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About Hausa Language

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.

Classification

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 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 at universities in Africa and around the world.

Dialects

Traditional Hausa Dialects:

  • Eastern Hausa dialects include Kananci which is spoken in Kano, Bausanchi in Bauchi, Dauranchi in Daura, Gudduranci in Katagum Misau and part of Borno and Hadejanci in Hadejiya.
  • Western Hausa dialects include Sakkwatanci spoken in Sokoto, Katsinanci in Katsina, Arewanci in both Gobir and Adar, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kurhwayanci in Kurfey of Niger Republic. Katsina is transitional between Eastern and Western dialects.
  • Northern Hausa dialects include Arewa and Arawa.
  • Zazzaganci in Zaria is the major Southern dialect.

The Kano dialect is the 'standard' variety of Hausa. The BBC, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America offer Hausa Services on its international news web site using Kananci as standard.

Ghanaian Hausa Dialect

The Ghanaian Hausa dialect (Gaananci), forms a separate group, as it is falls outside of the contiguous Hausa-dominant area, and is usually identified by the use of c for ky, and j for gy. This is attributed to the fact that Gaananci was historically isolated from the other Hausa dialects. Despite this difference, grammatical similarities between Sakkwatanci and Ghanaian Hausa determine that the dialect was derived from Western Hausa.

Hausa is also widely spoken by non-native Gur and Mande Ghanaian Muslims, but differs from Gaananci, and rather follows the description below of non-native Hausa dialects.

Non-native Hausa

Non-native Hausa is a term which defines the Hausa language as spoken by non-native speakers (especially as Hausa language is used as a lingua franca in West Africa). Non-native pronunciation vastly differs from native pronunciation by way of key omissions of implosive and ejective consonants present in native Hausa dialects, such as ɗ, ɓ and kʼ/ƙ, which are pronounced by non-native speakers as d, b and k respectively. This presents confusion among non-native and native Hausa speakers, as there exists a lack of difference between the pronunciation of words like daidai (correct) and ɗaiɗai (one-by-one) in non-native Hausa. 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 and Tuareg 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 for non-native terms from local languages.

Non-native speakers of Hausa number around 15 million, and in some areas live in close proximity to native Hausa.

Derived languages

Barikanchi is a pidgin formerly used in the military of Nigeria.

 

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