Happy Birthday, Doktor Herrmann!

Prof. Dr. Herrmann Jungraithmayr talking to H. E. Mai Martaba Sale Muhammadu, First Class Chief of Kaltungo (Picture taken 2009)

My former teacher and supervisor, Prof. em. Dr. Herrmann Jungraithmayr, will celebrate his 80th birthday tomorrow. He was born in Eferding, Austria, on May 7th 1931. In Nigeria, where he has spent much time, people usually refer to him as “Doktor Herrmann” (it usually sounds more like “Dokta Haman”).

I owe Herrmann Jungraithmayr a lot: He first introduced me to the study of Hausa and other Chadic languages, when I was a student of African Studies at the Unversity of Marburg from 1981 to 1986. Later, at the University of Frankfurt, he supervised my Ph.D. thesis on the Daffo variety of the Ron language. He helped me get an employment at the Department of African Linguistics in Frankfurt, where I worked until 1997. He was always interested in my personal and scientific development. I wouldn’t be where I am now without his help. So I want to say with a sincere heart: “Thank you, and happy birthday, Doktor Herrmann!”

Herrmann Jungraithmayr has done much research and published a lot on Chadic languages, other African languages, language typology, historical-comparative studies and reconstruction, and also on features of African oral literature. His list of publications is too long to mention it all. Here is at least some of what he has published on Ron-Kulere:


  • Internal A in Ron plurals. Journal of African Languages IV/2.102-107.


  • Zur Bildung der Aspektstämme in den Ron-Sprachen (Plateau, Nordnigerien). In:J. Lukas (Ed.). Neue Afrikanistische Studien. Deutsches Institut für Afrika-Forschung. Hamburg: Deutsches Institut für Afrika-Forschung. 117-125.
  • Die Laryngale ḥ und ˁ im Scha (Südplateau, Nordnigerien). Afrika und Übersee 49. 169-173.


  • Scha (Westafrika, Nordnigerien): Tanz der Frauen am Abend vor der Hirseernte (Encyclopaedia Cinematographica). Göttingen.



  • Der Applikativ- oder Zielstamm im Ron. In: H. Jungraithmayr and H.-J. Greschat (Eds.), Kalima na dini – Wort und Religion. Stuttgart: Evangelischer Missionsverlag. 89-93.


  • Die Ron-Sprachen. Tschadohamitische Studien in Nordnigerien. Glückstadt: Augustin.


  • Fyer-Sätze. Afrika und Übersee 55. 258-261.


  • Le Daffo (Ron). In:J. Perrot (Ed.). Les langues dans le monde ancien et moderne. Paris: Centre national de la recherche scientifique. 429-433.


  • The Verbal System of Ron, Mushere and Tangale – Three Southwestern Chadic Fringe Languages. In: P. Zima (Hg.). The Verb and Related Areal Features in West Africa. München: LINCOM. 132-157.

There would be a lot more to write and say about “Dr. Herrmann”. I will close with a Ron proverb: Ra ɗanggat a zaan mawar kwa. 

If you happen to know Herrmann Jungraithmayr and want to add something, or just send a birthday greeting to him, feel free to do so!

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