Hausa Printed Resources

The lists below include only works which would be readily accessible in libraries and/or through commercial sources. There are many technical linguistic papers on Hausa in African language and linguistics journals, dozens of MA and PhD dissertations, and many books not listed here which are less accessible or viewed as less useful as primary resources than those listed.

A good, essentially exhaustive bibliography of works on Hausa and the Chadic languages written up to 1996 is the following:

Paul Newman. Hausa and the Chadic Language Family, African Linguistic Bibliographies, Volume 6. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, 1996.

J R. Cowan and Russell G. Schuh. Spoken Hausa, Ithaca, NY: Spoken Language Services, 1976. [This book has 25 lessons using the audio-lingual or mim-mem/pattern drill approach. There are fairly extensive grammatical descriptions. This is the most complete, commercially available introductory course, with tapes.]

J. Lowry Maxwell and Eleanor M. Forshey. Yau da Gobe, A Hausa Grammar for Beginners. Jos, Nigeria: Sudan Interior Mission, 1963. [In 20 lessons, this book presents an introduction to all the major grammatical structures and word formation processes of Hausa in a “grammar translation” format. Each lesson gives a list of vocabulary items, a description of certain grammar points, and sentences in English and Hausa for translation into the other language. Even though the book does not mark tone and vowel length and uses inaccurate or dated terminology, such as reference to “the verb ‘be'”, the book remains a useful compendium of the main structures of Hausa explained in ways accessible to beginners. It is not known whether the book is still commercially available.]

Carleton T. Hodge and Ibrahim Umaru. Hausa Basic Course. Washington, D.C.: Foreign Service Institute, 1963. [A standard FSI course book with 30 Lessons practicing grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary with dialogs and pattern drills. Fifteen tapes accompany the course. Though dated in pedagogical technique and not very rich in cultural content, the book plus tapes can provide a good background in basic grammatical structures and pronunciation.]
Charles H. Kraft and A.H.M. Kirk-Greene. Teach Yourself Hausa, London: The English Universities Press, Ltd., 1973 [Standard “Teach Yourself” series format, with grammar explanations and translation exercises. No tapes available.]


William R. Leben, et al. Hausar Yau da Kullum. Stanford: CSLI Publications, 1991. [A set of 24 cultural readings for intermediate and advanced students. Vocabulary is included in the margin, and lessons end with notes on usage and grammar, with a set of video tapes and interactive CD-ROM’s]
A. Neil Skinner. Hausa Readings: Selections from Edgar’s Tatsuniyoyi. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968. [A selection of 24 Hausa folktales from Major Frank Edgar’s 3 volume collection, Litafi na Tatsuniyoyi na Hausa, published between 1910 and 1913. Each tale is accompanied by linguistic and cultural notes. Nine of the tales are presented in both the standard Romanized orthography for Hausa and in ajami, i.e. Hausa written in Arabic script.]


Saddik Balewa. K’asarmu Ce. (Nigeria) National Council for Arts & Culture/(World Wide) National film and Television School, 1991. [A full length feature film with Hausa sound track and English subtitles. The film “mixes Hausa and Western storytelling techniques to create an enlightening, politically potent and culturally rich African thriller, complete with conspiracy, murder, and the power of “Dodo” spirits.” Highly recommended for a real look at Hausa culture.]

Abdullahi Bature, Russell G. Schuh, and Richard Randell. Hausar Baka, “Gani Ya Kori Ji.” Language and Culture Videos for Elementary and Intermediate Hausa, 1998. [A 3-videotape set comprising 5 hours of short video segments specifically for instruction in Hausa language and culture at the elementary and intermediate levels. A full transcript of the videos and a Hausa-English wordlist of all words in the video segments is available. A set of paper exercises and interactive computerized exercises are in preparation.]

William R. Leben, Richard Randell, et al. Hausar Yau da Kullum Instructional Video. Stanford: CSLI Publications, 1996. [A 4-hour set of 24 cultural videos.]

William R. Leben. Hausar Yau da Kullum: Set of 3 CD-ROM disks. Stanford: CSLI Publications, 1999. [A a full computerized course. The set of CD’s has all the videos in digitized format, online vocabulary, and interactive grammatical exercises.]

Russell G. Schuh. Hypercard Exercises for Hausa. [This is a set of about 25 interactive computerized multi-media exercises for learning Hausa. The learner navigates through the exercises using an Index which allows the choice of exercises on any available topic. Exercises include sound, graphics, and text. These exercises were developed in the early 1990’s with the HyperCard application and hence are technically very limited, but they could still be useful for studying basic features of Hausa. They run only on a Macintosh with a pre-OS X operating system. They will run under “Classic” (System 9) mode on a Macintosh with OS X. The exercises cannot be converted to use with Windows.]



R.C. Abraham. The Language of the Hausa People, London: University of London Press, 1959. [This is the only extensive English language reference grammar of Hausa currently which is dependable in terms of marking tones and vowel length. It contains much information on Hausa, but it is organized in a very confused way and is somewhat out of date in terms of Hausa scholarship. It is not recommended for beginners trying to learn Hausa, but for researchers with specific questions, it could be useful. It will be superseded by the Newman reference grammar mentioned below.]

Philip J. Jaggar. Hausa. London Oriental and African Languages Library, Volume 7. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. [This is a comprehensive reference grammar of Hausa, organized on the traditional reference grammar model, with sections on phonology, morphology, and syntax. It is somewhat less technical and less historically oriented than the Newman grammar below, but it covers all aspects of Hausa and can be used with profit by students of Hausa and general linguists alike.]

Paul Newman. The Hausa Language An Encyclopedic Reference Grammar. New Haven:Yale University Press, 2000. [This grammar is the first complete modern grammar of Hausa. It will be the standard reference work on Hausa for the forseeable future.]

R.C. Abraham. Dictionary of the Hausa Language, 2nd ed., London: University of London Press, 1962. [This is the second largest Hausa dictionary, after Bargery. Fully marked for tone and vowel length with extensive exemplification. Somewhat intimidating for a beginning student. There is no English-Hausa section. This dictionary has been in and out of print many times. Its current status is unknown.]
Nicholas Awde. Hausa-English/English-Hausa Practical Dictionary. New York: Hippocrene Books, Inc., 1996. [This is the only true English-Hausa, Hausa-English dictionary. It is a convenient pocket sized dictionary and hence has limited entries. Tone and vowel length are marked. Almost all entries are one or two word translation equivalents with no exemplification. It is therefore of limited use as a tool for the study of complex texts, idiomatic uses, etc. However, it is the most convenient and reasonably priced dictionary for everyday use.]
G.P. Bargery. A Hausa-English Dictionary and English-Hausa Vocabulary. London: Oxford University Press, 1934. [The greatest Hausa dictionary yet compiled. It has the largest number of words, the largest listing of derived forms, and the largest number of dialectal forms. All head words are marked for tone and vowel length, though examples are not, and it is not as extensively illustrated as Abraham. It includes an English-Hausa section, which is basically an index to the Hausa section. This dictionary has recently been reprinted independently by two agencies in Nigeria, but it probably is not available to distributors outside Nigeria.]
Paul Newman and Roxana Ma Newman. Modern Hausa-English Dictionary. Ibadan: Oxford University Press, 1977; Ibadan: University Press Limited, 1979. [This is a small dictionary compiled with Hausa learners of English in mind, but useful for English learners of Hausa. Tone and vowel length are marked–final vowel length marking is the most reliable of any available dictionary. The number of entries is much more limited than the large dictionaries of Abraham and Bargery, and exemplification is minimal. There is no English-Hausa section.]
Roxana Ma Newman. An English-Hausa Dictionary. Newhaven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990. [The most extensive and reliable English-Hausa dictionary available. Hausa entries are fully marked for tone and vowel length, and many English idiomatic constructions with Hausa equivalents are included among the entries. Appendices include lists of Hausa personal names and place names (inside and outside the Hausa area) with tone and vowel length marking.]
A. Neil Skinner. K’amus na Turanci da Hausa. Zaria, Nigeria: The Northern Nigeria Publishing Company Ltd., 1965, with several subsequent editions. [A Hausa-English dictionary designed primarily for Hausa learners of English, but useful for English speakers as well. This dictionary may actually have more headwords than the more recent R.M. Newman English-Hausa dictionary. Tone and vowel length are not marked, but there are numerous examples of English expressions using the headwords along with their functional equivalents in Hausa. This dictionary is available in Nigeria but would probably be hard to purchase outside Nigeria.]

Further resources on Hausa language and culture, including an online Hausa course:

Hausar Baka Online Course

Hausa online grammar

Hausa Poetry and Songs

Hausa-English-German online dictionary

Hausa language variation and dialects

Relevant links for studying Hausa

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