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Hair, P. E. H. (Paul Edward Hedley); Barbot, Jean, 1655-1712 / Barbot's West African vocabularies of c. 1680
(1992)

Barbot's West African vocabularies,   pp. 1-15


Page 1

PL
lijt} 'Z-.                 BARBOT'S WEST AFRICAN VOCABULARIES
Jean Barbot's vocabularies of four West African languages were for long
known only through their inclusion in the printed version of Barbot's account
of Guinea. This account he first wrote, in French, in the mid 1680s, but
an
enlarged version, in English, finalized at his death in 1712, was not
published   until   1732.'  The   vocabularies   were   actually   collected
  during
Barbot's two voyages to Guinea, in 1678-9 and 1681-2. His journal of the
first
voyage has survived, and when this was published in 1979 an earlier version
of one vocabulary, the Gold Coast one, became available in print.2 Earlier
versions of all four vocabularies were copied by Barbot, apparently from
journals of both voyages, into the French account, an edition of which will
be published by the Hakluyt Society in 1992.' That edition will not contain
the vocabularies,    which are instead printed and examined          in the
present
publication.
The four vocabularies are of the Wolof and Fula languages of Senegal,
of the Akan/Twi language of 'Gold Coast'       (modern Ghana), and of the
Ewe/Fon
language of Dahomey     (today   'Benin').   In his printed account Barbot
also
included a brief and hybrid vocabulary allegedly of a language spoken at
New
Calabar (in modern Nigeria), and this is discussed in Appendix A below. A
vocabulary of Manding wrongly attributed to Barbot is discussed in Appendix
B.
* S *
From their first arrival on the coasts of Black Africa, Europeans wrote
down occasional terms in African languages, and from the sixteenth century
onwards short lists of useful words and phrases in a few of the very many
' John Barbot, A Description of the Coasts of North and South Guinea ...
(London, 1732),
414-20. To match the Hakluyt Society edition, this text will in subsequent
annotation be cited
as 1732.
2 Gabriel Debien, Maurice Delafosse and Guy Thilmans, eds, 'Journal d'un
voyage de traite
en Guinee, A Cayenne et aux Antilles fait par Jean Barbot en 1678-1679',
8u77etin de 7'Institut
Fondamental d'Afrique Noire, ser. B, 40 (1978) [19791, 235-395. To match
the Hakluyt Society
edition, the journal will in subsequent annotation be cited as 1679. The
text of the vocabulary
as given in this edition has been checked against that of the original manuscript
(British
Library, Add. 28788) by Dr Adam Jones and myself and a few errors in the
edition have been
detected. Hence certain terms in the list below vary slightly from the forms
given in the
edition.
3Jean Barbot, 'Description de la Cbte d'Affrique, depuis le Cap Bojador jusques
a celui de
Lopo Gonzalves' (Public Record Office, London, ADM 7/830 A and B; Adam Jones,
Robin Law and
P.E.H.Hair, Barbot on Guinea: the writings of Jean Barbot 1678-1712, 2 vols,
Hakluyt Society,
London, 1992. To match the edition, this text will in subsequent annotation
be cited as 1688
(this being the date of its completion).


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