Sorting Fact from Fiction: A Critical Review and Revision of Hausa Minimal Pairs in Phonological Literature


    This research addresses the issues surrounding Hausa minimal pairs, aiming to separate fact from fiction in existing literature and provide a solid foundation for phonological analysis. By consulting trustworthy dictionaries and engaging with native speakers, we validate and refine our analysis of minimal pairs. Our study identifies and analyzes valid minimal pairs, highlighting the fundamental phonemes and their impact on meaning. We also eliminate inaccurate pairs and explore expanded minimal sets and suprasegmental pairs to further enrich our understanding of sound and tone in Hausa. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between phonemes and meaning in the Hausa language. In light of our research, we propose a corrected table of Hausa minimal pairs, addressing inaccuracies and inconsistencies found in previous studies. We also emphasize the need for meticulous analysis and careful interpretation when identifying and interpreting minimal pairs, as ambiguities may arise. This calls for collaboration with experts and transparent documentation of revisions to ensure uncompromising accuracy. The dissemination of reliable examples of minimal pairs is crucial for their proper use in research, education, and technological applications. We advocate for the promotion of these examples and the awareness of their importance in understanding the sound patterns and internal structure of the Hausa language.

    Keywords: Hausa minimal pairs, phonology, phonemes, lexical contrast, ambiguity, accuracy, expanded minimal sets, suprasegmental pairs, tone, dissemination, education


    author/Umar, M.A. & Muhammad, I.

    journal/Tasambo JLLC | 15 February 2024 |  Article 16