Professor.Mukhtar A. Yusuf
Hausa language is a member of the Chadic group of the Afroasiatic family of languages. Because of its importance in education, politics, trade and commerce, it is considered as the lingua franca of West Africa.
The historical development of Islamic scholarship in Nigeria was the bedrock for the evolution of Ajami or Arabic based-script in Hausa language. It is worth emphasizing that Arabic/Ajami writing in Hausa has rich cultural, artistic, economic, political, intellectual and humanitarian heritage but lack of preservation and conservation of these documents as well as shortage of funds and Arabic-based Research Institute in Nigeria are some of the impediments to the survival of these resources. Regrettably, many important documents and precious collections are disappearing everyday.
This paper is an attempt to discuss the use, diversity and dynamics of Ajami writing in Hausa. The focus is on the phonological and grammatical aspects with a brief discussion on historical background and the adaptation of Arabic characters in Hausa. The basic problem of Ajami orthography and standardization is presented.
It is my hope that this conference will serve to raise awareness of the richness and significance of Ajami writing in Hausa and other Arabic-based scripts in West Africa and develop a way forward for collecting, classifying, preserving and perhaps, digitizing this impressive and significant historical and irreplaceable treasure.
Dept. of Nigerian Languages &Linguistics,Bayero University Kano,P. M. B. 3011, Kano State,