Thursday, January 10, 2019

Linguistic Spaces In Hausa Trado-Medical Antiquities: A Neglected Aspect In Hausa Anthropological Linguistics

 This paper is an attempt to peep at a forgotten and neglected aspect of Hausa linguistics in the name of Anthropological Linguistics. It is a study which sets out to provide an overview of the subject under review as suggested by the paper’s title: “Linguistic spaces in Hausa trado-medical antiquities”. The data are gathered from primary and secondary sources specifically during field work and several contacts with selected Hausa practitioners. The focus of the study include the relevance of language in the Hausa trado-medical heritage; the identification of the major historical landmarks of Hausa traditional medicine namely ancient and pre-colonial healing traditions. Likewise, this work traces the Linguistic spaces in the herbal and faith medicine (Bori and Tsibbu). These are then explored in three stages namely, the linguistic spaces in the medicinal sources; branches of Hausa medicine, and...

Linguistic Spaces In Hausa Trado-Medical Antiquities:
A Neglected Aspect In Hausa Anthropological Linguistics

Aliyu Muhammadu Bunza
Professor of African Culture (Hausa)
Department of Language and Cultures
Faculty of Humanities and Education
Federal University Gusau, Zamfara State, Nigeria

Being a paper presented at the 3rd Symposium on West African Languages (SYWAL 2018) held in Warsaw from 26th - 29th September, 2018 at the University of Warsaw, Poland.

This paper is an attempt to peep at a forgotten and neglected aspect of Hausa linguistics in the name of Anthropological Linguistics. It is a study which sets out to provide an overview of the subject under review as suggested by the paper’s title: “Linguistic spaces in Hausa trado-medical antiquities”. The data are gathered from primary and secondary sources specifically during field work and several contacts with selected Hausa practitioners. The focus of the study include the relevance of language in the Hausa trado-medical heritage; the identification of the major historical landmarks of Hausa traditional medicine namely ancient and pre-colonial healing traditions. Likewise, this work traces the Linguistic spaces in the herbal and faith medicine (Bori and Tsibbu). These are then explored in three stages namely, the linguistic spaces in the medicinal sources; branches of Hausa medicine, and the classification of illness, application and administration of drugs. The paper equally engages on the linguistic aspects in Hausa taboo, incantations, magic spells, communications, prayers, gibberish and citations regarded as medicinal sources and materia medica, in the name of medicine. In Hausa trado-medical antiquities, language is an integral part of medicine, the popularity and efficacy of medicine depends on the nature of the linguistic devices attributed to it. The supernatural forces in the magical medicines and the general healing tradition have a secret code named naqali/asiri/gindi (secret code). Interestingly, the code is a linguistic drill in the classical ancient Hausa grammar. Language is therefore medicine, and medicine is language in the perceptions of Hausa trado-medical professionals. Without language there is no cure.

          Language is an important instrument in human development from time immemorial to the modern age of scientific and technological development.  It is scientifically and humanly impossible to attain any level of advancement without language. Linguistics as a discipline is the scientific study of language and its structure, including its grammar, syntax and its phonetics and phonology. The first Hausa generation in the world of Hausa linguistic studies such as, Hambali (1967), Galadanci (1969), Pilszezikowa (1969), Adeyanju (1971), Schuh (1974), Bagari, (1976), Rufa’i (1977) Muhammad (1977) and Newman (1996) were Hausa grammarians. The second generation which include Pawlak (1983), Salim (1981), Zaria (1982), Abubakar (1982), Madaki (1983) and Daba (1987), just to mention but a few, researches largely on the general aspect of Hausa linguistics. It is the opinion of this paper that, linguistics plays a significant role in Hausa medicinal heritage. To demonstrate the fact to my testimony, the paper focuses its attention on Hausa trado-medicinal heritage with special reference to the available linguistic spaces that are neglected, ignored or forgotten by the experts. The literature and culture aspects of research in Hausa studies address the subject in abstract; Lewis (1981), Bunza (1989 and 1995), Sudan (2000), Albasu (1999), Besmer (1973) and Usman (1995) failed to identify language in the antiquities of medicine and magic. In the absence of any pioneer research in Hausa anthropological linguistics, the paper is a prayer to give the discipline a chance in Hausa linguistics.

          The specific branches of linguistics include Sociolinguistics, Dialectology, Psycholinguistics, Structural linguistics, and Anthropological linguistics. My concern in this paper is the Anthropological Linguistics, which is an interdisciplinary study of how language influences social life. Therefore, anthropological linguistics is the study of the relationship between language and culture; it usually refers to work on languages that have no written records. It is a branch of anthropology that originated from the endeavor to document endangered languages. On the other hand, traditional medicine is an ancient system of medicine and practice based on long-held beliefs passed down through particular culture. In a nutshell, it is any system of healthcare that has ancient roots, cultural bonds, and traces. These include ayurvedic medicine, ethno-medicine, shamanism, herbalism, faith medicine and all the healing arts that are subjected to cultural applications and assessment. Anthropological linguistics and traditional medicines are special branches of culture with common background of ancient antiquities. Culture is defined as the art and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. Thus, between culture and language, there exists a cordial relationship which gave birth to the new found land in the discipline of linguistics called Anthropological Linguistics.
Anthropological Linguistics and Culture are twin brothers in the academia of linguistics. Linguistic anthropology deals with languages with no written records which are under the clutches of extinction and endangerment. In the study of Hausa trado-medical heritage, a lot of medical vocabularies with meaningful linguistic usages are at the verge of extinction. The registers in the vocabulary of the profession of Hausa healing art and magic are critically endangered by modern technological advancements and globalization. The grammatical functions of Hausa trado-medical vocabularies and the semantics of the magic spells, incantations, supernatural communication and taboos attached to some illnesses, medicaments related to some medicinal plants and trees are part of the linguistic spaces that were neglected over the years by linguistic studies in Hausa language. This introductory study desires to widen and open up new spaces for the crystal exploration of Hausa Linguistics with regards to Hausa medicine for further research.

          As a new initiative in Hausa Linguistic studies, this research was faced with the dearth of relevant material. I therefore concentrated on the available thesis and dissertations in Hausa higher degree (MAs and PhDs). In fact, very few BA projects were found to be relevant in providing material for further research. Vast number of published materials was consulted to prepare the bases of my research arguments. The next phase in my methodology involves contact with fifteen selected Hausa medicine men and healers namely: three herbalist, three faith healers, three magicians, three soothsayers, and three professional native doctors. In addition, students and professional colleagues in the field of culture, sociology and linguistics were consulted to cross examine discussions held at the field work. I finally realized that, materials at hand are worth trial to demonstrate the evidence of linguistic spaces in Hausa trado-medical antiquities.

From Communication to Medication
          All the worlɗs divine religions hold the belief that Adam and Eve are the first human creatures. The pagans, atheist, traditionalists all have deities which they believe to exist before the early man. Darwin’s theory of evolution of man failed to recognize language in human development. Human language developed from non-verbal to verbal communications. These modes of communications started from the early age of creation, it is yet to be ascertained the date and the specific name of language spoken by the early man. Certainly, communication requires a third party which translates into the culture of togetherness in the development of human communication. The environmental factors, climatic conditions and vegetation could have influenced the types of vocabularies coined to convey messages. The first communication was assumed to be between man and his creator, his deity, his idol, or any faith he believes in. In this view, devotion, prayers, supplications might be the first communication in the human world. In Hausa cultural opinion, the words that are used to worship God or deities in any faith are same words used to avail any uncomfortable situation and illness. Subsequently, these are the vocabularies developed into medicament for human wellbeing and illnesses. In this opinion, Anthropological Linguistics was the first linguistic branch to occupy special space in Hausa linguistic development.

Hausa Trado-medical Heritage
The Hausa word for medicine “magani” is as old as Hausa Language itself. It is a general term referring to all types of medicines both ancient and modern. It is named “tsafi” in its supernatural context and “siddabaru” if it involves tricks and illusions, (Bunza, 1990) and (Adamu, 1990); “tambaya” is another term referring to supernatural medicines in the context of Hausa confrontational songs. After the advent of Islam in Hausaland (Hiskett, 1975), (Greenberg, 1941) and (Abdullahi, 1981) additional terms such as “tsibbu” (faith healing) “sihiri” (magic) “asiri” (secret) “dawa’i” (medicine) “makaru” and “sammu” (magic traps) were all added to the meaning of “magani” in Hausa perception of medicine. The Hausa notable ancient branches of healers include “bori” (devotees) (Besmer, 1973) and (Last, 1991); “‘Yar maiganye” (herbalist) and the professionals such as bone settlers & psychiatrists, barbers and witch doctors. With the coming of Islam “tsibbu” (faith healing) emerged. Thus, the two generations of Hausa Trado-medical heritage are named as magungunan gargajiya (traditional medicine) and magungunan tsibbu (faith medicine). In all, Hausa medicinal plants and trees, and the ancient medicaments remain the basic ingredients, while the traditional techniques of the healing arts are the same. These great antiquities were preserved in Hausa folklore, literature and culture from time immemorial to the present modern age.

The Data
The primary sources of the data to be analysed includes Hausa medicinal plants, trees and medicaments. The role of language in the extraction, application, dispensing and administration of the drugs would be carefully observed. Incantations, prayers, chants, magic spells and the praise epithet of the notorious Jinn associated with healing tradition in Hausaland are part of the data to be examined. Language usages in Hausa magic and supernatural medicines are part of the essential materials to be utilized in the data analysis. Superstitious beliefs and taboos are the most predominant features in Hausa Trado-medical antiquities in which linguistic traces are well pronounced. Thus, the data under review can be categorized into four parts: Linguistic chemistry of bori and exorcism therapy sources of Hausa trado-medical heritage; Major branches of Hausa medicines; and the administration of the medicaments in general.

Data Analysis
       i.            Linguistic chemistry of bori and exorcism therapy.
     ii.            Linguistic spaces in the sources of Hausa medicine and medicament.
  iii.            Linguistic spaces in the Hausa illnesses and wellbeing.
   iv.            Linguistic apparatus in the administration and application of the medicines.
Linguistic Chemistry of Bori and Exorcism Therapy
Spirit possession and demons’ dance was the early medicinal practices among the Hausa people. Though it is not scientifically practable to know the first healing practices used by the first Hausa man on earth, but language was probably the first developed instrument in human culture. In this regard, bori spirit possession which involves supernatural communications, incantations, prayers and citations to the beloved Jinns of the possessed was the first medicinal antiquities before the herbs and their medicaments. In bori cult, the cure is through verbal communications and signals to the devotee in the processes of “girka” (initiation). Greenberg (1941), Bunza (1999), Gobir, (2012), Prince (1957), Last (1991) and Tremearne (1936) all studied “girka” (initiation) extensively. In the girka initiation strategies, the sacrifices offered to the strange Jinn are purely linguistic battle in the style of sermon and admonishment. The language of “boboniya” (devotee) in bori cult reads thus;

Inbuloo, inbuloo, inbuloo amin jooni, hana’ngel gwaggel, kwankwanbilo! Kwankwanbilo! Amin hoo tataa!

Totally gibberish, however the name “Kwankwanbilo” is believed to be the central city of Jinns alleged to be located in Argungu or Gobir kingdoms. In girka initiations, an invitation to treat is offered to the possessed person in the following language:
Atabirkici, anabirki, hana zolami, hana zola, ba kaura, kaura, gaton kaba kid'in gwali kwagam!

The phrases Ɗgaton kabaɗ (beneath the kaba), and Ɗkixin gwaliɗ (gwali music) carry meaning as noted in the translation. Boboniya (possessed lady) counting style is chanted in the following manners:

If this counting style is chanted to the hearing of the possessed or a client seeking the therapy, the ailment would be reduced to the barest minimum. However, it should be noted that, the counting is gibberish. The language of bori cult deviated from the norms of the casual speech. In bori talking cure, every human being is addressed in plural not singular, there is no “kai” (you), “ni” (I), “shi” (he), “ita” (she), the style is “mu” (we) (as in ni -me) and “ku” (you) (as in kai -you). As per vocabularies, semantic gap is very wide, as it is noted in:
Bori vocabulary
buran k'asa
earth penis
move back
yah! Yah
a calabash container

Words expressing success and joy are:          Jar qaniya (gibberish)
Request for cigarette to smoke is:                 Sigarata manta sabuba (gibberish)

          Believers in the bori cult therapy are always careful to the doctrine of their linguistic devices in protecting the antiquities of their medicinal values. As per the exorcism in Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Jewish traditions, it is a language business of recitation, singing, and shouting talks to communicate and negotiate with the Jinns under trial. In exorcism, the meaning is very clear and precise without linguistic adornment or gibberish. This demonstrates that, the journey of Hausa medicinal practices is historically a linguistic one, from the stage of admission to the stage of discharge.

Linguistic Spaces in the sources of Hausa Medicine and Medicaments
To start with, the Hausa word for medicine “magani” is alleged to be a linguistic concoction of three morphemes. In linguistic studies, morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in a language. In morphology, morpheme is not identical to a word, morpheme may or may not stand alone, where-as a word by definition is free standing. The morphological assessment of the word “magani” reads thus:
Hausa:                  ma yi ma gani
Translation:          let us try and see

As noted above, “ma”, “yi”, and “ma” are morphological units that cannot be further divided. The word “gani” is a verb. Right from the nature of the subject under review, linguistics plays a significant role. Bringing three morphemes together added to a verb Ɗganiɗ to form the word “magani” deleting “ma” and “yi” is a linguistic process of a kind. The other opinion on the origin of the word is from “mu gani” (let us see), gradually “mu” changes to “ma” by phonological process and added to “gani” to translate “magani” (medicine) as one word for the noun medicine. In addition to all, thus, some Hausa Muslim scholars are of the view that the word “magani” is trans-adaption process of foreign loanwords into Hausa. The Arabic word “almughnii” or “mughni” (contentment), hence adapted as “magani” is a phonological style of linguistic borrowing, (Salim, 1981). “Siddabaru” (magic) in the magical context of Hausa medicine is derived from the word “dabara” (trick) singular; “dabaru  (tricks) plural, replacing vowel /a/ with /u/ to give plural is a morphological process. In a more complex process, the prefix Ɗsidɗ developed to stand as Ɗsidabaruɗ (elusion). The ancient word for medicine in Hausa “tambaya” literally means ‘question’. In the art of medicinal antiquities, it stands for ‘black magic’ and supernatural performance. The semantic aspect plays a role in the extension of meaning from a mere question to a wider meaning of an inquiry or search for supernatural qualifications. This is the beginning of linguistic spaces in Hausa healing antiquities.
          The sources of Hausa medicine generates number of Hausa vocabularies, figures of speech, and terminologies that are well known to the practitioners and their clients. The great linguistics’ antiquities can be traced in the following examples in the naming of names of Hausa materia medica:

Hausa name
Botanical name
Medicinal name
English rendition
Calotropis procera (Ait)
Mai kaman mutum daga nesa
Like a man from afar
Khaya senegalensis
Magani mai d'aci
Bitter medicine
Boswellia odarata
Hana zamba
Protection from mischief
Guiera senegalensis
Kina son lihidi
The lover of shadow
Tamarindus indica
Mashak'atar iskoki
Jinns’ arena ‘rendezvous’
Kigelia africana
Addu’ar Ma’aikin Allah
Prophet’s prayer
Ceiba pentandra
Kere itace
Above all trees
Ficus platyphylla
Babban icce/
Cika bakin akuya
The big tree
Adansonia digilata
Bukkar iska
Jinns’ hut
Moringa oleifera
Mazan tsaye
Capable men
Lannea bateri kokwara & Gillet
Babban icce
A big tree

Apart from the linguistic evidence in Hausa botanical vocabularies, components of animals, birds and insects is part of the sources. A wide linguistic space occupied by these categories is in the sociolinguistic studies of Hausa taboo, (Bala, 1995). In Hausa medicine, taboos are efficacious measures of protecting the active ingredients of a particular medicine or a great feeling of solidarity to the active drugs or a precaution to escape attack of dangerous species. By the taboo tradition, alternative names and meanings are provided to cover up the so-called taboo names. This is assumed to be an antidote to the culturally anticipated side effect. Examples below may be of good linguistic evidence:

Popular taboo
Alternative names
Karen daji (bush dog)
Maik'ari (one with hook)
Majaciki (reptile)
Mussar daji (bush cat)
Mutantani (caricature)
Qayar kifi
Fish bones
Hakin wuya (neck fiber)
Manyan dawa (elders of the bush)
Honey bees
K'udan zuma (honey flies)

It is a verbal taboo in Hausa to openly mention a scorpion’s name. To avoid its sting, “maiqari” is the alternative name often used, and same to the rest of the species cited above. In linguistic studies, this is an addition to the repertoire of Hausa vocabulary and an expansion of its existing semantics same time.

Linguistics Spaces in the Hausa Illnesses and Wellbeing
          In the studies of Hausa traditional medicine, the major branches include: general medicine, magical medicine, folk medicine and faith medicine (tsibbu). As per the illnesses, major and minor illnesses are the main categories. In the healing art, curative, preventive and causative medicines are prominent. In all the aforementioned, traces of linguistics traces could be boldly seen for the active role it plays in the administration of the drug. In the language of Hausa trado-medical professionals, notorious illnesses are addressed in the following linguistic styles:

Hausa names
Alternative names
Zafi (hot)
Mental illness (madness)
Tavuwa (touch/shaking)
Gudu (run/running)
Shafar iska
Rashin ido (loss of sight (eye))
Ciwon sata
Sammu (a magic curse)
Burguma (a grown up)
Rashin haihuwa
Bakararre/bakararra (closed one)

In the actual linguistic context of these given words, the original and alternative meanings are not taboo but symbolic names of showing sympathy and solidarity to the beloved infected fellows. In dealing with these major illnesses, the alternative names convey same meaning with the common names and require no further details to any native Hausa speaker. This is a clear testimony that, language is an important segment in Hausa medicine. The linguistic space in Hausa medicinal vocabularies is of equal importance with the medicaments in the business of treatment and cure.

Medical Terminology
In the field of supernatural medicines and magic, certain medical linguistic terminologies were used in naming medicines and special treatments. The naming style of supernatural medicines worth to be mentioned herein are:

Literal meaning
Medical purposes
Provide darkness
To make one invisible
Cause reluctance
Power to make rival inactive
To make rival’s hands immovable
To forget with
To cause forgetfulness to rival
To follow her
Inducing irrevocable love to spouse
To flee
Escape by flying
Quit unceremoniously,
Helpless; roaming about indefinitely
Protection against iron and metal weapons
To close eye
To cause temporal blindness/ hallucination
To miss target
Protection against arrows/ spear/ bullet (bullet proof)
To flag or plant
Permanent immunity/ protection

These names are either, metaphorical, symbolic, functional or concocted in a special linguistic style. Each of the mentioned names has a specific linguistic interpretation to demonstrate its usages or efficacy (as the case may be). Baduhu is derived from verb ‘ba’ and a noun ‘duhu’. ‘ba’ means to give, put in, or a state of; the noun ‘duhu’ means darkness, invisibleness, poor visibility. The purpose of baduhu charm is to make its owner become invisible right away. In the case of basanyi, ‘ba’ stands for, to give or make, whereas ‘sanyi’ is a state of coolness, reluctance and inactivity. The charm of basanyi is to cause reluctance or inactiveness to a rival in confrontations (boxing, wrestling or fight). In a state of confrontation, sagau/qago would disarm partner by making his hands immovable. No amount of effort would make your enemy to recall where to meet you if you possess shashatau. In matrimonial affairs and love, bi-ta-zai-zai would force your love to surrender unconditionally. For self-protection, warriors need gaba charm to flee. Tauri charm is to repel spears and sword. Rufa-ido­ to skip; and kauda-bara to wade off attack. Kurciya is a causative magic to force enemy to flee like a bird and, kafi/kahi is a permanent protection to a house, town, oneself or place of work. In the magical theory of alike produces alike, we can noticed from these names that, all of them are linguistically relevant to the magic or supernatural force they stand for. In this respect, the equation of linguistic spaces is linguistically balanced.

Linguistic Apparatus in the Administration and Application of Drugs
Language plays a very vital role in the administration and application of the Hausa drugs and medicaments. In Hausa medicinal context, linguistic usages can be seen in three stages: (a) Before commitment/extraction of the herbs/medicaments. (b) During the application of the said drug. (c) After the administration of the drug. In all the three stages, three notorious language usages are employed, namely: Communication, Prayers and Incantations. These are termed notorious because any of them is missed or wrongly administered; the treatment or medicine in question is bound to fail. Thus, the herbs medicaments, and concoctions, as per the content of the medicine are all subject to the accurate application of the prayers, communications or incantations (as the case may be) instructed to be chanted. Anything short of the agreed chanted words invalidates the medicine.

Advanced Prayers/Incantations/Communications
These are the medicinal talks to be supplicated before extraction or prior to the extraction of the herbs or medicaments. Powers of these words are believed to reactivate and aggravate the active ingredients and powerful forces in the very herbs or medicament. The Kolo tree (myriantus arboreus) is used as protective medicine against (teeth) bite (of human and wild animals). At the prior or time of removing its roots, the following communications are done:
Hausa:        Salamu alaikum kolo. Wanda bai san ka ba shi ka ce maka kolo. Mu da mun ka san ka ba mu ce maka kolo, sai dai maganin zaga muka ce ma.

Translation: Peace be unto you Kolo (myriantus arboreus). It is he who don’t know you (your usage) that calls you Kolo, but we, who know your importance we call you medicine for molars.

In a careful observation, the name Kolo if mentioned might invalidate the medicinal functions. Though the client pronounced the name openly, but repents and resort to the adhered terminologies of Zaga (molars) instead of haqura (teeth), to affirm his total submission and believe in its effectiveness.
Jirga tree (Bauhinia rufesceus) used in Kaudabara a supernatural protection has a similar citation before its leaves and branches are removed:
Hausa:        Salamu alaikum Jirga, wanda bai san ki ba shi ka ce miki Jirga. Mu da munka san ki ba mu ce miki Jirga, sai dai jirge k'ota/'bota mai da tsini baya.

Translation: Peace be unto you Jirga (Bauhinia rufesceus). It is he who don’t know you that calls you Jirga, but we, who know your values say, turn the implement (weapon) back where it came from and let the sharp pointed edge (of  the weapon) point back.

Linguistic spaces can be seen right from the name Jirga (to roll over or to turn back). The devotee uses singular to downgrade those who don’t know its usages. In his pronouncement, the pronoun “mu” (we) is used to represent believers in its medicinal functions even though he is alone. This signifies the place of grammar in medicinal citations to the anticipated treatments and powers to be evoked. The same grammatical construction is used in Kolo by the client.

Commitment and Application of Drugs
During the application and commencement of the medication in most cases, there is need for some special citations, incantations or prayers for the rapid treatment or cure. In the supernatural medicines, only the incantations are required at the instance of any unwanted condition. The possessor of Baduhu charm needs to recite the following, to disappear instantly:
Hausa:        Duhunduhuma uwar duhu, bak'in bajimi bi gamba. Idan maza da mata sun had'u, ina mu kai? K'asa mukai ko sama/bisa mukai, ko dac cikin kafan tambasuwa? A’aha! Ba da yau ba sai wata rana.

Translation: “Duhunduhuma” the mother of darkness, black bulls the followers of gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus kunth). If males and females meet together, where would we head to? Are we to go under the ground or to fly up or to penetrate into the needle hole? Oh my dear! Today is gone (we are through) good bye.

Certainly there are meanings in the above statement which I decide to name communication, because it makes meaning. The word ‘duhunduhuma’ is a noun, referring to the serving Jinn on the affairs of Baduhu. It is a created name based on symbolism for the desired supernatural forces. The word ‘duhu’ represent darkness and duhun-duhun a serious darkness and the ‘duhuma’ added to the ‘duhun’ to make it ‘duhunduhuma’ which represent mother Jinn responsible for all the darkness. The ‘black bulls’ captured in the communication is a hope to make the dark darker for visibility to be completely impossible. Whereas the males and females, and needle hole mentioned in the communication are the expectations against the trouble confronted, and its supernatural remedies. Once this is done, it is good bye to the whole trouble; the reciter is no longer visible to the naked eyes. Mind you, this can only be effective if you are certified with gindi (the formula).
To invite Jinns responsible for performing wonders, there are some gibberish talks to be chanted for the Jinn to appear and seek his assistance. Popular gibberish in Hausa-Fulani divination reads:
In bulo, in bulo, in bulu amin joni. Hana ngel gwaggel. Kwankwanvilo! Kwankwanvilo!! Amin hoo ta taa!

          These are just concoctions of some word from Hausa, Fulfulde and Arabic, in which the meaning cannot be ascertained. However, it is used as the opening prayer in divination and fortune telling.

Linguistic Domain in Tsibbu Medicinal Antiquities
The historic contact of Hausaland and Arab world marks the historic origin of ajami writing system. With Islamization of Hausaland, ajami developed as the first official writing system across the Hausaland. Ajami is an Arabic name referring to non-Arabs. The Ajami writing is the Hausanization of Arabic letters in writing Hausa scripts. It developed alongside the Islamization mission in Hausaland. Hundreds of thousands of treatises, manuscripts, poems, books on Islamic theology, prayers, rituals and medicinal purposes were written in ajami. The Tsibbu medicinal tradition is a combination of ancient Arabic, Pagan Hausa, and Partially Islamic medicinal practices. In Tsibbu style, the gamut of the medicinal antiquities was reduced into writing. In written form, it can be correctly transmitted, stored and documented in its original form.
The early tsibbu manuscript probably dated around 15th to 18th centuries where a replica of pagan Hausa practices of citations, incantations, prayers, magic spell and gibberish with very little amendments if any. The popular manuscripts include: Baru uwa uba ga maraye, Yasin mai sarqa, K'ul huwal laahu mai sark'a, Yamuhiya katangar k'arfe, Zanzana hana barci, Kitabu bacca, Ummu Muse, Burdin alburda, Kitabul ashjaari, Dala’ilul Hassan da Husaini; Adamu (1983), Albasu (1999), Alhassan (1982), Bunza (1990 and 1995) provide the details. The Tsibbu faith healing is linguistically dominated with Hausa-Arabic code switching, loan and neologism from many languages, and praise-epithet. In Tsibbu even the amulets and charms are transcriptions in linguistic adornment. Examples below speak for itself:
1.       Protection against metal weapon:
Kafaaka rabbuka kam yakfiika waakifatun,
Kafkaafuhaa kakamiinin kaana min kalaki.

Takarkaraa ka karril karri fii kabidin,
Tahkii mushakshakatan kallat ka alkalaki .

Kafaaka maa fii kafaakal kaafi kurbatahu,
Ya kaukaban kaada yahkii kaukabal falakii.

It is a poetic citation in musical devices to be chanted aloud before the commencement of magic. Though it carries meaning, because the meaning is immaterial, what matters is the words play with (40) letter Ɗkɗ to be correctly delivered by the client. This is very near to the English word play by Shamanist’s:
First Friday February fifteen fifty five, Father Francis, fried four festival fish for four Fathers from France.

In the world of magic, there seems to be a universality of language usages in the affiars of incantation and word play.

2.       Protection against external forces:
Hausa:        Allahumma fii ka tsari, katsari-katsari, ka tsarin gida, ka tsarin daji ka tsarin da kai kaxai ka tsarewa.

Translation: Oh Lord! I seek your protection, protection protection, protection at home, protection at bush, protection that you alone can protect.

Only “allahumma” is Arabic, the rest are words play of ‘tsari’ (protection) for the alleged medicinal purposes.
3.       Prayer to suppress Jinn in any place before sitting down:
Inna da’an a daa’uura da’an a da’an. (Gibberish).

The ‘inna’ here refers to mother of Jinns.

4.       Magic to vanquish heat from cooking pot on fire:
Fam shuu fii manaakibihaa wa kuluu min rizqihii wa ilaihi nu shuu. (Al-Qur’an, 67:15)
Rendition:   He who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse you through its tracts and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnished. But unto Him is the Resurrection. (Al-Qur’an, 67:15)

The Arabic word “shu” is phonologically Hausanized to “shuu” referring to quit and cool in Hausa. The prayer is for the water to be cool and not get boiled. The whole verse is being trans-adapted with tonal alteration of Arabic word “famshuu”.
5.       Prayer for easy and safe delivery for women in labour:
Sayakhriju min sul, sul, sul.

This is part of a verse in the Qur’an which reads:
         Yakhriju min bainis swilbi wat taraa’ib.
(Al-Qur’an, 82: 7)

Rendition:   Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs.
(Al-Qur’an, 82: 7)

The original word mentioned in the Qur’an is “swilbi”. In Hausa “sul” is an action of gushing out of something from a tube or canal or any opening (specifically mouth, anus, vagina), the target is to have a slippery vagina, in the context of the Hausa word “sul”, for the child to have quick and safe exit. Hausa traditional boxers were given a certain verse in the Qur’an to recite while the game is in progress; in an exchange of punches and blows, one who recites it will be the winner:
          Kalla izaa dukkatil ardhu dakkan dakkaa.
(Al-Qur’an, 89:21)

Rendition:   Nay! When the earth is pounded to powder.
(Al-Qur’an, 89:21)
The linguistic message in this verse is the Hausanization or the trans-adaptation of the Arabic word “dukkatil” and “dakkan dakkaa”. Trans-adapting “dukkati” to Hausa word of “duka” (beating) and the phonological articulation of the words “dakkan dakkaa” to stand for the Hausa word “daka” (pounding) and the tonal sounds of the two words are assumed to be an echo of the strong punch (kan kan kan) received by the opponent. These types of crude linguistic assessment of Qur’anic verses are many in Tsibbu healing tradition
Tsibbu practice is purely a linguistic monopoly. It is the affairs of borrowing, adaptation, insertion, deletion and tonal alterations at word level. In phrases and sentences, it looks like trans-adaptation of the manuscript text into Hausa. In this respect, Tsibbu is a linguistic style of reducing medicinal antiquities into writing under the guise of religion. With Tsibbu style, the endangerment of Hausa medicinal antiquities is being reduced gradually.

The Position of Linguistic Drill in Hausa Medicine
An overview of Hausa trado-medicinal heritage reveals that, language is an important segment in all the stages of the Hausa medicine. The linguistic usages involved in the activities of Hausa traditional medicines is what is popularly referred to as “asiri” (secret) and “gindin magani” (the formula). Traditionally, there is no medicine without “asiri”, and failure to abide by the “asiri” results in a general failure for the whole entreprise. For one to know the formula, one must be a member of the family who are custodians of the medicine. In addition, “asiri” can only be disclosed to the most trusted and intelligent child in the family. In the opinion of Hausa medicine men, the “asiri” and the “gindin magani” can only be obtained from the custodians of the medicine. The herbs and materia medica cannot effect the appropriate functions without the “asiri”. The “gindin magani” (that is the formula) is known only to the custodians, who inherited the art from their ancestors. In abnormal cases of treatments and medications, where the incantations, prayers, and communications fail to reslove the situation, ancestors’ names are evoked and their citations would be chanted to influence the treatment. Linguistic drill at this stage occupies all segments of the healing art, without which no medication or treatment can be effective. The affairs of “asiri” and “gindin magani” are oral and delivered in classical Hausa grammar and hence considered as the origin of linguistic traces in the tradition of Hausa healing art.

The Result
Language being a system of communication consists of a set of sounds and written symbols. The use of words in language can be either structural or conventional. These bodies of words are man-made which originated from the very time of the evolution of mankind. Therefore, the study observes that language was the first instrument in religious development and faith-healing. Before the revelation of any divine religion to humanity, there were incantations, taboos, gibberish, prayers, communications and citations made to ancestors for seeking medications and protections against ailments. In Hausa tradition, no medication can be effective without series of involvement of language usages in all the stages of medication. Magic spell, knot, charm, rhetoric, hyperbole, diction, power of speech, bragging, self-praise, pomposity, boastfulness played a central role in the Hausa magic and healing traditions. Thus, this research confirmed that, for one to be expert in Hausa trado-medical heritage, he has to be from the original family of the healers and grammatically and excellently proficient in spoken Hausa. In this view, the whole affairs of the Hausa healing arts is the battle of sounds, alphabets, vocabularies, words, phrases and sentences to strike the desired target of medication and treatment. Therefore, the linguistic spaces discovered herein, is a pointer to the need for special attention to be paid by the Hausa linguists to Hausa anthropological linguistics which this research believes it is neglected though it is indeed a virgin area in Hausa linguistics studies. Hausa ancient medicine and practices have a common trademark of linguistic spaces under pinning their sources. Minus language, the whole gamut of medicine in Hausa is hollow.

Linguists estimated about 5600 – 5700 living languages in the world today. Furthermore, it is observed that, Africa and Asia are the largest continents with the highest number of living indigenous languages, (Nettle and Romaine, 2007). In Nigeria, Hausa has the largest ethnic group and the language is the widest spoken language in sub-Saharan Africa, (Mahdi, 1975). However, Hausa language is endangered by variety of forces such as religion, culture and the so-called modern development. The trado-medicinal heritage of Hausa cultural components are severely injured by modern technology. This provoked my research attention to the need for serious anthropological linguistics research on Hausa trado-medicinal heritage. From the discussion generated by this piece of research, research in Hausa anthropological linguistics is certainly left behind. It is the prayer of this paper that, Hausa linguists must come to the linguistic arena to fill in the linguistic spaces in Hausa trado-medicinal heritage.

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