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Proverbs, Tales, Fables and Historical
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,
THE orthography in the present work differs in several particulars from that adopted in previous publications. Years of observation, and much correspondence with Herrn G. A. Krause, while the latter was residing in Tripoli, surrounded by Hausa people of every province, have convinced me of the necessity of introducing changes to bring it in harmony with the system proposed by Professor Dr. Lepsius in his second edition of the "Standard Alphabet" (London, 1863).
I am well aware that objections will be made to the introduction of a new system, because it is new; but no objections will have any weight with me on that score. We aim at perfection, which time alone can bring. Other writers of previously unwritten languages, though professing to have adopted Lepsius' system, will find the same necessity in the course of time of introducing changes, in order to bring their works more in harmony with the standard. Many profess to have adopted the system,
but none (with the exception of Graut in his "Zulu Grammar ") have fully carried it out. The Church Missionary Society sanctions no other system. Whatever can be proved to be in complete conformity with it has its sanction; deviations from it are forbidden, without special approbation given beforehand by the Committee. With regard to the Hausa Language, I am convinced that in case I should continue the former method of writing, the changes now introduced would be sure to be made sooner or later by my successors; and Mr. Krause, a good Hausa scholar, whenever he will publish his books (and, I sincerely hope it will not be long before he gives us his collections) will substantially adopt the same system. We have had much correspondence on the subject and have mutually agreed on adopting it, and in his later communications in Hausa it is fully carried out.
I will now briefly refer to those changes; and advise the reader, especially our native friends and missionaries on the River Niger, to satisfy themselves of their consistency with the "Standard," by carefully studying the second edition of the "Standard Alphabet." The changes will be noticed in their proper places in the next following pages.
It will be observed that the changes are not many, and may all be mastered in a few moments; and this, too, is another reason why no serious objection should be raised against their adoption in the present work, and introduced into the Grammar, Dictionary and other publications as opportunities present themselves and new editions are called for.
Through the kindness and liberality of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and the exertion and enlightened interest of R. N. Cust, Esq., I am now enabled to present this work to the Christian and scientific public, and to all who take an interest in the progress of the civilization and Christianization of Africa. I do not mean to conceal the fact that it cannot be called a Christian, or religious book. The object of its publication is to exhibit the Hausa language in its native character as spoken and dictated to me and others by natives, and chiefly such as had no knowledge of English by which the true native character might have been impaired and vitiated. It does not contain the Hausa language in full; much more is to be collected than what is given here. The collections now presented have been the basis of the Hausa Grammar; from them the