Ben Zimmer in WSJ on "Boko Haram"

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 11 02:34:14 UTC 2014

WB:  Googling <littafi>:  <Littafi Mai Tsarki (HAU)> = Hausa Bible.
Hausa <boko> from English <book>?
All I can tell from the WSJ article is that missionary George Percival
Bargery <<listed 11 meanings for "boko," mostly having to do with fraud and
deceit. For the 11th sense of the word, he just wrote, "(Eng.) Book.">>  It
does not state that Bargery stupidly derived Hausa <boko> from English
<book>. Sounds like another case of missionary bashing.  A more logical
conclusion would be (given the brief evidence here) is that the Hausa heard
English <book> and folk-etymologically connected it with their word for
'fraud, deceit'.

The American Dialect Society -

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