Hausa Language - interesting facts about Nigeria's most widely spoken dialect
The Hausa Language
The Hausa language is a Chadic language, a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. About 35 million people speak it as a first language, and at least 1 million people speak it as a second language. The Hausa are distributed in many parts of Africa and are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, with the largest number of tribes concentrated in Nigeria and Niger Republic.
The Hausawa or Hausa people originated in Dura, a city whose traditions and culture predate all the major Hausa cities. Horses play an important role in Hausa culture, especially for kings, as historically the Hausa nobility developed an equestrian culture. Interestingly, even today, the horse is considered a traditional aristocratic status symbol.
Let's move on to some other interesting facts about Hausa.
1. It has an advanced writing system.
Hausa is undoubtedly one of the most advanced languages in Nigeria and the whole of Africa. The language was once written in another Arabic script called Ajami, but is now written in a Latin script called Bokko. There is also a Hausa Braille system. The first Boko was invented by Europeans in the early 19th century and developed by British (mainly) and French colonial authorities in the early 20th century. Boko became the official Hausa alphabet in 1930, and has been the main Hausa alphabet since the 1950s, so Ajami (Arabic script) is now only used in Islamic schools and Islamic literature.
2. It is a widely spoken Nigerian language.
Hausa is arguably the most widely spoken Nigerian language as it is spoken in communities outside the country. Although the vast majority of native speakers of Hausa are found in northern Nigeria, Chad and the Niger Republic, it is also used as a commercial language in parts of West Africa such as Benin, Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast. Hausa is also spoken in the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Gabon, as well as in northwestern Sudan.
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