Learn Hausa!

Learn Hausa, the fascinating and exotic lingua franca of West Africa! Hausa is spoken by over 20 million people as a first language, and as a second language or trade language by about 15 million people more. It is mostly found in Niger and northern Nigeria, but is also spoken as a lingua franca in West Africa, much as Swahili is East Africa. As such, it is found in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Sudan, Togo, and other countries.

Hausa is a tone language and has a few other characteristics which non-natives have some difficulty with. It is officially written in the Latin script, but there are also variations written in the Arabic script. There are very few resources to learn Hausa, either published or online, but there are a number of audio and video resources once you have some basics in the language.

This site is stricly for beginners. There are some basic phrases and vocabulary, and tips for getting started to learn Hausa, but there isn't any audio, grammar or other features of a more comprehensive site or course.

This is your best option to learn Hausa on your own. The FSI courses are old but very comprehensive, with lots of drills and plenty of audio. Best of all it is free! You can download the audio and text, but it is still only a basic course.


BYKI is a great flashcard program from Transparent Language. It has thousands of words and phrases, native-speaker audio, images and more. One of the features I most like about Byki is that it is editable - you can add your own words, phrases, audio and images from other sources, or even create new sets or add new languages. This gives the program plenty of long-term usefulness and value. Try using this program for current phrases and audio along with the free FSI course above for more intensive grammar.

Teach Yourself Hausa
The Teach Yourself series has been around a long time and they have courses for a very wide variety of languages. Although there is a Teach Yourself Hausa course, it has not been updated in many years. It is grammar-heavy (which is not necessarily a bad thing), but there is not much to help you with actually hearing and speaking the language, and there is no audio or other help with dialogue. I would recommend this course only in conjuntion with other courses like Byki or FSI.

Other Resources to Learn Hausa

This is a basic collection of vocabulary and phrases with audio, but there are a few extras on this site. Some of the vocabulary sections have a story using the vocabulary with accompanying audio. This is a great way to hear and see the words used in context. There are also a few student projects posted that include texts and dialogues.

This is a short text online translator that actually has Hausa as one of its choices. Machine translators are of limited use, but at least there is one.

This blog has a few other resources for learning Hausa. There are links for audio broadcasts (BBC, VOA and others) and links to specific YouTube videos in Hausa.

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