Text language: English
Carl Hoffmann (13th June 1925–28 April 2007) conducted fieldwork on Margi, a Central Chadic language spoken in north-eastern Nigeria, in the 1950s, the result of which was his famous Grammar of the Margi Language. He left behind extensive hand-written notes on the vocabulary of the language, which meet the same high-quality standards of his grammar but remained unpublished. The present dictionary makes these materials available to the public, focussing on the most relevant and ascertained portions of Hoffmann’s records while omitting some entries of more dubious quality.
This results in a dictionary with more than 2,000 head-words, often detailed by further sub-entries. The dictionary covers not only the basic vocabulary of the language, but also includes several expressions that belonged to the sphere of traditional religion and material culture and are no longer familiar to modern speakers. Borrowings from neighbouring languages, notably Kanuri, Hausa and Fulani, are indicated. Hoffmann’s transcriptions are not phonemic but tend to over-differentiate particularly the vowel system. The introductory sections of this dictionary provide a discussion of some crucial issues of phonology and enable the readers to translate Hoffmann’s notations into more abstract phonological representations, if desired. They also elucidate some additional grammatical topics going beyond what has been known from Hoffmann’s published grammar.