Hausa nouns gender and plurals

Gender of Nouns

Every Hausa noun is either masculine or feminine.

  • Feminine nouns usually end in -a, e.g. yarinya ‘girl’, hula ‘cap’.
  • Masculine nouns usually end in sounds other than -a, e.g. yaro ‘boy’, zobe ‘ring’.

but there are exceptions. For example, mace ‘woman’ is feminine and suna ‘name’ is masculine. The best way to verify the gender of a noun is by words that must agree in gender with the nouns they go with. Here are some examples.

  • Showing gender by agreement
  • Feminine forms of nouns
Feminine noun: kyanwa ‘cat’ Masculine noun: kare ‘dog
ce ‘it is (f)’

Kyanwa ce. ‘It’s a cat’

ne ‘it is (m)’

Kare ne. ‘It’s a dog.’

Feminine pronouns: itata

Wannan, ita ce kyanwa. ‘This, itis a cat.’

Ta gudu. ‘She ran.’

Masculine pronouns: shiya

Wannan, shi ne kare. ‘This, it is a dog.’

Ya tsaya. ‘He stood.’

Plurals of Nouns

Most Hausa nouns have a plural form. Unfortunately for those learning Hausa, there are no simple rules for knowing what the plural of a noun will be. Here are some commonly used nouns and their plurals.

Singular Plural
mutum mutane ‘person; people’
yaro yara ‘boy; boys or children’
yarinya ‘yan mata ‘girl; girls
mace mata ‘woman; wome or wives’
namiji maza ‘man; men or husbands’
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