Hausa language

Hausa language

Infobox Language
states=flagicon|Benin Benin
flagicon|Burkina Faso Burkina Faso
flagicon|Cameroon Cameroon
flagicon|Ghana Ghana
flagicon|Niger Niger
flagicon|Nigeria Nigeria
flagicon|Sudan Sudan
flagicon|Togo Togo
speakers=24 million as a first language, 15 million as a second language
fam3=West Chadic
fam4="A" West Chadic
fam5="A.1" West Chadic
nation=flagicon|Nigeria Northern States of Nigeria

Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more.


Hausa belongs to the West Chadic languages subgroup of the Chadic languages group, which in turn is part of the Afro-Asiatic language family.

Geographic distribution

Native speakers of Hausa, the Hausa people are mostly to be found in the African country of Niger and in the north of Nigeria, but the language is widely used as a lingua franca (similar to Swahili in East Africa) in a much larger swathe of West Africa (Accra, Abidjan, Dakar, Lomé, Cotonou, Bamako, Conakry, Ouagadougou, etc.) and Central Africa (Douala, Yaoundé, Maroua, Garoua, N'djaména, Bangui, Libreville, etc.), particularly amongst Muslims. Radio stations like BBC, Radio France Internationale, China Radio International, Voice of Russia, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and IRIB broadcast in Hausa. It is taught in Western and African universities.

Official status

Hausa is an official language in the north of Nigeria, and a "national language" in Niger.


Eastern Hausa dialects include Kananci which is spoken in Kano, Zazzaganci in Zaria, Bausanchi in Bauchi, Dauranchi in Daura, Gudduranchi in Katagum Misau and part of Borno and Hadejanchi in Hadejiya. Western Hausa dialects include Sakkwatanchi spoken in Sokoto, Katsinanchi in Katsina, Arewanchi in both Gobir and Adar, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kurhwayanchi in Kurfey of Niger Republic. Katsina is transitional between Eastern and Western dialects. Northern Hausa dialects include Arewa and Arawa. Zaria is the major Southern dialect.

The Kano dialect is the 'standard' variety. The BBC offers a Hausa Service on its international news web site.

Derived languages

Barikanchi is a pidgin formerly used in the military.



Hausa has between 23 and 25 consonant phonemes depending on the speaker.

Other systems

At least three other writing systems for Hausa have been proposed or "discovered." None of these are in active use beyond perhaps some individuals.

* A Hausa alphabet supposedly of ancient origin and in use in north of Maradi, Niger. [ [ "Hausa alphabet" ] ] There are serious doubts about these claims.
* A script that apparently originated with the writing/publishing group Raina Kama in the 1980s. [ [ Hausa alphabet from a 1993 publication ] ]
* A script called "Tafi" proposed in the 1970s(?) [ [ Hausa alphabet from a 1993 publication ] ]


ee also

* Kanem-Bornu Empire

External links

* [ Basic Hausa language course (book + audio files)] USA Foreign Service Institute (FSI)
* [ kasahorow Hausa Dictionary]
* [ Ethnologue report on Hausa]
* [ Omniglot]
* [ Hausa at UCLA]
* [ Kofar Hausa dictionary at University of Vienna]
* [ Bargery's Hausa Dictionary Online]
* [ Learning Hausa Online]
* [ Hausa Wiktionary]
* [ Hausa phrasebook]
* [ PanAfriL10n page on Hausa]
* [ BBC World Service Hausa - Based in London]

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