H.A.S. Johnston.
The Fulani Empire of Sokoto

London. Ibadan. Nairobi: Oxford University Press. 1967. 312 p.

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Proper names

Over the greater portion of the area once covered by the Fulani Empire of Sokoto, Hausa is the mother tongue and there is no part where it is neither spoken nor understood. Consequently, the general rule in this book has been to use proper names in their usual Hausa form, even when this is a corruption of the language from which the names were originally derived.
To this general rule there are of course exceptions. First, in spelling, the Italian c now used in Hausa has been replaced by ch.
Second, where a name has acquired an anglicized form, this has been adopted in preference to the more correct but less familiar original. Hence Sokoto (which incidentally is pronounced to rhyme with cockatoo) rather than Sakkwato and Timbuctoo rather than Timbuktu or Tambutu.
With Moslem names, where the bearers were Africans, the general rule has been followed and the names have been given in their local form. Hence Muhammadu (or sometimes Mamman, Mamudu, or Muhamman) rather than Muhammad. But where the bearers were Arabs or Arab-speaking North Africans, the names have been preserved in their correct form but spelt in the normal English fashion, for example, Abd el-Kadir.
The first Emir of Gwandu, who plays an important part in this history, poses a special problem because he was a Fulani who wrote in Arabic. As an historical figure, therefore, he appears as Abdullahi and as an author as Abdullah.
With place names, though there is a growing measure of standardization, a number of variations still have currency. Some of them, such as Garin Gabas and Kalembina, are incorrect and should be discarded. With others, however, where the best spelling is still an open question, a choice can legitimately be exercised. Hence Hadeija rather than Hadejia and, among proper names, Fodiyo and Jaidu rather than Fodio and Jedo.

Finally, certain usages adopted in this book must be briefly explained. The Fulani rulers, to mark their greater devotion to Islam, have been styled ‘Emirs’ whereas their Hausa predecessors, though nominally Moslem from the fifteenth or sixteenth century onward, have simply been termed ‘Chiefs’. By the same token the Hausa States, after the jihad, reappear as Fulani Emirates. This procedure is perhaps a little arbitrary, but it makes for clarity. To the same end the title of ‘Sultan’, which, being superior to that of ‘Emir’, should in theory have been used to describe the rulers of Gwandu and Bornu as well as those of Sokoto, has been reserved for Sokoto while Gwandu has had to be content with ‘Emir’ and Bornu with ‘Mai’. Similarly, the courtesy tide of ‘Shehu’, though it subsequently became the official style of the rulers of Bornu, has been reserved for Usuman dan Fodiyo while El-Kanemi and his successors have been accorded the title in its uncorrupted form of ‘Sheikh‘.
Other names and titles which carry special connotations have been defined in the Glossary.