Chapter published in:Consensus and Dissent: Negotiating Emotion in the Public Space
Edited by Anne Storch
[Culture and Language Use 19] 2017
► pp. 123–140
Programmed by culture?
Why gestures became the preferred ways of expressing emotions among the Hausa
The main thesis of this paper builds on my previous assumptions (Will, 2009, 2015) that in Hausa culture in general and in particular the value of kunya (shame, reserve, a sense of propriety, avoiding certain relations, actions and words) influences people’s behavior. The preferred, socially accepted form of expressing emotions is mainly through hand gestures, facial mimicry as well as paralinguistic sounds and formulaic expressions accompanying bodily movements. The paper describes an elaborate system of conventionalized gestures performed mainly by women. The contextual use of gestures is illustrated through fragments of films and novels. Although the primary function of the gestures is to express emotions, they play other roles: drawing someone’s attention, emphasizing a verbal utterance, contributing an additional, meaningful element to a given statement made or conveying a message that cannot be expressed verbally.
Keywords: communication, emblematic gestures, emotions, exclamations, Hausa culture, kunya , northern Nigeria, women
Published online: 10 March 2017
Bargery, G. P.
Brookes, H., & Nyst, V.
Daba, H. A.
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Gumel, M. A.
Newman, R. M., & Gimba, A. M.
Wierzbicka, A. & Harkins, J.
(2015) Gestures and indirect statements as means of expressing emotions and opinions among Hausa women. In G. C. Batic & S. Baldi (Eds.),Selected proceedings of the Symposium on West African Languages (pp. 233–248). Naples: Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale” Dipartimento Asia, Africa e Mediterraneo.
Films and Recordings
Shaikh Muhammad Auwal Adam Albani Zaria
2014 Shaikh Muhammad Auwal Adam Albani Zaria (Manufar kafa Daarul-Hadeethis-Salafiyyah Zaria 2). YouTube video, 1:29:29. Posted by “Salihu Lukman”, February 6, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJH41TcwfMA (14 June 2015).
Sheikh Auwal Albani
2013 Sheikh Auwal Albani A wa’azi na Musamman da aka Gudanar a Masallacin Miyetti, Gombe. YouTube video, 1:23:16. Posted by “AbdulQadir Muhammad Bello”, June 1, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOxhidpGOuo (14 June 2015).
Mallam Muhammad Yusuf Maiduguri
2011 TafsirinTauba 1–2, Mallam Muhammad Yusuf Maiduguri. YouTube video, 11:26. Posted by “alhajimusa007”, June 5, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3NcgQv-LVM (14 June 2015).