Happy Birthday, Doktor Herrmann!

Prof. Dr. Herrmann Jungraithmayr talking to H. E. Mai Martaba Sale Muhammadu, First Class Chief of Kaltungo (Picture taken 2009)

My former Hausa teacher, Prof. em. Dr.  Herrmann Jungraithmayr, will celebrate his 80th birthday tomorrow. He was born in Eferding, Austria, on May 7th 1931. In Nigeria, where he has spent much time, people usually refer to him as “Doktor Herrmann” (it usually sounds more like “Dokta Haman”).

I owe Herrmann Jungraithmayr a lot: He first introduced me to Hausa, when I was a student of African Studies at the Unversity of Marburg from 1981 to 1986. Later, at the University of Frankfurt, he supervised my Ph.D. thesis on the Daffo variety of the Ron language, spoken in Bokkos L.G.A. of Plateau State, Nigeria. He helped me get an employment at the Department of of African Linguistics in Frankfurt, where I worked until 1997. He was always interested in my personal and scientific development. I wouldn’t be where I am now without his help. So I want to say with a sincere heart: “Thank you, and happy birthday, Doktor Herrmann!”

Besides being a well known Hausa scholar, Herrmann Jungraithmayr has done much research and published a lot on Chadic languages, other African languages, language typology, historical-comparative studies and reconstruction, and also on features of African oral literature. His list of publications is too long to mention it all. Here is at least some of what he has published on Hausa:

  • Hausa, Ron, Angas – a comparative analysis of their ‘aspect’ systems.
    Afrika und Übersee 52 (1968/69). 15-22.
  • On root augmentation in Hausa.
    Journal of African Languages 9/2. 83-88.
  • (together with W. Möhlig) Einführung  in die Hausa-Sprache (Kursus für  Kolleg und Sprachlabor). Berlin: Reimer.
  • Nigeria. Ein Lehrgedicht von A. Shehu Shagari. Aus dem Hausa ins Deutsche übertragen und kommentiert. Stuttgart: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.
  • The Locative case in Hausa and in other Chadic languages (Paper read at the Intern. Conference on Hausa Language and Literature, Kano 7-10 July, 1978).
    In: I. Y. Yahaya; A. Rufa’i ; A. A. Abu-Manga (Ed.). Studies in Hausa Language, Literature and Culture. Kano: BEyaero University. 327-334.
  • (together with M. Munkaila) On the sun-set in Hausa.
    Africana Marburgensia XVIII. 63-71.
  • Hausa and Chadic – a reappraisal. In: G. Furniss &  P. J. Jaggar (Ed.). Studies in Hausa Language and Linguistics (Festschrift F. W. Parsons). London: Keagan Paul. 62-77.
  • Is Hausa an early or late stage Chadic language? In: Z. Frajzyngier (Ed.). Current Progress in Chadic Linguistics. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 251-266.
  • (together with M. Bross) Hausa cultural vocabulary – Origin and integration of loanwords. In:H. Jungraithmayr & G. Nagel (Eds.).West African Savannah. Culture, language and environment in an historical perspective. Preliminary Report 1989-1991. Frankfurt am Main: Johann-Wolfgang Goethe Universität. 19-30.
  • Final Consonants in Old Hausa.
    Harsunan Nijeriya XVI. 18-28.
  • (together with W. J. G. Möhlig & A. Storch) Lehrbuch der Hausa-Sprache. Köln: Köppe.

For Hausa speakers and students it may be interesting to know that he even translated some of Goethe’s poems into Hausa.

In 2009, Muryar Jamus had a report on him: Farfesa Hermann Jungraithmayr ɗan ƙasar Jamus ya wallafa littattafan a harshen Tangale.

There would be a lot more to write and say about “Dr. Herrmann”.  I will close with a Hausa proverb (Dr. Herrmann first introduced me to this type of literature): Babban arziki ga mai-hankali.

If you happen to know Herrmann Jungraithmayr and want to add something, or just send a birthday greeting to him, feel free to do so!

One thought on “Happy Birthday, Doktor Herrmann!”

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