Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hyperbole As The Peak Of Stylistic Adornment In Hausa Oral Songs

The study area of this paper is hyperbole in Hausa oral songs. In contemporary Hausa studies, it is named Kambamar Zulaƙe (exaggeration or overstatement). In the study of the style under review, it is discovered that the literal and technical meaning of hyperbole is far beyond exaggeration or overstatement. It is a popular style, deeply rooted in all the categories of Hausa oral songs. It traces in the most prominent styles in Hausa oral songs and its popularity in dispensing ideas and presenting facts in singing profession is a good point to be considered. The contextual meanings of hyperbole Hausa oral songs present it as evidently beyond mere exaggeration. In folkloric point of view, many of the said statements are well protected in worldview…

Hyperbole As The Peak Of Stylistic Adornment In Hausa Oral Songs

Aliyu Muhammadu Bunza
Department of Nigerian Languages
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto            0803 431 6508

Being a lead paper presented at the 3rd Annual Conference and 12th NFS Congress organized by Nigerian Folkloric Society, Center for Research in Nigerian Languages and Folklore, Bayero University, Kano, with the theme: Oral Poetry In Nigeria: Prospects And Challenges In The 21st Century, Monday, October 26th - 27th, 2015 at Musa Abdullahi Auditorium, Bayero University, Kano.

The study area of this paper is hyperbole in Hausa oral songs. In contemporary Hausa studies, it is named Kambamar Zulaƙe (exaggeration or overstatement). In the study of the style under review, it is discovered that the literal and technical meaning of hyperbole is far beyond exaggeration or overstatement. It is a popular style, deeply rooted in all the categories of Hausa oral songs. It traces in the most prominent styles in Hausa oral songs and its popularity in dispensing ideas and presenting facts in singing profession is a good point to be considered. The contextual meanings of hyperbole Hausa oral songs present it as evidently beyond mere exaggeration. In folkloric point of view, many of the said statements are well protected in worldview and folkloric opinions. In this view, the idea of Kambamar Zulaƙe must be revisited to capture the true meaning of Kambama under the rating scale of prominent and potential Hausa oral singers. In this respect, ten rating scales were carefully looked into through twenty relevant examples from ten popular Hausa oral singers across Hausaland. The study recognizes traces of hyperbole/Kambamar Zulaƙe in all the prominent styles in Hausa oral songs. In addition, its presence in any style would make the style bold and exalted in the said song. It is discovered that, the masterpieces of all prominent Hausa oral singers use hyperbole style to enhance the profile of their art. In the opinion of this paper, hyperbolic adornment is the apex of stylistic pyramid in Hausa oral song. Hyperbole, once it is employed, is the seal of stylistic adornment, after which no embellishment necessarily counts. Finally, I conclude by saying hyperbole is the masterpiece of all styles in Hausa oral performances.

          In all the segments of Hausa Oral performance, Oral Songs are the most popularly exalted arts in the history of Hausa Folklore. Singing is of course a very widely spread culture across the human race regardless of age, gender and social status. Traces of oral songs are well pronounced in folktales, legends, myths, histories, storytelling, proverbs, riddles and jokes, ceremonies, rituals and certain religious activities. In the historical origin and development of Hausa society from time immemorial to the present period, oral songs dominated a very great significant aspects of the socio-economic, political, religious and security awareness in the community. Professional oral singers are the custodian and preservers of the political culture and the great treasury of the people’s socio-economic heritage. My paper intends to study one prominent but neglected as well as misunderstood aspect of style in Hausa Oral songs in the name of “hyperbolic expression” which I believe to be the umbilical cord of poetic messages in oral entertainments. The nearest meaning of ‘hyperbolism’ in Hausa is “Kambamar Zulaƙe’. Kambama is “exaggeration” and Zulaƙe stands for “hyperbole” or “overstatements” in poetic adornment. However, in my argument, the paper sees the concept far beyond ‘Zulaƙe’ in its technical input and grammatically above “Kambama” in its contextual functions in the styles of Hausa Oral songs. Thus, the discussion is addressed in the following context.

Hausa Oral Songs:
          Two forms of songs dominated Hausa song repertoire; oral and written. The former originated from pre-historic era possibly dated back to the beginning of Hausa society itself; while the later was a recent development perhaps with the introduction of writing and reading culture in Hausaland by the Muslim and Christian missionaries. In the modern study of Hausa poetry, the duo are named as oral song and literate verse respectively. Historically, the whole business of Hausa songs was oral and it was from the oral, that the so-called literate verse emerged. In Hausa language “wak’a” is the literal term for both categories. The term “mawaqi” “singer” applies to both segments. Though the two shared many things in common to the extent that, up till now, critics and scholars of both Hausa songs are yet to come up with any serious dissimilarities in the context and style of oral and written songs. However, this study is specifically on oral songs in Hausa, and hence all the relevant examples would be drawn from the desired target.

Hausa Perception of Songs and Singing:
          Hausa perception of “song” is far beyond the mere literal meaning of “singing a song”. Poetry is accepted to be a well constructed grammatical expression in a very beautiful melody pronounced or recited in a charming voice to convey a message to the audience and entertain them. This may be a fair definition of “Song” “wak’a” in Hausa. However, it also contains other socio-cultural definitions such as:
(i)               A consistently empty promise made.
(ii)             Un-redeemed pledges with no hope to clear it up. 
(iii)          Hopeless prayers/hearsay or a dream that never was.
(iv)           Exaggerated expressions in folklore.
(v)             Dramatized story, history, tale or fictitious events.
(vi)           Foregone issue being revisited with no impact.
(vii)        Pleasant voice in recitation of a message or prophecy.
(viii)      Pronouncement conveyed with the aid of musical instrument.
(ix)           Song/ poem.

Folkloric concept of song in Hausa society is beyond mere entertainment. Adorned statements, expressions, hopeful and hopeless assumptions, are parts of the extended meaning of “Song” in Hausa. To punctuate this jungle of definitions of a song in Hausa context it can be summed up as: a song may be the true art of a singer or whatever is beautified to capture the mind of the listeners or audience; or what cannot be ascertained, like mere political or misleading statements.
          A singer is though considered a great philosopher and a teacher with versatile experiences of human problems and solutions; he is accepted as a gifted person, learned in the exchange of ideas and the dispensation of knowledge to the appropriate audience. A singer is considered to be a man of the people in his art and always a solid reference to the community through the prophecy of his art and the philosophical assessments in his master piece and popular songs. In this view, a singer is a great man in the society as his art are committed and well preserved in the mind of elders, intelligent and right thinking people in the society. In a nut shell, everybody is a singer when it comes to expression of wisdom and adopting worldviews in apprehending issues at stake. We all sing to remember certain issues, forget calamity, reduce anxiety, refresh our memory and thought, accept or contest issues at stake. Singing culture largely dominated major aspects of our folkloric activities from ancient period to the present civilized era of development. Therefore, minus singing we are alone, if not hollow. We either sing to dispense messages of our beloved professional singers or we sing to confront challenges in our routine activities or to correct anomalies confronting our progress. In human tradition, a wicked person is too reserved, very isolated, and always mute in ugly shape. Should he try singing or listen to songs these bad moods must disappear. The best antidote for anger is laughing and smiling, which are the central messages in singing. The Hausa saying: “ban tava jin wak’ar wane ba” (I never heard him singing) means he is wicked to the highest order. Therefore, without singers and songs, the atmosphere is assumed to be unfriendly and the affected community remains a difficult environment to enjoy.

Style in Oral Songs:
The art of singing is a gifted wisdom granted to very few individuals in the society. To compose a song means to create an idea carefully studied and verified with relevant facts as it takes up the task of confronting challenges and providing counter arguments. Thus, the building bricks of a potential singer are the scientific facts in his orature, and popular philosophies of the great philosophers. These materials would be reduced into poetic language to form a pyramid which we call song. The process of diluting these great ideas to convey the appropriate messages in poetic devices is what is known as styles. These styles are adornments which build up a well constructed poetic pyramid of any serious song. In the struggle to create any attractive style within the styles of pyramids, hyperbole would be the terminal adornment which this paper considered “the apex of the pyramid”. Hyperbole style is a basket of poetic styles; all the prominent poetic styles are within its territory hence its traces are very common in enhancing colours to the study area in songs. Styles are the techniques and methodologies of injecting poetic ideas into the minds of listeners. It is from the attributes of the styles that we accept or reject the idea chanted in a song. It is the style’s technique that makes audience to laugh, cry, shout, or even run mad in words and actions. Anything provocative in a song has something to do with its style. It is the beauty of the style that makes a song to answer its name as song and not a grammatical in flow of speech or lecture. In the whole district of style, hyperbole is the district head in the province of oral song. I very much pray that from today’s discussions, hyperbole would be upgraded to kingdom in the historic land of Hausa oral songs.

Hyperbolic Adornment:
          After a very thorough and careful study of hyperbolic expression in Hausa oral songs from different categories of Hausa Songs by Hausa oral singers and varieties of their songs; I discovered that hyperbolized expression in its literal meaning is an exaggeration or overstatement. Exaggeration is the act of exaggerating; overstatements; hyperbole. The verb “exaggerate” is to describe or represent beyond the bound of truth; to over state or to increase or enlarge immoderately. In the art of folklore, hyperbole is a poetic or rhetorical over statement.
          In Hausa oral songs, hyperbole is named “Kambama” and at its extreme end it is popularly named ‘Kambamar Zulaƙe”. In Hausa literary studies, hyperbolic expressions are very common in oral songs and fictitious works. “Kambamar Zulaƙe” refers to an expression or statement beyond the bound of human imagination, scientifically contestable, and indeed completely impossible. In literary studies, these are marked as stylistic devices to beautify poetic expressions in the event of entertainment.
          Hyperbolic expressions are intentional statements, purposely concocted by the singer to express the extent of his feeling, assessments or knowledge of the subject under review. it is the apex of stylistic pyramid in Hausa oral songs. Hyperbolic statements in Hausa oral songs are purposely staged in the performance to demonstrate any of the following:
(i)               To elaborate issues beyond any shadow of doubt.
(ii)             To beautify statements in poetic assessment.
(iii)          To add more colour in decorating and enlarging a point or fact under review.
(iv)           To attract attention of audience to the very point in the song.
(v)             To perfectly demonstrate facts in the singer’s poetic opinion.
(vi)           To entertain the audience accurately and satisfactorily.
(vii)        To demonstrate language expertise in the art.
(viii)      To express the extent of the singer’s poetic analysis and level of commitments in the very song.
(ix)           To mark the apex and extreme boundaries of stylistics adornments in the very subject of the song.

Traces of Hyperbolic Adornment in Hausa Oral Song:
          In poetic opinion, hyperbolic adornment is not exaggeration nor can it be condemned as half-truth or overstatement as per its literal meaning in relation to the content of the message therein. In each hyperbolic statement, the poet makes a special observation on the cultural values attached to it. In the stylistics analysis of Hausa oral songs, hyperbolic adornments appear under the guise of:
1.     Praising.
2.     Condemning.
3.     Evaluation.
4.     Narrating tale/story/history.
5.     Expertise.
6.     Impact.
7.     Supernatural.
8.     Death.
9.     Boasting and Swanking statements.
10. Religion

          Praise songs composed by praise singers are fond of many traces of hyperbolic adornments especially in praising heroes in their professional right. To praise any hero, certain qualities of braveness are usually escalated to add more weight to his personality and capability. Bawa ‘Dan’anace’s words in praising Muhammadu Shago ‘Yarkahoji the leading hero in the world of traditional boxing in Hausaland had the following colours:
Jagora:        Lahira a kai miki gawa
          :Yaro hattaranka ga sababi nan
          :Ka da aradu ta far ma
          :Halan dai ba ka san halin
          :Qanen ajali ba?
          :Sannu da d’ibas shed’a
          :Mutuwa ke daxe kina kashe bayi
          :In da lahira ana aza dambe
          :Da Wanakiri ya ji wal! Ga gaba nai.

Leader:        Netherworld recipients of expire body
:Oh you boy! Be aware of advancing tragedy
:Lest the thunder bolt fall on your (head)
:Aren’t you aware of the brutality of minor death?
:I salute you! For the fatal instances wickedly conducted
:Mr. Death you have the records of a very long tragic episode
:Should there be a chance to stage boxing in the hereafter
:The body of (angel) Wanakir would suffer the severity of your punch!         

          What a wonderful adornment for a boxer to be named “world beyond”, “tragedy”, “thunder”, “minor death”, just to praise his braveness and brutal action in physical confrontation. All these statements portray the consequences awaiting challenges and dear contestants by the anticipated tragic end in the contest. The worse terminal consequence of any war or physical confrontation is “death” and so the name of the hero. Who would dare to meet such a terrible end unceremoniously? The objective is to distinguish the hero with all the best and highest qualities of greatness in the human world. In ‘Dan’anace’s assessment Shago is a mysterious conqueror and the only hero during his hay days. In this respect, the apex of the pyramid in boxing profession is being reached by the boxer Shago.
          Alhaji Gambo Fagada the notorious praise singer of thieves uses varieties of hyperbolic statements in praise of his men in the dirty business. The song of Manu Dahin Gumbire most exalted brigand in the Western region of Hausaland, Gambo master piece, Manu surpasses all the highway bandits as per his courage, fearlessness and confidence in the highway operation. Gambo addresses the client in the following terms:
Jagora:        Ko bataliyas soja
          :Tas shiga daji in hwad’a maka
          :Manu Dahi na xan taya ta.

Leader         :Even if a military platoon (troop) were to
          :Enter the thick forest/bush (Manu’s abode)
          :Manu will try his luck to chase it.

          The highest security measure in any civilized society is the one provided by the military. Police and the rest of security personnel are meant to monitor internal security and arrest any unwanted situation. It is only when these able personnel were overpowered and run back for dear life, that military would be invited to extinguish the wonderful booming flame and restore peace at all cost. In Gambo’s opinion, the fire brigade approach and military style of soldiers in wars and battles is like a child’s play to Manu Dahi provided they meet in the bush while he is on duty (robbery) on a particular road. A criminal who can single handedly chase a military battalion out of a forest while conducting robbery is certainly unbelievable. The apex of security pyramid is military and in Gambo’s evaluation Manu Dahi dominated the game by his courageous effort to disarm the team and operate successfully. What a wonderful Manu Dahi and his intelligent singer!

          In an attempt to praise (anything) singers do condemn its opposite to balance the poetic equation properly. The message content of condemnation is mostly as hyperbolic as in praising. Hyperbolic ingredients in condemnation would tell the audience how serious is the rating scale of the singer to the subject under review. During the field work research of this paper, I met a 4 - 6 year old boy at Birnin Kebbi ‘Yaryara area singing a song to a rival friend saying:
Jagora:        Kai kac ce ƙanenka ba raggo ne ba
                   :Tarmani yar riqe shi sauro yam marai
                   :Kai ku riƙe shi kar takaici ya kashe shi.

Leader:        You did mentioned that your younger brother is not a weakling?  
          :How comes an ant held him up and (Mr.) mosquito slapped him
          :Oh my dear! Hold him (properly) it is sad, let him not die from lamentation.

          In Hausa society, a weakling is a calamity to the whole family and nobody wants to be recognized as a lazy guy. In all the categories of oral songs the lazy person used to be the target of attack and condemnation. Against all odds, a lazy man is incapable of managing his foolishness and stupid habit of poor performance at-least to survive in hardship. In Hausa perception, ants and mosquitoes, are the smallest creatures in the human world, it is obvious that even a frog or lizard can swallow hundreds of such creatures. However, our guest singer is saying that the idiot lazy guy is being trapped and bundled by an ant which invites mosquito to slap him up. What a terrible laziness indeed! Certainly, it is an un-imaginable tale, but a singer has all the rights to entertain his beloved audience. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing lower than this level of un-seriousness which is metaphorical comparison evinces. Therefore, the apex of the style is perfectly reached with this terminal example.
          In the songs of Gero Zartu Argungu a public singer, be coined an excellent example in the song “Ka Ji Rincimi”. His words in condemning an unnamed prostitute, was very hyperbolic in assessing her sexual life with very keen emphasis to her carnal unpleasant condition in the following:
Jagora:        Durin wance ko ƙafar katafila
Yara  :         Bai fi shi garace ba
Gindi :         Ka ji rincimi Allah koro da masoyina.

Leader:        The horrible cracks in her vagina
                    :Is worse than the ridges of caterpillar.

          How can this testimony be testified? The singer is at the extreme side, and the audience has nothing to add. Those who assess must be able to defend their position or else decline to do so. We cannot dispute the assessment by the experienced hand, but the level at which it is assessed is at the high side. The comparison is only to indicate the gravity of the situation and nothing else.

          Singing ministry is a school of high education; of evaluating facts and fallacies in human world. Oral singers mastered the art of evaluating what they believed in or what they loved to do or see, or the ideas they wish to present in their songs. As usual, master piece of many songs usually carry such messages. In the study of Hausa perception of beauty and love, Muhammadu Sani Xanbolxo punctuates the issues in details in his masterpiece: “Song of the Divorced” “Wak’ar Zaura”. In the ballad, Sani exposes traditional notion of the meaning of “beauty” and “handsome” in Hausa tradition which centered specifically on the length of the “nose” and colour of skin, sometimes accompanied with “golden eyes”. Sani being from the heart of Hausaland Zamfara hold the popular notion that “nose” is the best yard stick for women’s beauty. He narrates:
Jagora:        Farar fatat ta ka rud’a ni
          :Dun nar rice
          :Tsawon hancinta misali nai
                   :Ya kai mil goma misalin dogon hanci.
(Waƙar Zaura)

Leader:        I was confused by the white colour of her skin
          :I submitted to her unconditionally
          :The length of the nose as I see it
          :It is about ten miles that is the moderate believe you me!
Muhammadu Sani was enamored of the girl he falls in love with. Her nose was the only visible organ he recognized from the face. He managed to convince the lady to visit his family and they met the very day. He invited the wife of his elder brother to come and see her and possibly examine the class of the lady. The family gathered by the side of the entrance of hut/room (zaure) of the house facing the lady and the singer. The story goes:
Jagora:        Nac ce: “Kulu zo ga zaura na samu”
          :Tac ce: “Sai na ga ta Mamman in ta k’warai ta”
          :Nal lalla’bo ta tas shiga zaurenmu
          :Kulu tar ra’ba bakin darni
          :Tac ce:  “Bar kak ki da hutawa yarinya”  
          :Da zaurar tad d’aga hancinta
          :Da ta ture su da zaure duk sun fad’i.

Leader:        I said: “Kulu come and see the divorcee I got”
          :She said: “I must see her to ascertain her class”
          :I convinced her to enter into the hut
          :Kulu came along, with others to see her
          :She welcomed her: ”Lady how are you doing?”
          :When the divorcee raised her nose up to answer
          :The nose was about to pull down the family and the hut all together.

It is supposed to be; ‘When she raised her head up.” However, the singer was so blind of all the organs attached to her head, beside the attractive nose. Alas! The whole head is considered ‘nose’ and the only visible movable organ to the best of Xambalxo’s poetic opinion. All his actions in the said song are hyperbolic in nature, but the nose carries the highest expression.
          If you doubt the assessment of Sani Xambalxo as per the length of his beloved nose, now the evidence at the meeting with his family is a pointer to the fact mentioned. Of course, the aim is not to exaggerate the nose nor the beauty, but to convince the audience that: “Hankali ka gani ba ido ba”; “the sight is in the mind and not in the eyes”, if you fall in love with anything, it is difficult to give a fair, moderate, or accurate assessment of it. What you love much would always remain in your mind as a dream and it always appears in your eyes as the only object under the sky. The Hausa cultural perception of beauty is in the shape of the “nose” and, it must be reasonably long, approaching the lips and mouth. If the pyramid of beauty is the face, then for the face to be recommended as beautiful, its apex “the nose” must satisfy all the necessary cultural parameters. Indeed, Sani is not beyond the bounds of truth in his hyperbolic adornment of the nose of his dear lover. In actual sense, the nose is within the limit of the human level and up to the pass mark of Hausa cultural score card of beauty. In examination, the score for distinction grade is between 70-100, the gap between the figures is 30. But in scoring ‘A’ grade no special heed is paid to the extra 25 points, once you reach 70 it is as equal as score 100. What is wrong in adding extra points to the lady’s nose, hence she got the distinction grade of 70 points in Xambalxo’s assessment? The apex of beauty is the nose, minus the nose, it is a fail grade, but plus the nose, the sky is the limit. Thanks to Professor Xambalxo.

          In praise of experts and their handwork some elements of hyperbolic adornments are applied to balance the assessment. Professionals in crafts and industries had their professional singers who are well familiar with their professions and areas of their expertise. It is un-usual to praise an expert without adding extra colour to his area of specialization to entertain him, his professional colleagues and their clients. In a ceremonial song of “Tashe” Ayya Taqaji, the ‘Tashe’ singer elevated the position and the experience of Jikan Hako the chief of barbers of their village in the barbing profession as follows:
Jagora:        Jikan Hako Wanzamin wanzammai mutane
Yara:           Shi yaw wa kunkuru k’aho
                   :Sauro ya yi beli yax d’ebe mai

Leader:        Jikan Hako the barbers’ barber, oh my people!
                   :He conducts cupping to a tortoise
                   :And amputates mosquito’s uvula successfully

          The pointer here is to buttress the handwork of the barber and his wonderful records of experience. Cupping a tortoise is like cupping a stone which is un-precedented. Conducting successful uvula amputation on a mosquito is completely impossible. To be an expert, is to handle extra ordinary issues to a successful completion, and so the Jikan Hako in the barbing profession. The science of cupping is to reduce excess and wastage blood from the body. Where can this be possible at the back of a tortoise? Uvula is in the throat and way down to the middle of the neck. To catch or apprehend a mosquito is not a problem but to trace its neck and throat with naked eyes and human hands is out-rightly impossible, let alone the tools to conduct the alleged operation. All these attributes may be seen as hyperbolic, but the real message is to qualify Jikan Hako as a well skilled barber and also the leading figure in barbing profession in their domain.
          In the song of Amali Sububu we have a clear picture of hyperbolic adornment in narrating the expertise and the struggle of his careful driver. Their journey from Bauchi, and Borno to Kano was a very pleasant one. It was in Kano they met a serious hold up as he narrates:
Jagora:        Mun taso da Borno
          :Ga mu muna son mu kwan gida
          :Mun kawo cikin Kano
          :Mun ishe an yi go solon
          :Rannan na ga wautarka
Yara:           Wai kac ce ina za mu bi?
Gindi:          Mu zo ganin Shehu ya saba da canjin giya
                   :Da hawa da gangara duk bisa hankali za shi yi
Jagora:        Mun taso da Bauchi
          :Ga mu muna son mu kwana gida
                    :Munka biyo cikin Kano
          :Mun ishe an yi goslon
          :Rannan na ga laifin ka
Yara:           Wai ka ce ina zamu bi?
Gindi:          Mu zo ganin Shehu ya saba da canjin giya
                   :Da hawa da gangara duk bisa hankali za shi yi
Jagora:        Tafi rutsa cikin su!
Yara:           Shiga dai Allah Ya kama muna
Jagora:        Ta fi kutsa cikin su!
Yara:           Tafi dai Allah Ya kama muna
Gindi:          Mu zo ganin Shehu ya saba da canjin giya
                   :Da hawa da gangara duk bisa hankali za shi yi
Jagora:        ‘Yansanda suna faxin 
Yara:           Alhaji kak ka sava muna!
Jagora:        Mun ka hito cikin Kano
          :Nad duba cikin gilas
          :Dan nan nag ga motarsu
Yara:           An ce mai da mu za su yi
Gindi:          Mu zo ganin Shehu ya saba da canjin giya
                   :Da hawa da gangara duk bisa hankali za shi yi
Jagora:        In sun mai da mu Kano ko
                   :Kul suka mai da mu Kano
Yara:           Duka ba ka oda sukai
Jagora:        To da su mai da mu Kano
Yara:           Gara ka je da mu lahira!
Gindi:          Mu zo ganin Shehu ya saba da canjin giya
                   :Da hawa da gangara duk bisa hankali za shi yi
Jagora:        Yac ce dahe k’orenka
:Kuma dai kama bakin ka
:Kai dai kama yaranka
Yara:           Yau motar ga tashi ta kai
Gindi:          Mu zo ganin Shehu ya saba da canjin giya
                   :Da hawa da gangara duk bisa hankali za shi yi
Jagora:        Alhaji yag galale ta
Yara:           Hat tak kai garin yin hira
Jagora:        Alhaji ya azabe ta
Yara:           Hat ta kai ga tashi sama
Gindi:          Mu zo ganin Shehu ya saba da canjin giya
                   :Da hawa da gangara duk bisa hankali za shi yi
Jagora:        Sai babbansu yay yi tsawa
                    :Yac ce ku dakata ba mota ba ce
Yara:           Ashe aljannun qasar Bima ne.
Gindi:          Mu zo ganin Shehu ya saba da canjin giya
                   :Da hawa da gangara duk bisa hankali za shi yi

                    We left Borno
                   Aiming to reach home same day
                   As we reached Kano only to meet
                   A serious hold up
                   That day you behaved foolishly
                   You asked me, where to penetrate?
                   That day I was not pleased with you!
                   For asking me where to penetrate in?
                   Carry on and move in steadily
                   In God’s name we would be through
                   Fire on and move ahead courageously
                   We pray for God’s helping hand
                   Police are cautioning your action
                   “Alhaji mind your driving!”
                   As we came out from Kano
                   I peep through the mirror
                   I saw their car chasing us
                   To drive back to Kano again!
                   If we accept going back to Kano
                   You will be prosecuted and surcharged
                   Thus, we choose to head to the world beyond than to go back to Kano!
                   He said: “Mind your mouth”
                   He said: “Okay take care of your calabash”
                   Mind your boys
                   Today this car would fly up!
                   He keeps putting pressure
                   Until it is virtually suspended from the ground
                   He fired on very seriously
                   To the extent it flies up
                   The team leader (of the police) shouts!
                   Oh! It is not a car as we assumed
                   It is a gang of Jinns from Bima town

          What a joking entertainment! In the history of Nigerian driving profession this is the first driver to break the record of successfully flying and landing with an ordinary car. In Hausa oral songs in praise of driving by drivers’ singers, this is the only place we noticed such a hyperbolic adornment. Should driving profession be promoted to air space affairs, this driver deserves all the qualities and experiences to be recruited first among others. In Sububu’s opinion, the police assumption is a mere trick, it is when they finally gave up any hope to apprehend him they consider the issue as supernatural. If the speed of a driver is beyond the normal limit, the usual Hausa comment to such driving is “Kamar mai tashi sama or “Kamar wanda zai je sama”. Meaning “the speed is too abnormal as if he intended to fly up” it is this figure of speech Amali employed in his song to tell his audience that their dream is now a reality to what he witnessed in Shehu Direba’s driving speed. Kano drivers and police have no point to disqualify Subugu’s remarks as a living witness; because none of them was able to get rid of the driver when he refused to obey traffic orders. In the advert of Mercedes Benz, they used to lament that “flying is the only difference between a Mercedes Benz and an airplane”. Therefore, for Subugu to bridge the gap is not a hyperbole but additional extra marks to the credits already obtained.

          Death appears in a very attracting style in the varieties of Hausa oral songs. It is used to portray a fantastic example of hyperbolic adornment to the apex of the pyramid. Humans’ greatest hope is life, with life nothing is impossible and without life nothing is possible. Many Hausa oral singers are used to the style of re-awakening their dead heroes/actors back to the theater/arena to perform actively. In some selected instances, the actors would assure their singers that they would be back whenever there is need by the singer. The statements in this style are meant to entertain the listeners even though it is unbelievable and far beyond human reasoning.
          Kassu Zurmi was always proud of his dangerous client Qwazo. A great magician and brave hunter, Qwazo promises Kassu Zurmi that even after his dead body is lying in his grave, if he calls his name and his praise-epithet he would stage a reappearance to perform if the following citation is recited:
Jagora:        Qwazo sabattacce!
:Sabattacce, Sabattacce!
:Sai ya ƙaƙƙalle itacenai
:In ba Wanakiri ya d’aurai ba
:Katin! Kan! Kan! Katin! Kan! Kan!

Leader:        Ƙwazo the tyrant!
: Ƙwazo the tyrant!
:He would pulled out his graves woods
:Provided he is not shackled by the angel of punishment.

          Eternal life after death is a well known religious dogma in Christianity and Islam but to physically come back to the human world and continue the usual activities, is hearsay. A very similar episode was narrated by Alhaji Gambo Fagada in the encounters of Bawa Makau and villagers at Gummi central market. Gambo reviews the episode as follows:
Na tabbata Allah bai barin Bawa
Amma kashi na bari nai
Wata rana an tas sai kasuwar Gummi
“Kai ku kashe”. Kowa ka cewa
Babu guda mai kawo ceto
Mai zare takobi masu adda
Wansu icen zana da sanda
Na dubi tarin dutsi gaban Bawa
Na ga tarin nan yai hakan ga
Xakin jinya da an ka kai Bawa
Likita na dafar cikinai
Ya dahi gabanai har wuyanai
Yac ce: “Wannan kashi ya kashe shi”
Aka ce: “A bid’o Gambo mawaqinsu ƙila shi gane wane na”
Nag ga mutane sun rage haka
Jini na idanu nar cire mai  
Wanda ab bisa riga na ije mai
Nac ce: “Kaicon na kaina!
Na ishe Makau nan garin Gumi
Za ni barin Makau garin Gumi
Kwance mutane sun kashe Bawa
In nat tai mi za ni cewa?”
Sai mugu  yat ta da kai haka     
Yac ce: “In don haka d’ai na
Kak ka damu
Na lahe na ban mace ba
Don kar jama’ar banza su cutan
Cikin sha’anin banza da wofi
Ka dinga faxin Allah tsare gaba
Wanga rutsin dai mun wuce shi.”

I am certain by Allah, Bawa would not leave ever lastingly
No brutal beating can lead him to rest
A day he was chased in Gummi market
Everybody was saying, “get rid of him”
None is helping the situation
Many with naked swords and cutlasses
Others with bamboo sticks
I saw a very high of stones in front of Bawa
It is surely a huge amount of stones
When he was taken to accident and emergency room
Doctor was busy checking his stomach
Pressing his chest and neck
 He confirmed him dead, oh my dear!
They said: “Only Gambo can identify him”
I was invited, I look at the corpse in ugly mood
I pretend, as if I don’t know him
When the crowd reduces
I cleaned up the remnant blood on his face
The blood on his garment I cleaned it up
I cry oh my dear!
I met Makau here in Gummi (town)
I would leave Makau in Gummi town     
Condemned and killed by people
What a sad news to convey back home?
[Instantly] the wicked raised up his head
Saying: “Don’t worry yourself for the episode
I dogged and pretend dead, I am still alive
Keep praying for the future anticipated happenings
For today’s fate we scaled through.”
          We know that people are led to rest not because they are tired of living any longer in the world but because they reached their terminal end. In all cultures and religions, death is believed to be a total collapse of the active organs of the body which terminates all physical and mental activities everlastingly. A dead body is expired and so it is named “remains”. If we considered worldly life as a pyramid of all the living things, its apex must be “death”, hence our  journey in the human world is temporal, the last day would be the day we meet our “death”, which translates our journey in the world thus: “from grace to grass”. Grave is our final board, and once confirmed dead by experienced and expert medical personnel nothing can reinstate the life any more. Qwazo was buried for several days (if not years), Bawa Makau was confirmed dead by a doctor in Gummi General Hospital, but were all back instantly by Kassu Zurmi and Gambo Fagada. These hyperbolic statements are well addressed and translated by Ibrahim Narambad’a in his song “Toya Matsafa Sadauki na Bello” as follows:
Jagora:        Narambad’a ba ya zuwa lahira,
:Ko ya zo dawowa yakai
Yara:           Zaman kun san d’auke mai akai
Gindi:          Toya Matsafa Sadauki na Bello
:Baban Isa baban Buwai
:In don ni ka gama lafiya

Leader:        Narambad’a would not go to the netherworld
:Even if he did he will be back again
:I know it would be waived for him
Chorus:       Destroyer of the shrine strong man of Bello
:Father of Isa and Buwai
:I wish you all the best

          In almost all praise songs composed for heroes, this style is being used to show that the hero had made a name and it remains popular forever. Bawa was perhaps confirmed dead by un-qualified medical personnel but his trick to escape death was a popular episode in Gummi town and beyond. Qwazo’s name remains a star among Tauri magical players in Hausaland. This is the logic behind Narambad’a’s philosophy that they would remain alive for ever; death has nothing to do with their names and their arts. This research undoubtedly assumed a fact in support of their prophecy, as we gathered today we are fully entertained by their songs. In the academia they are alive, and equally so in the spheres of our socio-economic activities.

          In oral songs, traces of hyperbolic expressions are very common in demonstrating the impact of a point or elaborating examples in its support or against it. Bawa ‘Dan’anace’s assessment of Shago’s performance indicates this:
Jagora:        Duna bugunka ya fi bindiga zafi
:Ya d’ara dutsi nauyi
:Ba ni naf fad’i ba Sanin Kamma.

Leader:        Heavy black, your punch is hotter than a gun-shot
: It is heavier than (a big) stone
: This is never my assessment, it is Sanin Kamma’s experience.

          No matter the strength of a wicked boxer, his punch cannot be same with the damage inflicted by a gun shot. Force of a punch to be heavier than a big stone is unlikely. However, in the experience of Sanin Kamma, who was once a victim, it may likely be same. The point is only a warning to the contestants for the trouble ahead if they dare wish to be counted among the victims. In narrating his fictional ordeal of a scorpion sting, Garba Maitandu Shinkafi is of the opinion that:

Jagora:        Ikon Allah mutane
Yara:           Ikon Allah mutane
Jagora         :‘Yar abu ‘yat tsito
Yara            :Gara harbin jaki bakwai
Yara            :Da takin ta cikin kure

Gindi           :Kunama zan wa kid’i
                    :Zama ciwo ag gare ta
                   :Ta harban na jiya.

Leader:        Oh my God it is surprising
Chorus:       Oh my God it is surprising
:A very small tiny thing
:Worse than seven fierce kicks of donkey
:On stepping on it mistakenly
:This music is for scorpion alone
:It is very painful
:I was a victim with the experience.

          Certainly, scorpion sting is painful and can some time be fatal. Nonetheless, to compare it with seven kicks of a donkey may be questionable. The singer is entertaining us to know the gravity of the pain of the scorpion sting, which compared to the pain received from a donkey is mild. As for the scorpion, it is an injection of death with a very prolonged pain that can last for twenty four hours if not more. The ambiguity of the hyperbolic statement of “harbin jaki bakwai” is that; it may mean seven kicks of a donkey or kicks of seven different donkeys delivered all at once. In whatever context, the statement is not hyperbolic in its technical meaning.
          In narrating anticipated impact, the hyperbolic nature may tend to be high. Find a song of a strong relationship between two children one being cheated by the other, the defeated or cheated chap, sings:

:Ubanka ya yi tusa
:Bakin gidan Bature
:Ba ta kai ba anka dwaxe
:Da ta kashe Bature

Your father had a bad flatulence
At the gate of a white man
It was quickly intercepted
Had it gotten to the house it would have killed the white-man.

          No matter the odour of a fart, it cannot be fatal. The overstatement is only to explain or to give the abnormal wonderful odour of the fart in question. In breathing such an unpleasant odour of flatulence, the Hausas used to comment: “Wa ya kashe mu da wari?” (Who is threatening our lives with terrible odour like this?). The culture of escalating flatulence to be fatal is not a new thing in Hausaland. It is very right to say that the statement is not hyperbolic in its literal meaning; it is only mentioned to impress the point properly.

          Pre-historic Africa was full of supernatural activities in its folkloric world. Supernatural issues are being employed in oral songs to protect hyperbolic statements in many occasions by Hausa oral singers. In Gambo’s odd category songs, Hantsi Hore, a popular farm product thief was said to have the following magical qualities:
Jagora:        Varawon damma ba ni so nai
:Allah bar min Hantci Hore
:Magu mai yanka da baki
:Goga mai halben haqora
:Ko ba shi da yuƙa bai da lauje
:Ko da gudu yat ratsi laba
:An shaida ana xaurin tamanin.

Leader:        I hate the thief of bundle of grains
:Oh! Allah prolong life of Hantsi Hore
:The wicked one who uses his mouth to cut off head of millet
:Expert with very sharp teeth for the business
:Devoid of knife and sickle
:If he runs across a fertile land
:Eighty bundles of the grains would be reported missing

          It is a usual thing for a thief to conduct his dirty business with one bundle, at most two bundles (of millet/corn/let millet etc) at a time. This cannot be possible without knife or sickle to rip or cut the ears of the grain and bundle it together. Hantsi Hore’s approach to the business is mysterious, all he wants is to run across any farm withi minimum delay eighty bundles would be made ready only for Hantsi to pack and go. What a magical performance indeed! Hantsi is the seal in the said profession; this is the logic behind the exaggeration. The supernatural forces attached to the performance unveiled the exaggeration.
          To add more colour to the overstatement issues of charms, magic spell and oracles are in some instances mentioned to protect the hyperbole in the style. Bage Xansala, a prominent Oral singer in Kebbi, in his master piece of ‘Yarkala Varauniya” he lyricizes thus:
Jagora:        ‘Yan yara ka kala
:Tsohuwa lauje tab bid’a
Yara:           Haw wata yuqa gare ta
:Ga ‘yar laya laƙe
Da ta shiga gonanka
:Ba ka ƙara ganin shegiya
Gindi:          ‘Yarkala  varauniya
:Ta zage hatsin Sama
:Ta bar soje garai.

Leader:        Gleaning of children is a child play
:The old women possess a knife
Chorus:       With a small charm attached
:If she enters into your farm
:She will disappear forever .

          The charm alleged to be possessed by old women in a popular charm of “baduhu” a chain which makes the possessor invisible. Without the charm she would have no place to hide in the farm. The charm is employed into the style to admonish the miracle of the old women in the business. It is the charm that hyperbolized the statement which makes the old women a star in gleaning. In any performance, supernatural is the apex of entertainment.

Boasting or Swanking Statement:
          In an attempt to praise or condemn an issue, oral singers are fond of attributing overweening behavior to their clients in defence of their poetic illustrations. The statements may look very odd or swanking as per the content of presentation. To complicate issues further, no supernatural forces would be attached to the input. Consider the following song by Abubakar Imam in his imaginative literature a tribute to “Uban Ba’u” in the song as follows:
Bai gaza ba Uban Ba’u
Bai gaza ba a qaro mai
Tuwon dami dubu shi lashe shi
In ya yi gyashi a yanka shi
Furar dami dubu ya shanye ta  
In ya yi gyashi a yanke shi
Bai gaza ba a qaro mai.

Uban Ba’u is still active
He is active add more (food)
A food of one thousand bundles of grain he guzzles
A pap of one thousand bundles he gulps down
If he belches he should be slaughtered
He is yet to be tired, give him more please.

          It is unnatural for even a town to reach such a level of consumption let alone a single man. One thousand bundles of grain is the apex of any farmer’s productivity per annum. It is hard to get one of such hard working farmer in a year in a province or a district. A farmer who is capable of obtaining such a credit is the king of farmers and would be ceremoniously crowned to receive the staff of office. Now, you can imagine the hyperbolic nature of the adornment in the style of the song. In Hausa counting process “dubu” (thousand) is named “iyakar qyarga” meaning it is “the highest figure”. In my assessment, the poet is alluding the statement to Sarkin Noma chief of farmers which he assumes Uban Ba’u to be. Consumption capacity of a human being is around 40 to 60 bundles per annum. You can now imagine the capacity ascribed to Uban Ba’u. Certainly, Imam is trying to tell us that, “one thousand” is the highest figure in Hausa counting system, anything that reaches one thousand has reached its peak. This is the message he wished his readers to pay heed to.
          In the song of Abdu Gamji Xanmalka of Geza, Argungu District, in praise of drug addicts. “Wak’ar ‘Yan Qwaya” he went beyond expectation in assessing the quantity of pills they require to perform actively in public gathering. They need enough drugs to entertain their audience, and so the debate of the quantity of the drugs required run thus:
Jagora:        Qwarya guda ka ta da mu?
Yara:           Wa ƙwarya guda ga ta da mu?
Jagora:        Qwara dubu ka ta da mu?
Yara:           Wa kwali dubu ga aikin ga!
Jagora:        Kai sai kamfani ka ta da mu
Yara:           A tas suwa mu gurfana
Jagora:        Shi zazzago mu sa baki
                   :In sun zubo mu rugikke
Yara:           Daga nan ba a koma yin ƙwaya.

Leader:        Is one hundred tablets okay for us?
Chorus:       A hundred tablets cannot wake us?
Leader:        Is one thousand tablets okay for us?
Chorus:       Never thousand of cartons cannot reach our gauge
Leader:        Only the producing company we contest
Chorus:       While production is in progress we all be on our kneels to await
Leader:        As the drugs are processed out we open our mouths
                   When the machine is feeding the pills out we swallow all
Chorus:       Thus mark the end of the production forever

          Unbelievable in reality but poetic indeed! Counting number of pills is no longer a style; approaching production site of the company is the only solution. The aim is to reach the terminal level of addiction, and if the whole product is being consumed by the gang the terminal addiction is attained.

In human cultures, religion is the most sensitive culture which influences all our routine activities. What we believed in, is always our yardstick in addressing our problems. In religious dogma, a statement cannot be termed as exaggeration or beyond bound of truth provided it is protected within the dogma of the particular belief. In contrast, it may be considered hyperbolic if it contradicts the cardinal principles of its teachings. In praise of Alhaji ‘Dandurgua popular merchant in Qaura Namoda, Narambad’a was very bold as he praises Xandurgu:
Jagora:        Ga gidanka guda duniya
:Guda na Firdausi an yi
:Alhaji ‘Dandurgubabu hwashi
Yara:           In Allah Ya nufa
Gindi:          Alhaji ‘Dandurgu taimakon Allah ag garai
:Na lura da duniya akwai namijin arziki

Leader:        You have a house here in the world
:And the other house in the exalted heaven
:Alhaji ‘Dandurgu there is no doubt, certainly!
:Your abode is paradise
Chorus:       God willing
:Alhaji ‘Dandurgu had God’s helping hand
:With clear discernment, this world certainly holds a man of good will.

Confirming ‘Dandurguwith house in exalted heaven, and categorically awarding him a certificate of going to paradise, is a hyperbole in Islamic religious context. Neither Narambad’a (the poet) nor the ‘Dandurgu(the client) is certain of his balance sheet. However, the hyperbole was abrogated by his chorus who agitated: “God willing”. Getting the reward of “the exalted heaven” - Firdausi is the peak of the reward of all the good deeds specifically meant for the prophets, saints, and the most honest devotees. Perhaps, ‘Dandurguis neither of the three, but to Narambad’a he is. Narambad’a’s boys were not in the same school of thought with him and so they insisted: “God willing”. In God we trust. The chorus negation to Narambad’a’s pronouncement abrogates the hyperbolic elements therein making it acceptable in religious context. In an attempt to compare worldly life and that of hereafter, Walga Bunza a popular Tashe musician was of the opinion that:
Jagora:        Da duniya da Lahira duk d’ai
Yara:           Kowak kwanta dama bai ji dad’i ba
:Sha kixinka Walga mai turu
:Walga qanen Magaji duniya dad’i

Leader:        (Life) in the world and that of hereafter are same
Chorus:       Alas! Whoever is led to rest is in discomfiture
:Enjoy your music very well oh Walga the drummer!
:Walga the younger brother of Magaji our very world is enjoyable

          Arguments of Walga’s chorus is religiously bias, for they knew only the most pious among men would enjoy the hereafter. Their ground of defence is stronger than their master but he refuses to decline. Perhaps he was influenced with ‘Dan’anace’s views that:
Jagora:        Da duniya da barzahu duk d’ai
:Aikin da kay yi shi ka ishe ma

Leader:        Living in the world and the grave are same
:It is your very deeds you will meet

Walga and ‘Dan’anace’s presentations are hyperbolic in the religious context of their assumptions. To balance the calculation, Walga’s chorus contested vehemently. ‘Dan’anace abrogated his hyperbole instantly. All the aforementioned hyperboles were religiously motivated and same religious creeds were employed to clear up the ambiguities and appropriate the hyperbole to an acceptable statement.

The existence of Kambama  and Kambamar Zulaƙe in Hausa oral songs is undisputable. However, the early assumption of Kambama and Zulaƙe  is hitherto revisited to capture the updated meaning of the term and its input across the categories of oral songs. In this attempt, about twenty popular songs of about fifteen prominent singers in Hausaland were examined. The study successfully observed the following:
i.                   Hyperbole is a special style in Hausa oral songs far above mere exaggeration or overstatements. In its essence, it is purely poetic and should be treated as such.
ii.                 Hyperbole is a basket of poetic styles. It is a style in which traces of many styles combine to make its voice louder. In the examples cited, there are traces of personification, comparison, negation, poetic liences ballad, linguistic and grammatical styles all in abundance.
iii.              In an attempt to conjugate the hyperbolic styles in Hausa oral songs, this paper carefully observed that, hyperbole in Hausa oral songs can be recognized under ten different varieties, namely: Praising, Condemning, Evaluation, Narrating tale/story/history, Expertise, Impact, Supernatural, Death, Boasting and Swanking statements and Religion.
iv.               Hyperbolic adornment in Hausa oral songs are translations of Hausa perceptions of the scientific realities of some issues. Thus, proverbs, worldviews, and great philosophical views are part of the ingredients in building up a well constructed hyperbolic adornment.
v.                  Presence of a hyperbolic adornment in any given song is a pointer to the potentiality of the singer and standard of the song in Hausa rating scale of oral songs. The accuracy of the hyperbole and its relevance to the thematic approach of the song is a good credit to the singer in the art of singing.

Hyperbolic adornment is a special style in Hausa Oral Songs. It was earlier discovered as ‘Kambamar Zulaƙe” at the level of exaggeration only. The hidden input of the style gives a different message beyond a mere overstatement. In the study of hyperbolism, the theme of the songs under review is the first relevant yardstick. The point being hyperbolized is equally important to the discussion. The place of the hyperbolized point to the general subject matter of the song is what makes the style to be the apex of stylistics pyramid in the given song. An ancient literal meaning of “wak’a” song in Hausa is literally called overstatement or exaggeration. Professionally, poetic language is extra-ordinary. Right from opening and closing doxology, grammatical constructions, singing methodology, musical instruments; the accompanying tonal voices of the songs and even the phonological aspects of singing a song are all hyperbolic in nature. In the opinion of this paper, hyperbolic adornment is the zenith of poetic styles, the best entertaining device in poetic performance and the most engaging of stylistic embellishment. Without hyperbolized statements, poetry remains a mere flow of speech undecorated, hollow and empty speech. In making the impossible, possible, and possible impossible, hyperbolic statements toppled all the adornments of stylistics in oral songs.    

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