logo of woman with pounder Flag of United Kingdom Nederlandse vlag      

Cawyaŋ Zarma Sanni

map of the river Niger

Zarma language course


The course "Studying the Zarma language" will enable you, amongst others, to greet people, to have simple conversations and to bargain about the price with traders on the markets and in the streets. As with every new language, you have to practice, but you will be rewarded as life will be easier and more colourful if you can understand others.

To get more out of the language course, listen to the audio materials available in the lessons and/or view the music videos via the 'culture' button in the menu on the left. All other materials that could be used to improve your skills and that are available on the internet have been traced and can be easily accessed via the Links-button on the left.

The language course encompasses seven linked components that are always easily accessible via the menu above on the right (first four) or via icons on the left (the last three):

arrow down


Spelling of the Zarma language is fixed officially only recently in an act in 1999[1]. that is why many books and materials published before 1999 often use different spellings. The spelling system used in this Zarma internet course will follow the spelling laid down in the above mentioned act. This spelling has been used in most literature published after 1995 and especially since the beginning of this century.

The spelling used originally in this course[2] followed the system of an available loose-leaf paper courses (see credits). In 2012 a project is started to adapt the spelling to the most recent one. In 2013, this project was combined with a project to update the lay out of the website. The new website, including the dictionary are in the new spelling with the old and other spellings between {}.

arrow down arrow up


[1] Arrêté no 0215/MEN/SP-CNRE du 19 octobre 1999 fixant l'othographe de la langue soŋay-zarma. Document saisi par Hamidou Seydou Hanafiou. Département de linguistique et des langues nationales, Institute de Recherches en Sciences Humaines, Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey, Niger.

[2] The authors of the old loose-leaf paper course stated they have tried to follow the rules laid down by the Education Ministry of the Niger Republic in the early 1980s, and that there were a few words which the Ministry insisted had to be spelled a certain way, but which nearly all Zarmas pronounce a bit differently. This is because of the existing differences of pronunciation among Zarmas, the Songhais and the Dandis. Where such a word occurs in the vocabularies, it is indicated how it should be pronounced, as the spelling will not fit the spoken word. These words are marked with a 'not equal to' between brackets (≠).


Site Search Site Search
Dictionary Zarma - English
Zarma grammar book
Pronunciation guide


        disclaimer contact        
      Dico Fraters, the Netherlands © 2004-2016      
Last updated: 20 Januari, 2016