In Hausa the English verb “to have” is represented by the preposition da. Basic sentences take on the following form:
Subject pronoun (-na form) + da + noun
Ina da bokiti = I have a bucket
Ousmane yana da bokiti = Ousmane has a bucket
Muna da bokiti = We have a bucket
Note that, since there is no verb that means “to have” in Hausa, the literal sense of these sentences are: I am with a bucket, Ousmane is with a bucket, We are with a bucket
This same formulation is used when describing people or aspects of other things.
Ina da tausayi = I have sympathy // I am sympathetic
Ousmane yana da kirki = Ousmane has kindness // Ousmane is kind
Muna da gaskiya = We have honesty // We are are honest
Alternatively, expressing the lack of something takes on the following form:
Ba + subject pronoun + da + noun
Ba ni da bokiti = I do not have a bucket
Ousmane ba shi da bokiti = Ousmane does not have a bucket
Ba mu da bokiti = We do not have a bucket
Ba ni da tausayi = I do not have sympathy // I am not sympathetic
Ousmane ba shi da kirki = Ousmane doesn’t have kindness // Ousmane is not kind
Ba mu da gaskiya = We do not have honesty // We are not honest
By adding a question mark and using intonation when speaking, each of the phrases above become questions.
Ousmane yaya da kirki? = Does Ousmane have kindness? // Is Ousmane kind?
Muna da bokiti? = Do we have a bucket?
Ousmane ba shi da bokiti? = Ousmane doesn’t have a bucket?
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