SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa

Hausa 1 (Postgraduate)

Course Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  1. A knowledge and understanding of the basic grammatical structures of the Hausa language
  2. A knowledge and understanding of essential Hausa vocabulary
  3. The ability to understand basic expressions in spoken Hausa dealing with everyday topics
  4. The ability to engage in short spoken discourse in Hausa on everyday topics
  5. The ability to produce short passages in written Hausa
  6. The knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Hausa in particular, in language-based research.


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours language classes per week. 10 research seminars to be taken within SOAS.  Attendance to be proven by signature from chair and to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Masters by the last day of term 2.

Scope and syllabus

The course provides an introduction to Hausa with an emphasis on the practical use of the language. The web-based Hausar Baka course provides audio-visual data, in dramatised situations and conversations, set and recorded in Kano, Nigeria. Topics covered include a range of everyday situations. These data are studied and analysed formally. The phonetics and phonology of this tone language are the starting points and remain core. The varieties of predication, and in particular the patterned verbal system, are studied in detail.
Students will learn to use the Hausa language in both its spoken and written forms. This will allow  students to interact with Hausa speakers in a variety of basic everyday situations, providing students with a basis to approach research topics relating to the society and culture of Hausa-speaking communities and communities for whom Hausa is a well-known lingua franca. The grammatical element of the course is a basis for further research into a variety of linguistic topics.
A series of special PG lectures with associated seminars structured around six themes Structure, Texts, Identity, Society, Translation and Transformation (provided for PG students studying different languages) introduces students to general questions of the role of language in language-based scholarship and research, and provides them with the critical and methodological skills to relate their language acquisition to the thematic aspects of their studies.  

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination (50%); a language learning portfolio consisting of a set of marked homework, short in-class tests, translation projects (30%); an oral examination (15%) taken in May/June, and coursework (5%).

Suggested reading

1) The course will be based on :
  • Randell, Richard, Abdullahi Bature, and Russell G. Schuh. 1998. Hausar Baka (‘Gani Ya Kori Ji’): Elementary and Intermediate Lessons in Hausa Language and Culture. Windsor, CA : World of Languages.

and additional materials which will be made available throughout the course

2) Additional Hausa References
Hausa learning materials
  • Awde, N.  1996.  Hausa-English English-Hausa Dictionary.  New York : Hippocrene. 
  • Cowan, J.R  and R.G. Schuh : 1976. Spoken Hausa, Ithaca NY : Spoken Language Services.
  • Kraft, C, and A.H.M. Kirk-Greene. 1973.  Teach Yourself Hausa.  London : English Universities Press
  • Newman, P. A Hausa-English Dictionary.  New Haven CT & London : Yale UP
  • Newman, Roxana M.  1990.  An English-Hausa Dictionary. Yale Language Series. New Haven CT & London : Yale UP
Linguistic Studies
  • Jaggar, P. J.  2001.  Hausa.  London Oriental and African Language Library.  Amstedam & Philadelphia : John Benjamins
  • Newman, P.  2000.  The Hausa Language. An encyclopedic reference grammar.  New Haven & London : Yale UP  
Further reading
  • Furniss, G.L. 1996.  Poetry, Prose and Popular Culture in Hausa. Edinburgh :EUP
  • Larkin, B.  2008.  Signal and Noise. Media, infrastructure, and urban culture In Nigeria.  2008.  Durham NC : Duke UP


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules