Cover image for An English-Hausa dictionary
An English-Hausa dictionary
Newman, Roxana Ma.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
xxi, 327 pages ; 26 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PL8233 .N49 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



"Hausa students and Hausaphiles now have an English-Hausa dictionary that is readily available, attractively produced and quite attractively priced, and more comprehensive than any English-based dictionary for an African language...A magnificent accomplishment that promises to serve a wide variety of purposes. It establishes both precedent and an excellent model that one hopes will be followed for other less commonly taught languages." -William R. Leben, Modern Language Journal This is a modern comprehensive dictionary designed specifically for English-speaking users who wish to acquire communicative fluency in Hausa, West Africa's most important and most widely spoken language. The dictionary contains a broad selection of words that the average person is likely to need in speaking and writing Hausa for everyday use. Included are common technical terms drawn from a range of fields, as well as generally accepted borrowings from English and French. The entries are divided into meaning groups and grammatical categories, marked clearly by semantic and usage indicators to help the user distinguish between the various meanings. Numerous phrases, sentences, and common idiomatic expressions illustrate conversational usage and provide culturally informative contexts. The easy to read typography marks lexical and grammatical distinctions of tone and vowel length for every Hausa word in the dictionary. The introduction provides concise information on various points of Hausa grammar. Useful appendixes include pronoun paradigms, pronunciation guides to Hausa place names and personal names, an index of Nigerian and international organizations, and a description of the currencies of Nigeria and Niger. An English-Hausa Dictionary will be an invaluable guide for students, research scholars, translators, and people with educational business, or governmental ties in West Africa who are interested in learning the language and culture of one of that area's most dynamic societies. It will be equally useful to non-Hausa speaking Africans who want to learn Hausa. In general, the innovative design features of this book will set a new standard for pedagogically oriented reference works of African languages. "A valuable resource for scholars and students of linguistic and African languages and literature...It is highly recommended for use in academic and research libraries. Newman and her editorial staff deserve to be congratulated." -Felix Eme Unaeze, American Reference Books Annual

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Hausa dictionaries are almost all unidirectional, a common characteristic of African lexicons, so most works are from Hausa to English only. An exception is Neil Skinner's Kamus na Hausa da Turanci (Zaria, 1965), but Skinner's work is directed toward the Hausa themselves, students who wish to improve their English (though it has been used as a guide by English speakers for years). Newman's dictionary is thus unique, one intended for the English speaker wishing to learn Hausa. The result is a work very different from Skinner's. Through a system of symbols she takes into account some of the most difficult aspects of the language, notably plurality and the complex verbal grade system, both major hurdles for Hausa learners. Hausa definitions are marked for tone and length, a feature that will obviously aid pronunciation. Using abundant examples, especially for idiomatic uses, Newman has produced an eminently useful dictionary for the serious Hausa student. Added to the dictionary are useful appendixes including pronoun paradigms, pronunciation of Hausa personal names, a pronouncing gazetteer of Nigeria and Niger, as well as foreign names and a description of the currency systems of Nigeria and Niger. This is a major work, suitable for libraries where African studies or linguistics are taught. -D. Westley, Boston University