Hausa Language Service

Hausa translation service

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Hausa is a Chadic language, with about 39 million speakers (22 million native speakers plus 17 million second language speakers). It is spoken mainly in northern Nigeria and Niger, also in Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Germany, Ghana, Sudan and Togo.

Hausa is a kind of tonal language. Word meanings can alter according to pitch differences in syllables. Each of its five vowels (a, e, i, o, u) may have low tone, high tone and falling tone.

à è ì ò ù (low tone)

á é í ó ú (high tone)

â ê î ô û (falling tone)

In standard written Hausa, tone is not marked. However, it is needed for disambiguation; thus, tone is marked in dictionaries and other scientific works.

The sentences take the forms of Subjective-verb-objective. Nouns are modified for numbers and gender. Adjectives agree on the gender and number of noun.

Hausa has many load words from Arabic, English, French and any other Africa languages.

Hausa has two written systems: Boko and Ajami.

Since the beginning of the 17th century, Hausa has been written with a version of the Arabic script, which is called “ajami”. Most of the early writing in Hausa was Islamic poetry or on Islamic themes. Nowadays, “ajami” is still used, not only for poetries, but also for at least one newspaper and some books.

Since there is no standard spelling system for Hausa written with Arabic Script, different writers make some variation in spelling.

“Boko”, the other Hausa written form with Latin alphabet, began to emerge in the 19th century.

Until 1950s, both “ajami” and “Boko” were used, and “Boko” has been the main alphabet for most of Hausa speakers.

The alphabets for both languages are as follows:

ajami – Arabic alphabet for Hausa

Latin IPA Arabic ajami

a /a/ ـَ

a /aː/ ـَا

b /b/ ب

ɓ /ɓ/ ب (same as b), ٻ (not used in Arabic)

c /tʃ/ ث

d /d/ د

ɗ /ɗ/ د (same as d), ط (also used for ts)

e /e/ تٜ (not used in Arabic)

e /eː/ تٰٜ (not used in Arabic)

f /ɸ/ ف

g /ɡ/ غ

h /h/ ه

i /i/ ـِ

i /iː/ ـِى

j /(d)ʒ/ ج

k /k/ ك

ƙ /kʼ/ ك (same as k), ق

l /l/ ل

m /m/ م

n /n/ ن

o /o/ ـُ (same as u)

o /oː/ ـُو (same as u)

r /r/, /ɽ/ ر

s /s/ س

sh /ʃ/ ش

t /t/ ت

ts /(t)sʼ/ ط (also used for ɗ), ڟ (not used in Arabic)

u /u/ ـُ (same as o)

u /uː/ ـُو (same as o)

w /w/ و

y /j/ ى

z /z/ ز, ذ

ʼ /ʔ/ ع

Boko – Latin alphabet for Hausa

A a B b Ɓ ɓ C c D d Ɗ ɗ E e F f G g H h I i J j K k Ƙ ƙ L l

/a/ /b/ /ɓ/ /tʃ/ /d/ /ɗ/ /e/ /ɸ/ /ɡ/ /h/ /i/ /(d)ʒ/ /k/ /kʼ/ /l/

M m N n O o R r S s Sh sh T t Ts ts U u W w Y y (Ƴ ƴ) Z z ʼ

/m/ /n/ /o/ /r/, /ɽ/ /s/ /ʃ/ /t/ /(t)sʼ/ /u/ /w/ /j/ /ʔʲ/ /z/ /ʔ/

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

Consonant phonemes

Bilabial Alveolar Post-

alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal

palatalized Plain labialized Plain palatalized

Nasal m n

Stop voiceless t t͡ʃ c k kʷ ʔ ʔʲ

voiced b d d͡ʒ ɟ ɡ ɡʷ

ejective t͡sʼ t͡ʃʼ cʼ kʼ kʷʼ

implosive ɓ ɗ

Fricative voiceless ɸ s ʃ h

voiced z

Trill r

Flap ɽ

Approximant l j w

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