Hausa is a Chadic language with about 39 million speakers. It is spoken
mainly in northern Nigeria and Niger, and also in Benin, Burkina Faso,
Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Germany, Ghana, Sudan and Togo.
Since the beginning of the 17th century, Hausa has been written with
a version of the Arabic script known as ajami. Most of the early
writing in Hausa was Islamic poetry or on Islamic themes. Ajami
is still used, mainly to write poetry, but also for at least one newpaper
and some books. There is no standard spelling system for Hausa written with
the Arabic script so there is some variation in spelling between different
A version of Hausa written with the Latin alphabet and known as boko
began to emerge during the 19th century. Until the 1950s ajami
and boko were both used, though since then boko has been
the main alphabet for most Hausa speakers.
Arabic alphabet for Hausa (ajami)
Latin alphabet for Hausa (boko)
Long vowels are either indicated by doubling (aa, ee, etc) in Nigeria,
and by a macron (ā, ē, etc) elsewhere. Long consonants are
indicated by doubling.
Hausa has a number of tones: a high tone, which is indicate by an acute accent,
(á, é, etc), a low tone, which is indicate by a grave accent,
(à, è, etc), and a high-low falling tone, which is indicate by a
circumflex accent, (â, ê, etc)
Sample text in ajami
A verse from Aljiyu Namangi, Imfiraji, Part 3 (Verse 3)
Sample text in boko
Su dai yan-adam, ana haifuwarsu ne duka yantattu, kuma kowannensu na da
mutunci da hakkoki daidai da na kowa. Suna da hankali da tunani, saboda
haka duk abin da za su aikata wa juna, ya kamata su yi shi a cikin yan-uwanci.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are
endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a
spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)