Hausa (language)

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Hausa ( هَوُسَا)

Spoken in


and partly in: Benin , Burkina Faso , Côte d'Ivoire , Ghana , Niger , Sudan , Cameroon , Libya , Togo

speaker 80-85 million
Official status
Official language in some states of Nigeria
Other official status in BeninBenin Benin (business language ) Burkina Faso (business language ) Ghana (business language )
Burkina FasoBurkina Faso 
Recognized minority /
regional language in
NigerNiger Niger
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Hausa language map.png
Distribution of the Hausa in Niger (red)
Distribution of the Hausa in Nigeria (yellow)

Hausa (own name: Harshen Hausa ; Hausa-Adschami :هَرْشَن هَوْسَ) is the most widely spoken commercial language in west-central Africa.

It is an Afro-Asian language and the largest of the Western Chadian languages, with around 30 to 50 million speakers .

In Nigeria and Niger , Hausa is taught in primary schools alongside the official language, i.e. English in Nigeria and French in Niger. The German wave radiates through the transmitters in Issoudun in France of a program in Hausa. The BBC maintains its own news page on Hausa at the web link below.


Hausa is spoken in the following countries:

Language characteristics

Hausa is a tonal language and is now mainly written in the Latin alphabet, supplemented by four phonetic symbols, but also occurs in Arabic characters .

Typical features that characterize Hausa as an Afro-Asian language include: a. the prefixing tenses of the verb, the gender distinction between nouns and pronouns in the singular and the pronouns.


Hausa has a total of 25 consonants, which are summarized in the following table. The consonant system has some peculiarities, especially implosive and ejective sounds: They consist of two locks, one of which is always the glottic lock ('). So the sounds / b '/, / d' /, / ts' / and / k '/ and / y' / come next to "normal" / b /, / d /, / ts /, / k / and / y (spoken j) / before.

The following table gives an overview of the consonant system. If the normal spelling differs from the corresponding IPA symbol, it is given in brackets after the IPA symbol.

  bilabial labiodental alveolar post-
retroflex palatal velar uvular glottal
stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth. stl. sth.
Implosive   ɓ (b ')       ɗ (d ')                        
Ejectives             ts (ts')           ƙ (k ')        
Plosives   b     t d             k G     ʔ (ʾ)  
Affricates             (c) (j)                    
Nasals   m       n                        
Vibrants           r                        
Taps / flaps                     ɽ (r)              
Fricatives ɸ (f)       s z ʃ (sh)                   H  
Central approximants   w                   j (y)            
Lateral approximants           l                        

In terms of vowels, the Hausa knows / a /, / e /, / i /, / o / and / u /, which can be spoken either short or long, as well as the diphthongs / ai / and / au /. In addition, a distinction is made between three tones: high, low and falling tone, the latter is a combination of high and low tone. In the scientific transcription only the low tone and the falling tone are noted. A few exceptions mark the high and falling tone. The high tone is marked with the acute tone: (e.g. á), the low tone with the grave accent (e.g. à) and the falling tone with the circumflex (e.g. â). Outside of scientific works, however, the tones are not specially marked. Each vowel anlautende syllable by glottic closure '(/ / [⁠ ʔ ⁠] initiated): ' aikìì "work".



Nominal morphology

Nouns and adjectives distinguish two genera , i. H. grammatical genders, namely masculine and feminine as well as the numbers singular and plural . There is no case distinction . Adjectives congruent in number and gender with the reference word and usually appear in front of it. Feminine nouns usually end with -a , while most nouns ending in a different vowel or consonant are masculine. The plural formation of nouns and adjectives takes place through different endings and partial and full reduplications. This system is shown in the following table using the nouns teebùr "table" (masculine) and ƙoofàà "door" (feminine) and the adjective ƙaatòò "large":

number masculine feminine
Singular teebùr ƙoofàà
Plural teeburoorii ƙoofoofii
Singular ƙaatòò ƙaatùwaa
Plural ƙâttaa

Verbal morphology

Hausa has a mixed system of aspects and actual tenses . The verb itself is only conjugated in the imperative, which can only be formed for the 2nd person plural. All other forms of the TAM system ( tense, aspect, mood or tense, aspect, mode) are formed by a combination of the tempus and person-specific so-called Person-Aspect Complex and the verb. The progressive is an exception here, as the verbal noun is used instead of the infinitive of the verb.

The following table lists forms of the verb tàfi "to go" from the various tenses and aspects:

shape analysis translation
yanàà tàfiyaa 3rd person Sg.Mask. Progressive "He is going (straight)"
yakàn tàfi 3rd person Sg. Mask. Habitualis "He goes (usually)"
yà tàfi 3rd person Sg. Masked subjunctive "That he goes" / "he should go"
zâi tàfi 3rd person Sg. Masked future tense "he will go"
yâa tàfi 3rd person Sg. Mask. Future tense / future tense II "he will go"
yaa tàfi 3rd person Sg. Mask. Perfect "he made"
tàfi imperative "Go!"
tàfiyaa Verbal nouns “Walking”, including travel

The tense system in Hausa is based on a system of relative time references.

Basic vocabulary words

Word meaning Hausa Word meaning Hausa
I nii big bàbba
you kai (m.), kee (f.) small ƙànkanèè
he she it shii (m.), ita (f.) eat ci
we must drink shaa
her kuu sleep barcii
she ( plural ) suu to die mutù
who? wàà go tàfi, yeah
What? mèè come zoo
human ɗan Adàm give baa, baà
man mùtûm to take ɗaukàà
woman màcè, mààtaa speak fàɗaa
head kâi love soo
eye idòò one ɗaya
ear kûnnee two biyu
nose hancìì three ukù
mouth bààkii four huɗu
tooth haƙoorii five bìyar
tongue harshèè six shidà
heart zuucìyaa seven bakwài
hand hannuu eight takwàs
foot ƙafàà nine tarà
water ruwaa ten goomà
Fire wutaa twenty àshìrin
Sun raanaa hundred ɗàrii
moon watàà thousand dubuu

See also


  • J. Ronayne Cowan and Russell G. Schuh: Spoken Hausa . Spoken Language Services, Ithaca (New York) 1976.
  • Irmtraud Herms: Hausa-German Dictionary . Verlag Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1987.
  • Charles H. Kraft: Hausa. Teach Yourself Books . The English Universities Press, London 1973.
  • Charles H. Kraft and Marguerite G. Kraft: Introductory Hausa . University of California Press, Berkeley, etc. 1973.
  • Hannelore Vögele: Hausa - word for word (Kauderwelsch vol. 80) . Rump, Bielefeld 1995.
  • Ekkehard Wolf: Reference grammar of the Hausa . Lit, Münster u. Hamburg 1993.
  • Anne Storch , Herrmann Jungraithmayr , Wilhelm JG Möhlig : Textbook of Hausa language. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Cologne 2004

Web links

General information

Wikisource: Dictionary of Hausa  - sources and full texts
Wiktionary: Hausa  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Learning aids

Interesting sites in Hausa