Maganar hannu (Language of the Hands): A Descriptive Analysis of Hausa Sign Language
The main part of the book is devoted to the analysis of HSL itself. The description focuses on manual signs. In Chapter 4, I will look at the phonological structure of signs and present an inventory of the sublexical components in HSL, i.e. the manual and non-manual parameters. Chapter 5 is concerned with morphological processes in HSL. I will investigate different types of polymorphemic signs which can be composed both through simultaneous and sequential processes. In Chapter 6, the role of iconicity in the established lexicon will be examined. I will also briefly describe instances of lexical borrowing and of lexical variation in HSL. A summary is given at the beginning of each chapter.
The analysis does not follow any particular model; however, each chapter in the main part of the book is introduced with an overview of different models of analysis and current issues of debate. Further references which are of relevance for the data discussed are given within each chapter in footnotes. Where necessary or useful, comparison with better researched sign languages is included. I have chosen to transcribe a large number of sign examples to make the data more easily accessible to the reader even at the risk of producing a rather bulky piece of work. A large amount of space has also been allowed for culture-specific vocabulary.
This book is a revised version of my 1997 PhD dissertation. Literature since that date has not been included. The book does not claim to be a complete description of HSL; the analysis is open to revision and modification. More detailed research is needed in a number of areas, for example regarding the syntactic structure of HSL, the relationship of HSL to spoken Hausa, and the question of lectal variation within HSL. Documentation of sign languages such as HSL can contribute to the search for language universals in general and sign language universals in particular. It could also help in testing and possibly modifying models which have been developed for the linguistic analysis of sign languages to date. Despite problems of distance and finance it is hoped that the data presented in this book will provide the practical basis for the production of a Hausa Sign Language dictionary.