Regularly Offered Languages


Swahili, or Kiswahili, as the speakers of the language call it, is the most widely spoken African language south of the Sahara. It is spoken by over 100 people in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This widespread lingua franca is an official language in Kenya and Tanzania. It is widely used in education and the media.


A member of the Chadic family of the Afro-Asiatic language group, Hausa has long existed as a language of commercial importance throughout West Africa. Today, Hausa has approximately fifty million first- and second-language speakers across West and West-Central Africa. Native speakers of Hausa reside predominantly in Nigeria, where it is one of three national languages, and in Niger, where Hausas represent the majority ethnic group.

Hausa is also widely spoken in the northern regions of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Chad, Central African Republic, the Sudan (around the Khartoum area) and Cameroon and is of broad use in research, commerce, and tourism across West Africa. There are regular Hausa broadcasts (3 times a day) from the Voice of America, the BBC, Radio Deutsche Welle, Radio Moscow, Radio Beijing, and Radio Libya.

The majority of Hausa people practice Islam, so the language borrows heavily from Arabic, especially for subjects such as religion, education, science, law, and administration. Arabic script is still used in literary and religious works, especially among Hausa speakers and people of limited Latin script literacy. Hausa also borrowed heavily from English (in Nigeria) and French (in Niger) during the colonial period. Modern Hausa orthography is in Latin script.


Less Commonly Taught African Languages

Up to thirty other African Languages may be taught in tutorial format:

  • Arabic, Sudanese
  • Amharic
  • Bamanamankan
  • Bambara
  • Chewa
  • Fulfulde/Pulaar
  • Hausa
  • Igbo
  • Malagasy
  • Mende
  • Shona
  • Somali
  • Twi
  • Venda
  • Wolof
  • Xhosa
  • Yoruba
  • Zulu

For more information, please visit the African Studies Center site or contact the African Languages Program Coordinator.