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Hausa

HAUSA

© Lonely Planet Publications

pronunciation

hausa

introduction

Symbol

English sound

Symbol

English sound

a

run

b

bed

aa

father

b’

strong b with air
sucked inward

ai

aisle

ch

cheat

aw

law

d

dog

ay

say

d’

e

bet

g

strong d with air
sucked inward
go

ey

as in ‘bet’, but longer

h

hat

ee

see

j

jar

i

hit

k

kit

o

pot

k’

strong k

oo

zoo

l

lot

ow

now

m

man

u

put

n

not

’

like the pause in ‘uh-oh’
(comes before a vowel)

p

pet

r

run

s

sun

sh

shot

t

top

Ouagadougou

ts’

as in ‘lets’, but spat out

w

win

CÔTE
D’IVOIRE Vo l t a
GHANA

y

yes

e
il

500 km
300 mi

N

N IGE R

MALI
g

BENIN
TOGO

Khartoum

Njadema

S U DAN

i

N IGERIA

Cotonou
Accra Lomé
Gulf of Guinea

Abuja

CAMEROON

EQUATORIAL GUINEA
SAÕ TOME & PRINCIPÉ

ATL A N TI C
O CEA N

Yaounde

te

CENTRAL
AFRICAN
REPUBLIC
Bangui

Co

GABON
CONGO

ngo

W hi

Ni

CHAD
Chad

Nl
e

Niamey

BURKINA
FASO

ETHIOPIA

Tu r ka n a

UGANDA KENYA
DEMOCRATIC
Victoria
REPUBLIC
OF CONGO RWANDA
(ZAÏRE) Burundi BURUNDI

i n t r o d u c t i o n – HAU S A

a

0
0

ile

spat out y
zero

Nasser

Se

y’
z

E GY PT

e N

Hausa’s glottalised consonants,
simplified here as b’, d’, k’, ts’ and y’, are
made by tightening and releasing
the space between the vocal cords
when you pronounce the sound. The b’ and
d’ sounds have an extra twist – instead of
breathing out, you breathe in.

LIBYA

A L GERIA

d

naa gaw·dey

hausa (generally understood)

Bl u

Na gode.

hausa (native language)

Re

In this chapter, the Hausa
pronunciation is given in purple
after each phrase. Each syllable is
separated by a dot. For example:

According to some scholars, the name ‘Hausa’ is derived from a phrase meaning ‘to
climb/ride the bull’. As one of the lingua francas of West Africa, Hausa (Hausa how·sa)
is spoken by around 40 million people. For over half of these, Hausa is their first language. Most native speakers live in northern Nigeria and southern Niger, where
Hausa is one of the national languages. There’s a small community of native speakers
in the Blue Nile area of Sudan, and it’s also spoken in parts of Benin, Cameroon, and
Ghana. Hausa is one of the Chadic languages (in the Afro-Asiatic language family),
which came from the southern shores of Lake Chad in present-day northeastern
Nigeria and northern Cameroon, and gradually migrated westward over the centuries. In the past, Hausa was written in ajami, a modified form of Arabic script, but since
the early 19th ce...
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