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Girki 2.

02
1
GIRKI

KALMOMI

bk (m), bkuw (f)
bk (pl)
guest markd
mrkd (m)
blend, make into puree
puree
cfn (m) grocery shopping miy (f) sauce, stew, soup
dhu become cooked nm (m) meat
db look at ruf close, cover
dr put onto sak = s put (in, on)
ft (m or f) hoping say buy and bring
gyyat (ci/c) invite shig come in
gishir (m) salt shnkf (f) rice
gyr prepare, fix sy fry in oil
hr kindle fire syu become fried
jiy
kfin
yesterday
before
sll become hot, (meat) become
browned
kash extinguish (fire) tfas (come to a) boil
ky (m or pl) stuff, ingredients tun since
kwn (m)
kwnuk (pl)
enamelware pan wank
wut (f)
wash
fire, burner on stove
kwsh clear away, take away yiw do and come
Mg (m) Maggi cubes zub pour
mi (m) oil zuzzb pour (several)
mnt forget


GRAMMAR TOPICS

The Hausa verbal Grade System
ft hoping and s wanting with complement clauses


CULTURAL THEMES

Types of food: tuw and miy
Traditional and modern methods of food preparation and cooking
A Hausa song about a professional cook


Girki 2.02
2
THE HAUSA VERBAL GRADE SYSTEM

F.W. Parsons, the most influential scholar of the Hausa language in the 20
th
century,
developed a classification of verb forms in Hausa called the Hausa Verbal Grade System
(Grade System for short).
1
This is now the point of reference that all Hausa scholars
use in discussing Hausa verb forms. This is primarily a classification of verbs according
to their forms, but the grade forms relate to aspects of meaning as well. There are seven
grades, each with a distinctive combination of tone patterns and final vowels. Video
segment 2.02 Girki contains examples of six of the seven grades:

Grade 1: mnta forget, dr place upon, hur kindle (fire), gyar repair,
prepare, dub take a look, zub pour (in or on), sy fry, sak put
on/in, jum spend some time, zuzzba pour (several things)
Grade 2: gyyat invite (cf. sy buy, dauk pick up related to Grade 6 verbs
seen in 2.02)
Grade 3: tfas boil, come to a boil, sll be partially cooked
Grade 4: wankc wash, kwashc scoop out, collect up, rufc close, cover, kashc
kill; put out (fire)
Grade 5: (none in 2.02; examples are sayar sell, gayar greet, fitar remove)
Grade 6: yiw do (and come), say buy (and bring), shig come in, dauk pick
up and bring
Grade 7: syu be (well) fried, dhu be (well) cooked

I first present the grades according to their forms, followed by a discussion of
meanings. Examples are given with with the 3
rd
masculine singular completive subject
pronoun ya. Person of subject and tense other than continuative have no effect on
canonical grade forms. As illustrative objects, I use the 3
rd
feminine singular pronoun ta
to represent any pronoun direct object, the womans proper name Knde to represent any
noun object, and the 3
rd
feminine singular indirect object pronoun mat to represent any
indirect object (pronoun or noun).
2
I illustrate each grade with a representative two
syllable and three syllable verb.

Grade System Forms

Grade 1: Initial HIGH tone and final a, whose tone and length depend on object type
No object Pronoun direct object Noun direct object Indirect object
y kam y kam ta y kam Knde y kam mat catch
y girmma y girmma ta y girmm Knde y girmma mat honor

Verbal noun: All grade 1 verbs have -wa verbal nouns. Many also have one or more
associated non-wa verbal nouns. For example, kam catch has the verbal nouns
kamwa and kamu.

Grade 2 (= VVV): Initial LOW tone; final vowel depends on object type (all transitive)
No object Pronoun direct object Noun direct object Indirect object
y ura y urc t y uri Knde (see below) marry
y tmbay y tmbyc t y tmbyi Knde (see below) ask


1
F.W. Parsons, The verbal system in Hausa, Afrika und bersee 44:1-36.
2
Parsons used the labels A form (= no object following), B form (= pronoun direct object), C (=
noun direct object), D (= indirect object). I find these abstract labels unhelpful.
Girki 2.02
3
Verbal noun: Verbal nouns of grade 2 verbs are idiosyncratic to each verbthere is no
way to predict the verbal noun of any given grade 2 verb. Some examples: (LH, final a)
kra < kra accept, (HL, final a) sat < sta steal, (HH, final ) ncma < ncma
seek, (LH, final ) ky < kya learn, (HH, final ) gy < gy carry (baby) on
back, (LH, final c) sy < sy buy, (HL, final ) zag < zga abuse, (HL, final )
zarg < zrga blame.
Indirect object: Grade 2 verbs do not have a distinctive form for indirect objects.
Instead, they borrow (to use Parsonss term) their pre-indirect object form from another
grade. The most common such borrowed forms are the following:
Grade 1: sya y say mat he bought for her, fda y fad mat he told
her, timak y taimka mat he rendered aid to her
Grade 5:
3
ncma y ncmam mat he sought (it) for her, za y zaam mat
he chose (it) for her, tmbay y tambayam mat he asked on her behalf
As with verbal nouns, there is no way to predict which of these forms any particular
grade 2 verb will use. Some verbs can use either.

Grade 3: Initial LOW tone and final a (all intransitive)
No object Indirect object
y fta (see below) go out
y hkur (see below) be patient

Verbal noun: Grade 3 verbs lengthen the final vowel to form their verbal nouns, e.g. fta
< fta go out.
Indirect object: Grade 3 verbs are all intransitive and hence never have direct objects.
They can, however, be used with indirect objects. As with grade 2 verbs, there is no
distinctive grade 3 form for indirect objects. Rather, the verb root borrows another
grade form. The most common is grade 5, e.g. fta > y fitam mat he came out on her.

Grade 4: Initial HIGH tone and final e, whose tone and length depend on object type
No object Pronoun direct object Noun direct object
4
Indirect object
y kyalc y kyalc ta y kyalc Knde y kyalc mat ignore
y ajyc y ajyc ta y ajyc Knde y ajyc mat put away

Verbal noun: All grade 4 verbs have -wa verbal nouns. Many also have one or more
associated non-wa verbal nouns. For example, ajyc put away, deposit has the verbal
nouns ajywa and jiy a deposit.

Grade 5: All HIGH tone and final ar, but with a number of alternate terminations
No object Pronoun direct object Noun direct object Indirect object
y fitar y fitar d ita
y fid d ita
y fisshc t
y fitar d Knde
y fid d Knde
y fitar mat remove

3
There is some question as to whether this is really a grade 5 form or whether it is, at least from a historical
point of view, a distinct pre-indirect object form. With a pronoun object, the verb always ends in m, never
r as is usually the case for grade 5, though it generally has r before a noun indirect object, e.g. y zaar
w Kande he chose (it) for Kande.
4
The final vowel of grade 4 verbs can be pronounced long before a noun object. There is some
disagreement among Hausas as to whether long or sort final e are just optional variants or whether a long
vowel indicates emphasis on the action.
Girki 2.02
4
y wahalar y wahalar d ita
y wahal d ita
y wahalsh t
y wahalar d Knde
y wahal d Knde
y wahalar mat trouble

Verbal noun: Grade 5 verbs have only -wa verbal nouns, formed by adding wa with a
preceding falling tone to the base form, e.g. fitrwa <fitar remove.
Long and short forms: All grade 5 verbs have a long form ending in ar as in the
first line for each of the illustrative verbs. Many grade 5 verbs have a short form,
formed by dropping the ar ending, as in the second line in the table above. The short
form can be used only when there is a direct object present. NOTE: When grade 5 verbs
have direct objects, they require the preposition d before the object. With the short
form, the final root consonant of the verb comes in contact with d, which may affect its
pronunciation, as in the case of fit d fid d remove.
-shc form: With pronoun direct objects only the short form of the grade 5 plus d can be
replaced by the short form plus shc, as in the third line for each verb in the table. This
may affect the pronunciation of the last consonant of the root, as in the case of y fit-sh
t y fissh t he extracted her.

Grade 6: All HIGH tone and final
No object Pronoun direct object Noun direct object Indirect object
y kaw y kaw ta y kaw Knde y kaw mat bring
y tambay y tambay ta y tambay Knde y tambay mat ask & come

Verbal noun: Grade 6 verbs have only -wa verbal nouns, formed by adding wa with a
preceding falling tone to the base form, e.g. kawwa < kawo bring.

Grade 7: LOW...HIGH tone pattern and final u (all intransitive)
No object Indirect object
y kru (see below) benefit, be improved
y tmbyu (see below) become invulnerable by taking potions

Verbal noun: Grade 7 verbs have only wa verbal nouns, formed by adding wa to the
base form, e.g. kruwa < kru benefit.
Indirect objects: Grade 7 verbs have no distinctive pre-indirect object form. Like grades
2 and 3, they must borrow a form from some other grade if used before an indirect
object. In practice, use of grade 7 vefbs with indirect objects is uncommon.

Grade Form Meanings

There are correlations of meaning with grade forms. However, with the possible
exception of grades 6 and 7, no grade has a consistent meaning that runs through all the
verbs that can take that verb form. Moreover, with the possible exception of grade 6, one
cannot consistently predict which grades any particular verb root can be used with and
what the meaning differences will be when a verb is changed from one grade to another.
The remarks here are meant to give some general ideas. For a detailed account, see Paul
Newman, The Hausa Language, an Encyclopedic Reference Grammar, Yale University
Press, 2000, Chapter 74.

Grade 1 (Basic forms, transitives, applicatives)
Basic forms: Many verbs take grade 1 as their basic form, i.e. the form in which no
meaning element is added beyond the base meaning of the root. Examples are jim
Girki 2.02
5
spend time, daf cook, zub pour, gyr fix, repair, karnta read, bayyna
explain, and many, many more.
Transitives: A number of intransitive grade 3 and intransitive grade 4 verbs have
transitive counterparts in grade 1. At least in the case of some grade 3 intransitives, one
can argue that the grade 1 transitives are derived from the intransitives since
transitization can be viewed as a sub-type of applicative (see below), and grade 3 is
rarely if ever used to derive intransitives from unequivocal basic transitives (but see
comments below under grade 3). Some examples of grade 1 related to grade 3 are cik
fill (tr.) (cf. cka fill (intr.)), fusta anger (cf. fsat become angry), tafsa boil
(tr.) (cf. tfas boil (intr.)). Some examples of grade 1 transitive related to grade 4
intransitives are fas shatter (tr.) (cf. fashc shatter (intr.)), kary break stick, etc.
(cf. karyc(stick, etc.) break), ragargza break into bits (cf. ragargjc disintegrate).
Applicatives: Broadly speaking, grade 1 used in an applicative sense applies the
action or the object of an action to, onto, or for the benefit of someone or something. One
important class of the applicative function of grade 1 is use as the pre-indirect object
counterpart of grade 2 verbs, which have no distinct pre-indirect object form (see
discussion of forms above). Here are some typical applicative uses of grade 1:
Replacement for grade 2 when an indirect object is added: na say mat ggo I
bought the watch for her (cf. na syi ggo I bought the watch), na fad w Knde
sunana I said my name to Kande (cf. na fdi sunana I said my name).
Making the subject into the source of something where the subject of the grade 2
counterpart would be the recipient of that thing: na rant mus kud I lent them
money (cf. na rnci kud I borrowed money), na ky w dlbai Hausa I taught
the students Hausa (cf. na kyi Hausa I learned Hausa)
Applying an action or object to or on something where the counterpart in another
grade, typically grade 4, would lack an applicative sense or would have a different
sense: na daur sird g dk I saddled the horse, (cf. grade 4 na daurc dk I
tied up the horse), ya gg mn mt jkin mt he rubbed polish onto the car
(cf. grade 4 ya ggc mt he wiped the car), ya fad ruwa he fell in the water (cf.
irregular verb ya fad he fell down).

Grade 2 ALL TRANSITIVE (Basic forms, partitives/displacives)
Basic forms: By far the most common function of grade 2 is to serve as the basic
form for a root, e.g. sya buy, ncma look for, tmbay ask, timak help, and
hundreds more.
Partitives/displacives: Verbs with base meanings expressed in other grades,
particularly grade 1, when they have an appropriate base meaning, can be used in grade 2
to express the idea of removing a segment from a whole or separating a member from a
group, e.g. ya ynki takrda he cut off a piece of paper (cf. grade 1 ya yank takrda
he cut the paper), ya krgi gr gm he counted out 10 kolas (cf. grade 1 ya kirg
gr he counted the kolas).

Grade 3 ALL INTRANSITIVE (Basic forms)
Basic forms: The only common function of grade 3 is as the basic form of many
intransitive verbs, such as fta go out, shga go in, suka descend, hkur be
patient, zbur leap up. A fairly large number of verbs indicating change of state have
paired grade 1 transitives and grade 3 intransitives. Some of these are mentioned under
grade 1 as transitives. In such cases, the best description is probably that the root is
neutral as to transitivity, and its basic form will be grade 1 in transitive contexts but
grade 3 in intransitive contexts. Some examples are tfas/tafsa boil (intr/tr),
fdad/fadda become broad/broaden, zfaf/zaffa get hot/heat up, hsat/
husta become angry/anger,

Girki 2.02
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Grade 4 (Basic forms, totality, separative)
Basic forms: Many verbs take grade 4 as their basic form. Examples are rufc close,
wankc wash, kashc kill, gdc thank, ajy put away, put down, sawwkc ease,
and many, many more.
Totality: Verbs that have grade 1, 2, or 3 as their basic forms can fairly productively
be used in grade 4 to give a meaning of do to all objects, do to the fullest extent
implied by the verb. An English translation ... up or sometimes down often will
express the idea of a grade 4 totality. Here are some examples: ta cikc bkit she filled
the bucket up (cf. grade 1 ta cik bkit she filled the bucket), ta syc namn she
fried up the meat (cf. grade 1 ta sy nam she fried meat), an bugc shi he was
knocked down (cf. grade 1 an bug shi he was struck), na karncc littaf I read the
book through (cf. grade 1 na karnt littaf I read the book), ya sayc kjn he bought
up the chickens (cf. grade 2 ya syi kj he bought (some) chickens), an harbc sj
the soldier was shot down (cf. grade 2 an hrbi sj the soldier was shot), sun ficc
they passed through (cf. grade 3 sun fta they went out).
Separative: Some verbs that have grade 1, 2, or 3 as their basic forms take on a
meaning of do away (from), do off (of) when used with a grade 4 forms. This may
not really be a function distinct from the totality function, the interpretation deriving from
the basic meaning of the verb. Some examples are ya yankc yatsns he cut off his
finger (cf. grade 1 ya yank yatsns he cut his finger), ta karc min yb she
took my banana away from me, (cf. grade 2 ta kri yb she took/accepted the
banana), na krc awak I chased the goats off (cf. grade 2 na kri awak I chased the
goats), ruwa ya zubc the water spilled out (cf. grade 3 ruwa ya zba the water
spilled).

Grade 5 (Basic forms, causative)
Basic forms: Although most grade 5 verbs are related in a causative sense (see
below) to a verb whose basic form is in some other grade, there are a few grade 5 verbs
based on roots that are not found in other grades, roots that are rarely used in modern
Hausa, or roots which, although found in other grades, have meanings so different in
grade 5 and the other grade that the grade 5 form can be thought of as carrying a basic
sense of its own. Examples are yar throw away, harar vomit (up), kayar knock
down, throw down, mayar put back, replace (cf. rarely heard may bring back to
starting point), tarar find, come across (cf. tarc intercept), gayar greet (cf. gay
tell), iyar = idar accomplish (cf. yi do, iy be able, the latter which is probably
original the grade 1 form of the former).
Causative
5
1transitizing intransitives: A fair number of intransitive verbs whose
basic form is grade 1, 3, or 4 can be made transitive using grade 5 form. tsayar bring to
a stop (cf. grade 1 tsay come to a stop), fitar remove, take out (cf. grade 3 fta go

5
Causative is not to be understood in a literal sense of cause to do, e.g. fitar < fta does not literally
mean cause to go out, but rather take out, remove. The causative relation is that something/someone
that was inside is now outside in both the grade 5 and grade 3 sense, and in the grade 5 sense, some agent
acting on an object was responsible for that state of affairs. Newman (2000:651-660) and references cited
there proposes the term efferential action directed away for grade 5, replacing causative. There are two
main reasons for his proposal. First, he argues that grade 5 verbs are not causative in the literal sense
cause to do. This is correct, but ALL syntactic typologists use the term causative to describe exactly
the type of relationship that grade 5 has to the base verbs, and this type of relationship is widespread in the
worlds languages as a derivational process relating verbs. Second, he argues that a number of grade 5
verbs do not have a causative relationship to their bases, e.g. zubar pour out < zub pour. What
grade 5 verbs like this have in common with the causative sense is that they signal action directed away, i.e.
they are all efferential. This is true as far as it goes, but the number of such verbs is small compared to
those with a causative relation to the base grade forms. I have therefore chosen to stick to the traditional
and widely used term causative for grade 5 rather than adopt the less familiar efferential. None of the
Hausa grade forms can be accurately characterized by a simple semantic label, so I find it preferable to use
a familiar label that covers the broadest range of cases.
Girki 2.02
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out), warkar cure, make well (cf. grade 4 warkc get well, recover from illness),
gajiyar tire (cf. irregular gji get tired).
Causative 2causitivizing transitives: A fair number of transitive verbs can be given
a causative sense by using the grade 5 form. Examples are karantar teach, tutor (cf.
grade 1 karnta read, study), kyar teach (a subject) (cf. grade 2 kya learn),
sayarsell (cf. grade 2 syabuy), sanar inform (cf. irregular san know), ciyar
feed, provide for (cf. irregular cieat).

Grade 6 (ventive or Distanzstamm)
Grade 6 is the most regular of all grades. Essentially any verb root can be form a
grade 6 verb, and the meaning is essentially 100% predictable. The label ventive derives
from Latin venire to come and reflects the oft-repeated characterization of grade 6 as
action toward the speaker. The characterization is somewhat misleading, however.
With verbs of motion grade 6 indicates that the movement was initiated away from the
place of reference (usually the position of the speaker) and is directed toward that place.
Examples are fit come out (cf. fta go out), shig come in (cf. shga go in), is
arrive (here) (cf. sa arrive (there)), gangar come downhill, (cf. gangr go
downhill), tr push (this way) (cf. tur push). With verbs that do not, themselves,
denote a change of position, grade 6 indicates that the action took place at some other
location but that its effects are on the point of reference (usually the position of
speaking). Examples are say buy and bring (cf. sya buy), dauk pick up and
bring (cf. dauk pick up), tambay ask and come with the answer (cf. tmbay
ask), kwas collect up and bring (cf. kwashc collect up), mant forget something,
leave something behind (cf. mnta forget). The term Distanzstamm, used by some
German linguists, thus seems somewhat more appropriate than ventive since it captures
the idea that the action (including the intiation of a motion) took place at a distance.

Grade 7 ALL INTRANSITIVE (resultative state ~ potentiality)
Verbs whose basic form is in grades 1, 2, 3, or 4 can fairly productively be used in
grade 7. In the completive, grade 7 has the meaning be in state implied by the verb, be
characterized by application of the action implied by the verb. There is generally a
sense of thoroughness associated with the grade 7 form. The canonical use of grade 7 is
for the semantic object of a verb indicating change of state to be the subject of a grade 7,
e.g. nam ya syu the meat is (thoroughly) fried (cf. ta sy nam she fried the
meat), mt ta gyru the car is (well) repaired (cf. mkanikc ya gyar mt the
mechanic repaired the car). If the object of the transitive counterpart is volitional, it may
become the subject of a grade 7 with the sense that the subject performed the action on
itself, e.g. mutnc sun tru the people gathered (cf. an tar mutnc the people were
assembled), yra sun jcru the children lined up (cf. malm ya jcr yra the teacher
lined the children up). In non-completive forms, grade 7 has the sense of potentiality.
For example, mt za t gyru the car can be repaired (cf. mkanikc zi gyar mt
the mechanic will repair the car, not can repair the car), dy tan smuwa
wannn ksuwa yams are obtainable in this market (cf. in samn dy wannn
ksuwa I get yams in this market), dutsc ba y dfuwa a stone is not cookable (cf.
don mc Knde takc daf dutsc? why is Kande cooking a stone?). If the grammatical
subject is volitional, however, the potentiality sense is not usually present, e.g. mutnc
za s tru the people will gather, not the people can be assembled.

Is grade 7 a passive? A number of reference works and technical publications on Hausa refer to
grade 7 as a passive. In my opinion this is incorrect. I would restrict the term passive voice to
constructions where the grammatical subject of a verb is the patient of an action that was
performed by an agent (expressed or understood). The agent is demoted to an oblique phrase or
is omitted altogetheran agentless passive. For example, the English sentence the dog chased the
cat has the passive counterpart the cat was chased (by the dog). Hausa grade 7 NEVER fits this
characterization. This can be shown in a variety of ways, of which I will mention just a couple. If
Girki 2.02
8
the subject of a grade 7 is volitional, it is also the agent, e.g. mutnc sun tru the people
gathered, sun rbu they got divorced, dan taur ya tmbyu the d'an tauri took potions for
invulnerability. There is no circumstance under which the interpretations of such sentences could
be the people were gathered (by the king), etc. When the subject is not volitional, the meaning
is likewise not that of agent acting on patient. Constructions such as the following are common in
Hausa: mahuc ya gas tsrc, tsrn ya gsu the butcher grilled the shishkebab and the
shishkebab became well-grilled. If the second clause were a passive the shishkebab was
grilled (by the butcher), it would be a silly and redundant thing to say. But it is not. The second
clause is about the STATE of the shishkebab, not the ACT that was performed on the shishekebab.
In languages with a true passive, the passive voice is an independent variable from other verbal
features such as tense and mood: (past) the cat was chased (by the dog), (present) the cat is being
chased (by the dog), (future) the cat will be chased (by the dog). The semantic relations between
cat, dog, and chase remain constant regardless of tense. This is not the case with grade 7. In non-
completive sentences such as kg yan kctruwa the river is crossable, kg zi kctru the
river will be crossable, the interpretation is potentiality (crossableness). It would be impossible
to interpret such sentences to mean the river is being/will be crossed (by a ferry). Even in the
completive, as in kg ya kctru the river has been crossed, the English translation, which
sounds like a passive, is misleading. The English passive could be expanded, as in the river was
crossed by the ferry three times since this morning. Phrases such as su uk three times or tun
safc since this morning would be incompatible with the grade 7, which, in this case means
something like frequently crossed, much crossed. One could add the phrase g jirgin ft by
ferry, but this phrase is adverbial, not agentive. That is, the sentence kg ya kctru g jirgin
ft would mean something like the river has been much crossed, ferrywise.

A note to students and teachers on the grade system as a framework for teaching Hausa verbs.
Specialists in the Hausa language all use the grade system as the frame of reference for discussing Hausa
verbs. It is a fundamental component of any modern Hausa reference grammar. On the other hand, it is
not, in my opinion, an efficacious framework for studying Hausa at the elementary and intermediate levels.
Abstractness: The system of terms of grades and A, B, C, D forms comes from a descriptive
linguistic tradition of organizing elements of a language in terms of categories whose labels have no
relation to the form or the meaning of the elements in those categories. As a teaching and learning
framework (and, for my money, even as a descriptive framework), it makes more sense to talk about a-
Verbs, o-Verbs, Variable Vowel Verbs (VVV), pronoun-object form, etc.
Non-exhaustiveness: Just counting verbs in a Hausa dictionary, the grade system accounts for well over
90% of all verbs. Fortunately for learners, Hausa has only about 30 irregular verbs that do not fit into
the grade system,
6
but these are among the most frequently used verbs, including all monosyllabic verbs
(yi do, sha drink, s want, jc go, etc.), san know, gan see, ba give, tash stand up, mut
die, kira call, etc. At the early stages of learning Hausa, it makes little sense to introduce a system
where one declares that many of the most frequently encountered verbs are not part of that system!
Non-productiveness: With the exception of grade 6 and possibly grade 7, none of the grades is fully pro-
ductive in any of its functions. Basic forms are scattered among grades 1-5, and none of the derived
senses associated with these grades are productive or predictableone has to know the form and mean-
ing of a derived form in advance of knowing that it exists and fits a particular form/meaning relation!
In short, at the elementary and probably the intermediate level of Hausa learning/teaching, the only proce-
dure that makes sense is to learn verbs individually, making a few crucial distinctions, such as the division
between grade 2 (VVVs) and others in their basic forms and the function of grade 6 (o-verbs). The
grade system makes sense only when one has a large enough repertoire of verbs to populate it!


6
Some attempts have been made to incorporate irregular verbs into the grade system, esp. F.W. Parsons.
Suppletion and neutralization in the verbal system of Hausa, Afrika und bersee, 55:49-97, 188-208,
1971/72 and Paul Newman, Hausa, An Encyclopedic Reference Grammar, New Haven CT: Yale
Univeristy Press, 2000, Chapter 74. I do not consider these attempts very successful. The grade system is
an invented system created for the convenience of linguists. It fits the verbs it was designed to fit, but there
is no reason to think that there should be a place in the system for verbs that were not part of its design.
Girki 2.02
9
1. Grade System: Forms

Fill in the blank with the Hausa verb based on the root in parentheses and in the grade
mentioned. Pay particular attention the proper grade form. MARK TONE AND VOWEL
LENGTH ON THE VERB.

1. (fit- 5) Knde z t _____________ nm dg cikin mi.

2. (fit- 6, gay- 5) Mi gid y ______________ don y ________________ bk.

3. (nm- 2, sm- 2) N ______________ bkn gid bn ___________ sh ba.

4. (gn- 4, bincik- 4) Bn ___________ l`amrn ba. Bri n ____________ tkna.

5. (karant- 1) Bri n _______________ hanyr shirn cincn a wannn littf.

6. (tafas- 3) Ta bar ruw wut har y _____________ ssai.

7. (rab- 7) Gtarin rd y fad kn bishiy t _____________ biyu.

8. (wank- 4, zub- 1) Knde t _____________ shnkf kfin t ___________ ruw.

9. (fit- 3) D uwargid d amary sun dkn girk, sai uwargid ta _____________.

10. (gayyat- 2) In s n _________________ k k z gid k ci binci.

11. (say- 6) K tfi ksuw k ____________ man gishir.

12. (sk- 1, gas- 7) Mahuc y __________ tsr tukb nmn y ____________.

13. (gay- 5) D bk suk is, sai mi gid ya ________________ s.

14. (lalat- 4, ks- 1, gyr- 1) Kwmfyt t ___________ an __________ _________ ta.

15. (karant- 1) G littf mi ddin krt, k `yark z t iy ________________ shi?

16. (fit- 5) Nm y sll. Bri n __________________.

17. (say- 6) Kin dw? T m kik _______________?

18. (gyr- 1) n kyan miyr d uwargid ta __________________.

19. (bincik- 4) `Yan snd sun _________________ shi ssai.

20. (fit- 6) Wani sbon ggo y _____________ kwnan nn.

21. (fit- 3) dan Allh y s, n ____________ wannn aik bdi.

22. (rab- 7) Sun ____________ d mtars.

23. (nm- 2, zaun- 1) Bri n ________________ mik tbarm k ___________.

24. (gayyat- 2) Bk naw z k _________________ don lyfr?

Girki 2.02
10
25. (gay- 5) K _______________ min d gid.

26. (tafas- 3) Tun bi ______________ ba zi kn.
7


27. (tambay- 7) 1an taur y _______________ wuk b t cns.

28. (ajiy- 4, wank- 4) Uwr t ______________ yrnt bh t ___________ shi.

29. (fit- 5) Knde t ga nm y sll, tan kuma ________________.

30. (fit- 6) An gam tr, mutn sun _________________.

31. (nm- 2) Mun _______________ shnkf ta kasar Sn.

32. (bincik- 4) Anthony Pellicano, sh n wand ak __________________.

33. (karant- 1) Wn n yak _________________ lbrn dniy rdiy?

34. (tafas- 3) Ruw yan _________________ cikin tukuny

35. (rab- 7) Ki! B k __________________ d ws!




7
An idiomatic expression meaning, (A young person) is acting too smart for his own good.
Girki 2.02
11
2. Grade System: Meanings

Put the number of the verb grade in the parentheses following the verbs, and translate the
sentences in English, attempting to capture the sense of the grade forms where
appropriate.

1. Z t zub ( ) dy cikin tukuny don t daf ( ). T, d zrar t dfu ( ), sai
kwsh ( ) zub turm dak ( ). In t dku ( ) sai duk ( ) laily ( )
s kwn.





2. K kws ( ) sakwar k s wannn kwn.



3. W ya hd ( ) wannn kwn? Ruw duk y zub ( ).



4. Knde t duki ( ) ldy don t db ( ) miy.



5. Mahuc y gas ( ) tsr y mk ( ) w mtumn d zi sy ( ).



6. Don Allh k mik ( ) min tsrn da ya gsu ( ).



7. K mk ( ) wannn hany z k ga ind ak sai d ( ) tsr.



8. Knde tan bkc tan fitar d ( ) ds dban, kwyar masar dban.



9. dan an yi tnkd, gr zi fit ( ) dg cikin rriy, sai mai d ( ) tsk turm.



10. kwai ds turm. N db ( ) t n kwsh ( ) ta kwary n kuma fissh ( )
t dg cikin gid n zubar ( ) kas don kj s ci.




Girki 2.02
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3. Grade System: Derived Grade with Irregular Verbs

Hausa has only a small numberfewer than 30irregular verbs, i.e. verbs whose basic
forms do not match one of the seven grades. Even these irregular verbs, however, take
part in the grade system in that they can take regular grade forms in grades 1 and 4-7 with
derived meanings associated with those grades. In transforming irregular verbs into one
of these derived grades, note the following:
(1) Monosyllabic verbs add the grades 1 and 4-7 endings directly to the base verb,
including its vowel, rather than dropping the base form vowel (though see comment
(2) for some verbs in grade 4). In order to avoid having two vowels come together, a
y- is inserted before the grade ending: ji 1 jiy hear, ki 4 kiyc refuse, ci
5 ciyar eat/feed, ci 6 ciy eat, sha 7 shyu drink. In grades 6 and 7,
the intervening y- often becomes w- because of the lip-rounding of the vowels,
e.g. ciy ciw, shyu shwu. The verbs tfi go, gji get tired, kir call
also retain their base vowels when adding derived grade endings, e.g. tafiyar
conduct, 6 kiraw call.
(2) The verbs ci eat, sha drink, j pull in their grade 4 forms add ny- instead of
just y-, e.g. cny eat (up), jnyc pull away. Note the Falling-High tone pattern.

Translate the following sentences into Hausa using derived grade forms of the following
verbs:

bi fd gud tafiyar
0c gji san tsh
ci gan sh yi

1. Please inform the teachers that (cw) that there is a meeting at 4:00.



2. His wife set out (arose) toward his house after he went and conciliated.



3. Ali has come from drinking. There he is, hes drunk (grade 7 of bug). (sh giy
drink in the sense of consume alcohol)



4. The children drank up the kunu and said they should be given more (one should
increase).



5. Keep (han) the children from going near the well lest they fall in.



6. This road is passable (followable) only in the dry season (rn).



Girki 2.02
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7. Go and have a look at the miya for me.



8. How does one conduct work in this company (kamfn)?



9. Insects (wr) are ruining my sorghum.



10. The dog ran away from me with my shishkebab in his mouth.



11. The cincin was tasty to the point that we ate it up.



12. My children water my animals every day.



13. The parade (ft) will pass by way of this gate.



14. Its possible (doable) that Michael Jordan will return to the Bulls.



15. Translating these sentences has tired me out.




4. Fata hope and So want

The words ft hope and s want seem similar in that both express a desire on the part
of the subject, as in in ft I hope that , in s I want (that) . However,
they have different grammatical properties. Although both are used in the continuative,
the tenses that can follow them are complementary.
ft can be followed only by the completive, continuative, or future (affirmative or
negative); only the non-relative forms of completive and continuative are possible
s can be followed only by the affirmative subjunctive
Both can optionally add the linker n.
Moreover, ft itself cannot be negated, though the clause following it can be,
whereas s can be negated, though the clause following it cannot. For ft, this is like
English: one can say, I hope that he will/wont come, but not, I dont hope that he
will/wont come. For s, although one can negate it as in English, I dont want him to
come, one cannot directly negate the following clause in Hausa, as in English, I want
him to not come. In Hausa, the latter idea must be reworded in some way, e.g. in s y
Girki 2.02
14
fas zuw I want him to call off coming or bn d nakc s sh nc kad y z what I
want is that he not come.
Video segment 2.02 Girki has two examples of fata, one with the typical
continuative structure, the other using d (here) there is....

In fata b k mnta mi gida zi gyyci bk ba.
I hope (that) you haven forgotten that mai gida is going to invite some guests.
D fatan kuma kin dr bincn. Its hoped that you have put the food on (to cook).

Translate the sentences into Hausa:

1. I hope you have taken the meat out of the refrigerator.



2. Uwargida wants amarya to pre-cook the meat.



3. The wives hope that the guests will eat up the food.



4. I dont want you to put any onions into the miya.



5. I hope that mai gida has not invited Ci-duka.



6. Who do you want me to invite?



7. I hope that the water is boiling.



8. Last year I wanted to learn Hausa. This year I want to learn Kanuri (Barbarci).



9. I hope you are not grinding the corn that we bought and brought from the market.



10. What do you hope that mai gida wants you to cook for him?



Girki 2.02
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5. Girki

Use these words in describing the actions in the pictures below.

daf/dhu nm
gishir sy/syu
kyan miy sll
mi tfas
mrkd wank

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9





Girki 2.02
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Tuwon Masara

Adapted from the Hausar Yau da Kullum video set:

T g shi tan zub masr cikin turm dmin t yi srf. Ynzu z m ga tuwon
masr. T g shi nan tan yn bkc. Tan fitar d ds dban, kwyar masr dban.
T g shi nan tan nik masr kn dtsen nik, yan zam gr. T g shi nan tan
tnkd. Tan zub ruw cikin gr dmin t yi tlg. T g shi nan kuma tan tkn
tuw, wtu tuw y dfu an tkw. T byan an tk sai t kwsh. G shi nan t
dauk mr tan kwshe tuw cikin kwary. G shi nan t zub shi kwn z t
laily sai c.

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

Girki 2.02
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10 11 12


1. Using the passage preceding the picture describe what she is doing in each picture.

2. In the table below, list the ingredients/results of each stage, the utensils used, and the
actions performed in making tuwon mas and explain each in Hausa.

Ingredients/results Utensils Actions
masr








turm srf


Miya

Adapted from the Hausar Yau da Kullum video set:

T ynzu kuma g shi nan tan yank tttsai d tmtr dmin t yi miy. Byan t
gam yankw t zub turm, z t nik wannn kyan miy, wtu tan dak su
turm. G shi nan z t kwshe wannn kyan miy dmin t j t zub tukuny daf.
G shi nan kuma tan zub gishir. G shi nan tan kad miy d maburg. T f miy t
dfu, g shi tan kwshw. Ynzu bn d ya rag, sai zub wannn miy kn tuwn
nan na masr. T shknan, sai ci, tuw y gam hduw.

1 2 3

Girki 2.02
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4 5 6

7 8 9



1. Using the passage preceding the picture describe what she is doing in each picture.

2. In the table below, list the ingredients/results of each stage, the utensils used, and the
actions performed in making tuwon mas and explain each in Hausa.

Ingredients/results Utensils Actions
tttsai








wu yank

Girki 2.02
19
Kunun Tsamiya

This image if from a box of ready-made
knun tsmiy mix with the instructions for
preparation and ingredients in Hausa and in
English. Compare the instructions and
ingredients as given in the two languages.








Girki 2.02
20
Ladin Oga
Alhaji Mamman Shata and his group

A song about a woman who cooked food for sale in a town town named Kwana.

Ll g Ldn g.
Yan amsh: gaid Ldn g
Gaish k Ldn g.
Yan amsh: gaid Ldn g
N nmi mtan kauy,
D s d mtan birn,
Dmin tuw, dmin ci,
Dmin tuwon saidw,
K z k b n bya,
Mt m km Kwan,
K kyi tkn tuw,
K kyi gyran miy.
Yan amsh: Gidan su Ldn g
K kyi gyran miy.
Yan amsh: Gidan su Ldn g
dan t yi miyr `yan binn,
Sai k ji miyr sai zk,
Kn miyr g kamsh,
Kmar k damk kdan,
k s kn stur.
Yan amsh: Miyrk Ldn g
Kmar trr tak.
Yan amsh: Miyrk Ldn g
dan tai miyr karkash,
Sai k ga miyr tai kaur,
Kn miyr g yauk,
Kmar k db hak,
Kn k murz hak,
K s wukark k yank,
K s zrenk k dr,
K raty kn wuy,
Miy kmar tskiy.
Yan amsh: Miyrk Ldn g
Yr m km Kwan.
Yan amsh: Grin su Ldn g
(repeats previous line and chorus twice)
M jy m ga Ldn g.
Yan amsh: gaid Ldn g

Girki 2.02
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Tambayoyi

1. Wc c Ldn g? Mn n aiknt?

2. An yn tuw dmin ____________________ kuma dmin ____________________.

3. Wdnnee dg cikin kalmmin nn suk siffnt irn mir Ldn g?

wr gard sants kamsh mask
kaur zk yauk ym dd

4. Sht y c k s miyr Ldn g kn stur dmin...

a. k tsabtat hannunk.
b. k sanyy hannunk sabd zfin miyr.
c. miyr t yi kamsh kmar trr.
d. k yi w rgark ad.

5. Byyn abbuwn d ka gan htunn d k kas: