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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Contribution of Loanwords to the Study of Cultural History: An Illustration with the Dagaaba of Northwestern Ghana
Author:Bodomo, Adams B.
Periodical:Nordic Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:cultural history
loan words
Dagari language
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:In attempts to understand the cultural evolution of any group of people, their indigenous language constitutes an important source of information. This is even more true in societies that do not have a long history of writing. This paper illustrates how a study of loanwords in the Dagaare language of northwestern Ghana can be used to gain insights into the cultural history of the group of people known as the Dagaaba. Dagaare is a member of the Mabia group of the Gur branch of the Niger-Congo language family. An analysis of a group of c. 10 words borrowed by Dagaare from English, Akan, Hausa and Bambara indicates that aspects of Dagaaba culture as we know them today must have been influenced over the years to various degrees by the societies that speak these languages. The study of loanwords can be used to assess the level of civilization of a people before it came into contact with a transmitter language; to explain the migration history of a people; and to provide insights into the cultural, economic and military superiority of one group of people over another. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.