Hausa is a member of the Afroasiatic language family
and is the most widely spoken language within the Chadic
branch of that family. Ethnologues estimated that it was spoken as a first language by some 47 million people and as a second language
by another 25 million, bringing the total number of Hausa speakers to an estimated 72 million.
According to more recent estimations, Hausa would be spoken by 100–150 million people.
In Nigeria, the Hausa-speaking film industry is known as the Kannywood
Native speakers of Hausa, the Hausa people
, are mostly found in Niger
, in Northern Nigeria
, Northern Cameroon
, and in Chad
Furthermore, the language is used as a lingua franca
by non-native speakers in most of Northern Nigeria and Southern Niger, and as a trade language
across a much larger swathe of West Africa (Benin
and parts of Sudan
Hausa presents a wide uniformity wherever is spoken. However, linguists have identified dialect areas with a cluster of features characteristic of each one.
Western Hausa dialects include Sakkwatanci
, and Zamfara
, and Kurhwayanci
in Niger. Katsina
is transitional between Eastern and Western dialects. Sokoto
is used in a variety of classical Hausa literature, and is often known as Classical Hausa
Northern Hausa dialects include Arewa
(meaning 'North') and Arewaci
is the major Southern dialect.
The Daura (Dauranchi
) and Kano (Kananci
) dialect are the standard. The BBC
, Deutsche Welle
, Radio France Internationale
and Voice of America
offer Hausa services on their international news web sites using Dauranci and Kananci. In recent language development Zazzaganci took over the innovation of writing and speaking the current Hausa language use.
Northernmost dialects and loss of tonality
The western to eastern Hausa dialects of Kurhwayanci
, represent the traditional northernmost limit of native Hausa communities. These are spoken in the northernmost sahel
regions in west and central Niger
in the Tillaberi
regions. While mutually comprehensible with other dialects (especially Sakkwatanci
, and to a lesser extent Gaananci
), the northernmost dialects have slight grammatical and lexical differences owing to frequent contact with the Zarma
, and Tuareg
groups and cultural changes owing to the geographical differences between the grassland and desert zones. These dialects also have the quality of bordering on non-tonal pitch accent
Ghanaian Hausa dialect
Hausa dialect (Gaananci
), spoken in Ghana
, is a distinct western native Hausa dialect-bloc with adequate linguistic and media resources available. Separate smaller Hausa dialects are spoken by an unknown number of Hausa further west in parts of Burkina Faso
, and in the Haoussa Foulane
, Badji Haoussa, Guezou Haoussa, and Ansongo
districts of northeastern Mali
(where it is designated as a minority language by the Malian government), but there are very little linguistic resources and research done on these particular dialects at this time.
Gaananci forms a separate group from other Western Hausa dialects, as it now falls outside the contiguous Hausa-dominant area, and is usually identified by the use of c
, and j
. This is attributed to the fact that Ghana's Hausa population descend from Hausa-Fulani
traders settled in the zongo
districts of major trade-towns up and down the previous Asante
kingdoms stretching from the sahel
to coastal regions, in particular the cities of Accra
and Cape Coast
Gaananci exhibits noted inflected influences from Zarma
, and Soninke
, as Ghana is the westernmost area in which the Hausa language is a major lingua-franca among sahelian/Muslim West Africans, including both Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian zango
migrants primarily from the northern regions, or Mali
and Burkina Faso
. Ghana also marks the westernmost boundary in which the Hausa people
inhabit in any considerable number. Immediately west and north of Ghana (in Cote d'Ivoire
, and Burkina Faso), Hausa is abruptly replaced with Dioula
as the main sahelian/Muslim lingua-franca of what become predominantly Manding
areas, and native Hausa-speakers plummet to a very small urban minority.
Because of this, and the presence of surrounding Akan
and Mande languages
, Gaananci was historically isolated from the other Hausa dialects.
Despite this difference, grammatical similarities between Sakkwatanci
and Ghanaian Hausa determine that the dialect, and the origin of the Ghanaian Hausa people themselves, are derived from the northwestern Hausa area surrounding Sokoto.
Hausa is also widely spoken by non-native Gur
, and Mandé
Ghanaian Muslims, but differs from Gaananci, and rather has features consistent with non-native Hausa dialects.
Other native dialects
Hausa is also spoken in various parts of Cameroon and Chad, which combined the mixed dialects of Northern Nigeria
and Niger. In addition, Arabic has had a great influence in the way Hausa is spoken by the native Hausa speakers in these areas.
In West Africa
, Hausa's use as a lingua franca
has given rise to a non-native pronunciation that differs vastly from native pronunciation by way of key omissions of implosive
consonants present in native Hausa dialects, such as ɗ
, which are pronounced by non-native speakers as d
respectively. This creates confusion among non-native and native Hausa speakers, as non-native pronunciation does not distinguish words like daidai
("correct") and ɗaiɗai
("one-by-one"). Another difference between native and non-native Hausa is the omission of vowel length
in words and change in the standard tone
of native Hausa dialects (ranging from native Fulani
Hausa-speakers omitting tone altogether, to Hausa speakers with Gur
or Yoruba mother tongues
using additional tonal structures similar to those used in their native languages). Use of masculine and feminine gender
nouns and sentence structure are usually omitted or interchanged, and many native Hausa nouns and verbs are substituted with non-native terms from local languages.
Non-native speakers of Hausa numbered more than 25 million and, in some areas, live close to native Hausa. It has replaced many other languages especially in the north-central and north-eastern part of Nigeria and continues to gain popularity in other parts of Africa as a result of Hausa movies and music which spread out throughout the region.
There are several pidgin
forms of Hausa. Barikanchi
was formerly used in the colonial army
of Nigeria. Gibanawa
is currently in widespread use in Jega
in northwestern Nigeria, south of the native Hausa area.
Hausa has between 23 and 25 consonant phonemes depending on the speaker.
The three-way contrast between palatalized velars
/c ɟ cʼ/, plain velars /k ɡ kʼ/, and labialized velars /kʷ ɡʷ kʷʼ/ is found only before long and short /a/, e.g. /cʼaːɽa/ ('grass'), /kʼaːɽaː/ ('to increase'), /kʷʼaːɽaː/ ('shea-nuts'). Before front vowels, only palatalized and labialized velars occur, e.g. /ciːʃiː/ ('jealousy') vs. /kʷiːɓiː/ ('side of body'). Before rounded vowels, only labialized velars occur, e.g. /kʷoːɽaː/ ('ringworm').
Other analysis suggest the presence of the three additional phonemes /kj ɡj kjʼ/.
They are written with modified versions of Latin letters. They can also be denoted with an apostrophe
, either before or after depending on the letter, as shown below.
- ɓ / b', an implosive consonant, [ɓ], sometimes [ʔb];
- ɗ / d', an implosive [ɗ], sometimes [dʔ];
- ts', an ejective consonant, [tsʼ] or [sʼ], according to the dialect;
- ch', an ejective [tʃʼ] (does not occur in Kano dialect)
- ƙ / k', an ejective [kʼ]; [kʲʼ] and [kʷʼ] are separate consonants;
- ƴ / 'y is a palatal approximant with creaky voice, [j̰], found in only a small number of high-frequency words (e.g. /j̰áːj̰áː/ "children", /j̰áː/ "daughter"). Historically it developed from palatalized [ɗ].
Hausa vowel chart, from Schuh & Yalwa (1999
:91). The short vowels /i, u, a/ have a much wider range of allophones than what is presented on the chart.
Hausa vowels occur in five different vowel qualities, all of which can be short or long, totaling 10 monophthongs
. In addition, there are four (diphthongs
), giving a total number of 14 vocalic phonemes.
Short (single) vowels: /i, u, e, o, a/.
Long vowels: /iː, uː, eː, oː, aː/.
In comparison with the long vowels, the short /i, u/ can be similar in quality to the long vowels, mid-centralized
] or centralized to [ɨ
Medial /i, u/ can be neutralized to [ɨ
], with the rounding depending on the environment.
Medial /e, o/ are neutralized with /a/.
The short /a/ can be either similar in quality to the long /aː/, or it can be as high as [ə
], with possible intermediate pronunciations ([ɐ
/ai, au, iu, ui/.
Hausa is a tonal language
. Each of its five vowels
may have low tone, high tone or falling tone. In standard written Hausa, tone is not marked. In recent linguistic and pedagogical materials, tone is marked by means of diacritics.
An acute accent
) may be used for high tone, but the usual practice is to leave high tone unmarked.
Except for the Zaria
dialects spoken south of Kano
, Hausa distinguishes between masculine and feminine genders.
Hausa, like the rest of the Chadic languages
, is known for its complex, irregular pluralization of nouns. Noun plurals in Hausa are derived using a variety of morphological processes, such as suffixation, infixation, reduplication, or a combination of any of these processes. There are 20 plural classes proposed by Newman (2000).
Hausa marks tense differences by different sets of subject pronouns, sometimes with the pronoun combined with some additional particle. For this reason, a subject pronoun must accompany every verb in Hausa, regardless of whether the subject is known from previous context or is expressed by a noun subject.
Time, aspect, and mood
The letter ƴ
(y with a right hook) is used only in Niger
; in Nigeria
it is written ʼy
Tone and vowel length are not marked in writing. So, for example, /daɡa/ "from" and /daːɡaː/ "battle" are both written daga. The distinction between /r/ and /ɽ/ (which does not exist for all speakers) is not always marked.
In the following table, short and long e are shown along with the Arabic letter for t (ت).
Hausa is one of three indigenous languages of Nigeria which has been rendered in braille
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.[failed verification]
- A script that apparently originated with the writing/publishing group Raina Kama in the 1980s.
- A script called "Tafi" proposed in the 1970s(?)
- ^ Hausa at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
- ^ Hausa language at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- ^ Hausa language at Ethnologue (20th ed., 2017)
- ^ a b c Wolff, H. Ekkehard. "Hausa language". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
- ^ a b "Spread of the Hausa Language". Worldmapper. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
- ^ "Hausa language". Ethnologue.
- ^ "Full List: Hausa Is World's 11th Most Spoken Language". The Herald. 2018-02-04. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
- ^ "Nigerian actress Rahama Sadau banned after on-screen hug". BBC News. 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- ^ "Hausa Language Variation and Dialects". African Languages at UCLA. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
- ^ "The Hausa Language — Department of African Studies". www.iaaw.hu-berlin.de. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
- ^ a b Caron, Bernard (2011). Hausa Grammatical Sketch. Paris: LLACAN.
- ^ Njas.helsinki.fi
- ^ Ethnorema.it
- ^ Gibanawa at Ethnologue (24th ed., 2021)
- ^ Gibanawa at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- ^ Newman, Paul (1996). "Hausa Phonology". In Kaye, Alan S.; Daniels, Peter T. (eds.). Phonologies of Asia and Africa (PDF). Eisenbrauns. pp. 537–552.
- ^ Hausa ejectives and laryngealized consonants. Sound files hosted by the University of California at Los Angeles, from: Ladefoged, Peter: A Course in Phonetics. 5th ed. Thomson/Wadsworth.
- ^ Newman, Paul (1937/2000) The Hausa Language: an encyclopedic reference grammar. Yale University Press. p. 397.
- ^ a b Schuh & Yalwa (1999), pp. 90–91.
- ^ Guzmán Naranjo, Matías; Becker, Laura (April 2017). Quantitative methods in African Linguistics - Predicting plurals in Hausa (PDF). ACAL 48. Indiana, USA.
- ^ Hausa Verb Tense - African Languages at UCLA
- ^ Bernard Caron. Hausa Grammatical Sketch. 2015. Hausa Grammatical Sketch - HAL-SHS
- ^ Verde, Tom (October 2011). "From Africa, in Ajami". Saudi Aramco World. Archived from the original on 2014-11-30. Retrieved 2014-05-25.
- ^ "Hausa alphabet"
- ^ "Hausa alphabet from a 1993 publication". www.bisharat.net. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
- ^ "Hausa alphabet from a 1993 publication". www.bisharat.net. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
- Bauer, Laurie (2007). The Linguistics Student’s Handbook. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-2758-5.
- Schuh, Russell G.; Yalwa, Lawan D. (1999). "Hausa". Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge University Press. pp. 90–95. ISBN 0-521-63751-1.
- Charles Henry Robinson; William Henry Brooks; Hausa Association, London (1899). Dictionary of the Hausa Language: Hausa–English. The Oxford University Press.
- Schön, James Frederick (Rev.) (1882). Grammar of the Hausa language. archive.org. London: Church Missionary House. p. 270. Archived from the original on October 19, 2018. Retrieved Oct 19, 2018. (Now in the public domain).
Last edited on 7 May 2021, at 13:25
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