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The largest ethnic group across sub-Saharan Africa is the Hausa and their language is spoken by upwards of 150m people natively and as a second language and is the most widely spoken indigenous language on the continent.

Although confined as a first language to Niger, Northern Nigeria and Chad, the Hausa language has taken on an increasingly important role as the lingua franca of the region and as the West African language of business.

Consequently, people wishing to trade in Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo or Ghana may find themselves needing an interpreter who is fluent in Hausa.

Many dialects are spoken in various regions however the major dialect areas are the Northwestern area including Niger and the Eastern area that contains Kano, Zaria and Bauchi.

There is good evidence that with its use as a common business language it is changing into a more standardised form that can be understood and used anywhere in Central and East Africa.

Hause is written in two ways; using a modified Arabic alphabet called Ajami and since 1912 in a more modern format called Boko. Boko uses Latin characters and is used in newspapers, websites and for educational purposes.

Hausa media including music and TV has also increased the popularity of the language in such a way that it is gaining ground in many non-Hausa speaking areas in Africa.

As one of the common business languages in Africa, it is important that your translator s a native speaker.

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