Hausa pronouns


The main functions of the independent pronouns are as follows:

 Ni ne.  ‘It’s me.’
 Ita malama ce.  She is a teacher.’
  • Object of a preposition
 Mun zo da ita.  ‘We came with her.’
 Babu kowa sai kai.  ‘There’s nobody except you.’
  • Object of babu ‘there is no …’, ‘… do(es) not exist’
Q: Akwai “penguins” a Najeriya?
A: Babu 
Q: ‘Are there “penguins” in Nigeria?’
A: ‘There are 
none.’ – ‘They don’t exist.’

GENITIVE (“possessive”) PRONOUNS

The main functions of the genitive or possessive pronouns are as follows:

 gidana  my house’
 motarku   ‘your car’
 Suna zagina.  ‘They are abusingme.’
 Muna korarsu.   ‘We are chasingthem.’


The main functions of the independent genitive or possessive pronouns are as follows:

‘mine’ (masculine possession understood)
‘mine’ (feminine possession understood)
‘hers’ (masculine possession understood)
‘hers’ (feminine possession understood)
nawa abokin
tawa k’awar
MY (male) friend’
MY (female) friend’
nata mijin
tasa matar
HER husband’
HIS wife’


Hausa marks verb tenses with different sets of subject pronouns rather than marking changes in the verbs themselves. There are therefore separate sets of subject pronouns for all the Hausa verb tenses. Examples here illustrate the third person singular subject pronoun for each “tense”. Click the highlighted links to see the full pronoun paradigms.

 Completive  Sun sha shayi. They drank tea.’
 Relative Completive  Shayi suka sha. ‘It tea that they drank.’
 Negative Completive  Ba su sha shayiba.  They didn’t drink tea.’
 Continuative  Suna shan shayi.  They are drinking tea.’
 Relative Continuative  Shayi suke sha. ‘It is tea that they aredrinking.’
 Negative Continuative I  Ba sa shan shayi. They aren’t drinking tea.’
 Negative Continuative II  Ba su da mota. They don’t have a car.’
 Future  Za su sha shayi. They will drink tea.’
 Subjunctive  Su sha shayi. They should drink tea.’
 “Indefinite” Future  Sa sha shayi. They will surely drank tea.’
 Habitual  Sukan sha shayi. They drink tea.’



The main functions of the direct object pronouns are as follows:

  • Indicate the direct object of a verb
 Ya gaishe mu.  ‘He greeted us.’
 Zan taimake ki.  ‘I will help you.’
  • Indicate the object of akwai ‘there is … ‘, ‘… exists’
Q: Akwai macizai a Najeriya?
A: Akwai 
Q: ‘Are there snakes in Nigeria?’
A: ‘There are 
some. / Theyexist.’
  • Indicate the object of ga ‘here … is’, ‘there … is’
 Q: Ina Bala?
A: Ga 
shi can.
 Q: ‘Where is Bala?
A: There 
he is.’
 Q: Kuna ina?
A: Ga 
 Q: ‘Where are you?
A: ‘Here 
we are.’
  • Indicate the object of the preposition gare ‘at the place of …, with …’
 Hankali gareta.  ‘Intelligence (is) with her,’ i.e. “She is smart.”

NOTE: Aside from a small class of exceptions, the tone of a direct object pronoun is opposite that of the syllable which precedes it:

Technical notes on -a and e- verbs with direct objects

(1) Direct object pronoun tones with verbs ending in -a and -e: Direct object pronouns nearly always have tone opposite to the preceding syllable. However, in two cases, pronoun objects copy a preceding High tone. Both involve “regular” verbs ending in -a or -e.

  1. Three syllable -a and -e verbs: In all tenses such verbs end in High tone and the pronoun object also takes High tone:
  1. -a and -e verbs in the Imperative: Such verbs (regardless of the number of syllables) end in High tone and the pronoun object also takes High tone:

(2) Final vowel length of -e verbs: Verbs ending in -e can keep a long final vowel before noun objects. If the vowel of a 3+ syllable verb is pronounced long, the final tone is also high.


The main function of the indirect object pronouns is to

  • Indicate the indirect object of a verb
 Ya nuna mini (gida).  ‘He showed me (the house).’
 Zan gaya miki (labari).  ‘I will tell you (the news).’
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