BOOK REVIEW: The Complete Dictionary of Guosa Language

BOOK REVIEW


TITLE:         The Complete Dictionary of Guosa Language
AUTHOR:          Alex G. Igbineweka
PUBLISHERS:     Guosa Educational, Scientific & Cultural Ins., Inc. & Guosa Publication Services, 2007
PAGES:        1 of 24, 529 (Inclusive)
ISBN:            978-30291-3-4
REVIEWER:        Professor Tony Ogiamien
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This is a well-researched and documented lingua franca dictionary. This dictionary, first of its kind and hence a pioneering attempt relies heavily on the previous publications of which two are authored by the author. The dictionary constitutes 106, 962 head words from traditional Nigerian and West African (ECOWAS) languages. This is why the author frequently refers to the dictionary as, "A 20th Century Evolution."
 
The table of content is listed at page 27 with the dictionary contents spreading over a total number of 529. At page 7 are the names of persons, places and things and a reference list. At page 11 is what the author referred to as, Evolution of languages and Dialects into the Guosa Language. They are 118 in number, including, Edo, Igbo, Yoruba, Esan, Efik, Urhobo, Isoko, (Emai-Ora), Hausa, Twi (Ghana), and Ijaw, among others.
 
The author lists up to 200 Guosa Language Numerals at page 13 of 25 and the months of the year at page 13 whilst the English Days of the week listed at page 14. On the same page are the tonal pattern and consonants. It is interesting to note that the alphabets are similar to those of Hausa and other ethnic groups in Nigeria such as the Edos, Igbos, Yorubas, Twi, Temene (Sierra-Leone) and others. How he got it all in his control leaves one wondering of his special masterpiece linguistic ingenuity.
 
The author succinctly explains the verb patterns present and past progressives at page 15 and at page 16, he goes on to highlight verb tense and some related sentences singular and plural of Guosa. Thereafter he state positions with words evolution, numerical and positional adjectives, noun involved with some elementary Guosa Language.
 
The author's aim are first and foremost to identify features that can be reliably ascribe to substrate influence; and secondly, to examine whatever correlations that may be between those findings and what is known about the historical and demographic development of West African communities resulting in the creation of the need for a new lingua franca to be learned, written and spoken by the new mega generations. Igbineweka has chosen to consider any African language spoken close to the coast of West Africa as a potential substrate of the Guosa language.
 
With about 400 different ethnic languages dialects and fractionalized tongues in Nigeria, Guosa alone has its own at least 118 of these diverse tongues made up of carefully researched units of deep culturally based words.
 
He has classified/grouped some of these 118 language units. He uses various geographical labels and linguist groupings in new ways capable of being learned and understood. Additionally, he deals with a whole range of grammatical features, such as reflexes, negative, postposition, conjunctions, several verb constructions, determiners, verb fronting, number marking, and other things. The dictionary begins with A through Z ending at page 529. The author was careful in choosing his references thereby giving academic touch desired.
 
On the whole Igbineweka admits this to be his first serious attempt to originate a dictionary of a language that needs a home. Whilst the textual writings are well crafted there is room for organization at pages 1-24.
 
Despite the above criticisms, however, Igbineweka has produced a laudable referenced text. The most appearing aspect of his dictionary is the impressive coverage of linguistic features which includes a vast array of phonetic/phonological lexical and grammatical features.
 
Happily, the organization of the main contents is admirable, making it easy to follow the author's creativity as puts together a dictionary of such magnitude. The Azekazedu of the Great Benin Kingdom as he is fondly called by his admirers is a member of the Great Benin Royal family of Nigeria. Since the so-called Wazobia met its natural end for lack of unity in such a geographical diversity, the Guosa language came as a Messiah from within; spreading across Nigeria and, the author has done well to distribute the continental linguistic unification to other West Africans.
 
Thus I warmly recommend Guosa Dictionary to anyone interested in typological studies of languages. I would even recommend it for every bookshelf in our homes, offices and schools.

Reviewed by
Professor Tony Ogiamien
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