

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Copyright
Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 1982

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