Charles Henry Robinson (1861–1925) was a Cambridge scholar who, during the
1890s, published several books on the language, literature and culture of the
Hausa people. Hausa is an African language originating in Niger and northern
Nigeria and spoken widely in West and Central Africa as a lingua franca.
Published in 1897, Robinson's Grammar was written to serve the needs of
missionaries, colonial staff and army officers who wished to communicate with
the local people, but made no claim to be definitive or comprehensive. Until the
twentieth century Hausa was written in an Arabic script, examples of which are
given, while the exercise sections of the grammar are transliterated for students
unfamiliar with Arabic. The vocabulary, mainly relating to agriculture, trade and
domestic life, was chosen to suit the practical needs of Robinson's intended
audience, and reveals much about colonial life in West Africa as well as
providing linguistic information.