Zarma phrasebook

Zarma is the local language of southwestern Niger, including areas along the Niger River and in the Nigerien capital Niamey, and with 2 million speakers is the second-most spoken language in Niger after Hausa. Zarma is one of the dialects of the Songhay language and is mutually intelligible with Songhay dialects spoken in Eastern Mali.

source : Wikivoyage

Pronounciation Guide and Phrase List

  • Vowels

    · There are ten vowels: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/ and their nasalized counterparts which are denoted by either a tilde or a following 'n' or 'ŋ'.

  • Basics

    · Keep in mind that greetings are very important in this region, and greeting someone often involves a plethora of questions (how are you/your family/your health/your work/etc.?). For most of these you can just respond "Baani Samay", or "Taali si no."

    · Hello.,Fo/Fofo. (" ")

    · Welcome.,Fo'ndakayan/Kubayni

    · Hello, how are you?. ("morning"),Aran kani baani?/Wor kani baani?. (" ")

    · Hello, how are you? ("afternoon"),Aran foy baani?/Wor hoy Baani?? (" ?")

    · How is your family?,Mate fu?

    · How is your health?,Mate ga ham?

    · How is your work?,Mate goyo?

    · How is the heat?,Mate doon'gay?

    · Fine, thank you. ("Response to all above questions"),Sameyno/Baani Samey (" ")

    · No problems. ("Response to all above questions"),Taali si no

    · I'm thankful (to God). ("Occasional response to above questions"),Ay g'Irkoy saabu

    · What is your name?,Mateno ni ma/Mate ga ti ni ma/Mate ga ti ni mayo?? (" ?")

    · My name is ______ .,Ay ma ga ti ____. (" _____ .")

    · Nice to meet you.,. (" ")

    · Please.,Alhanan. (" ")

    · I want cold water/Give me cold water.,Ay ga ba haari yeno/Ay no hari yeno (" ")

    · Thank you.,Fofo. (" ")

    · You're welcome.,A sinda hay fo. (" ")

    · Yes.,Ah'hoh. (" ")

    · No.,Ha'a. (" ")

    · Excuse me. ("getting attention"),Alhanan. (" ")

    · Excuse me. ("begging pardon"),. (" ")

    · I'm sorry.,Alhanan. (" ")

    · Goodbye,Kala tonton. (" ")

    · Goodbye ("until the following day"),kala han fo. (" ")

    · Until tomorrow.,kala souba.

    · I can't speak "Zarma" (lit. "I do not understand Zarma").,Ay sii ma Zarma. (" [ ]")

    · Do you speak French?,Ni ga ma faransi ciine?/Ni ga ma faransi saani? (" ?")

    · Is there someone here who speaks French?,Boro go no kan ga ma faransi saani? (" ?")

    · Help!,Ay gaakasinay! (" !")

    · Look out!,Haggoy fa! (" !")

    · Good morning.,Aran kani baani?/kanibaani. (" ")

    · Good afternoon.,Aran foy baani ?/Hoybaani. (" ")

    · Good evening.,Matey aran wichira ?. (" ")

    · ' Good night. : Cino ma boori

    · Good night (lit. "Sleep well."),Iri ma kani baani. (" ")

    · I don't understand.,ay sii ga faham. (" ")

    · Where is the toilet?,Man no koso(ndo) go/Man no salan'ga/Man no dusero go? (" ?")

    · I'm going to go out.,ay go koy

    · I'm going to return.,ay ga ye ga ka

    · Quitely, a little.,Moso moso/kayna kayna/A fofo

    · Stranger. ("European"),Annasara

    · Guest.,Yaw

    · Small.,Kayna

    · Large/big.,Ber/Beri/Iberi

    · Bambbata

    · OK.,Toh.

  • Problems

    · Go away!,Wa koy!!

    · Don't touch me!,Wa si lambay ga!,I'll call the police! : Ay ga polisay ce!

    · Police!,Polici!

    · Stop!,Wa di Zay!,Help me, please. : Wa'y faba!

    · It's an emergency!,Cahakomey wonno!

    · I'm lost.,Ay darey no.

    · I've lost my,Ay [fola/zaalifonta no darey.

    · I'm sick.,Ay go ga ma Doori.

    · I'm hurt.,Ay marey no.

    · I need a doctor.,Logotoro no ay ga ba.

    · May I use your telephone?,Ay ga hini ga goy da ni talfono?

    · Go!,Ir ma koy!

    · Quickly!,Waasi!

  • Numbers

    · 1,Ifo/Afo

    · 2,Ihinka

    · 3,Ihinza

    · 4,Itaci

    · 5,Igu

    · 6,Iddu

    · 7,Iyye

    · 8,Ihaku/Ahaku

    · 9,Iyagga/Egga

    · 10,Iway

    · 11, 12, 13, etc.,Iway cind'[1-9] (example: 11 is Iway cind'ifo)

    · 20,Waranka

    · 21,Waranka cind'ifo

    · 30,waranza

    · 40,waytaci

    · 50,waygu

    · 60,waydu

    · 70,wayadu

    · 80,wahakku

    · 90,wayagga

    · 100,zangu

    · 200,Zangu hinka

    · 300,Zangu hinza

    · 1000,Zanbar fo

    · 2000,Zanbar hinka

    · 1,000,000,Milyo fo

    · Number ___ (train, bus),lamba ___ (Zirjo, Karo)

    · Half.,Jare

  • Time

    · Now.,Sohon

    · Late.,Da tonton

    · Before.,Halaga

    · Morning. ("after sunrise"),Susubey

    · In the morning.,Susuba ra

    · Afternoon.,Zaari/Alula

    · Evening. ("before sunset"),Alasar

    · Evening. ("after sunset"),Almari

    · In the evening.,Almaro ra

    · Night.,cinci

  • Clock time

    · The 12-hour clock is used.

    · 1 o'clock,Guru fo

    · 2 o'clock,Guru hinka

    · 9 o'clock (lit. "morning hour nine"),Susubey guru yegga

    · noon,midi (French loan word)

    · 13.00 (lit. "afternoon hour one"),Zaaro guru fo

    · 18.00 (lit. "evening hour six"),Wicirkanbu guru iddu

    · Midnight,minuit (French loan word)

    · 7.30,Guru egga nda jere

  • Duration

    · ___ minutes,___ Minti

    · ___ hours,___ guru

    · ___ days,___ zaari

    · ___ weeks,___ habu

    · ___ months,___ handu

    · ___ years,___ jiiri

    · weekly,habou ga ka habu

    · monthly,habou ga ka handu

    · yearly,Jiiri ga ka Jiiri

  • Days

    · today,Honzaari/Honkuna

    · yesterday,Bi

    · tomorrow,Suba

    · this week,habo wo

    · last week,habo kan bisa

    · next week,habo kan go ka

    · Sunday,Alhadi

    · Monday,Atinni

    · Tuesday,Atalata

    · Wednesday,Alarba

    · Thursday,Alkamisa

    · Friday,Alzuma

    · Saturday,Asibti

  • Months

    · Many do not understand the Gregorian calendar and/or may use the Islamic calendar. The Gregorian calendar is thought of as "French" and, among those who do, the names of French months (in parentheses) are more readily understood.

    · January,X (Janvier)

    · February,X (Fevrier)

    · March,X (Mars)

    · April,X (Avril)

    · May,X (Mai)

    · June,X (Juin)

    · July,X (Juillet)

    · August,X (Aout)

    · September,X (Septembre)

    · October,X (Octobre)

    · November,X (Novembre)

    · December,X (Decembre)

  • Colors

    · Black,Biiri ("black person: Borobi")

    · blanc,Ikwaray ("white person: Gakwaray")

    · grey,X

    · rrd,Cirey

    · bue,Boogu

    · yellow,Sey

    · green,Yargey

    · orange,X

    · purple,X

    · brown,X

  • Bus and Train

    · How much is a ticket to ____ ?,X ____ ?

    · A ticket to ____, please.,X ____ X.

    · Where does this bus go?,Man no zirjo ga koy ?

    · How do I get to ____ ?,Man no ____ go?

    · The bus arrives here at ____ ?,Man no ____ ga koy ?

    · When does the bus for ___ leave?,waatifo no zirjo/kaaro kan ga koy _____ ga tun?

    · When will the bus arrive at _____ ?,Waatifo no zirjo/kaaro ga to _____ ?

  • Directions

    · Where is _____ ? ?,Man no _____ go ?

    · ...la gare routière ?,X

    · ...the airport ?,Bene hiyey zumbuyoNo do

    · ...downtown?,X

    · ...the neighborhood ?,X

    · ...the youth hostel ?,X

    · ...the hotel _____ ?,X

    · ...the American/British/Canadian/Australian embassy?,?

    · Can you show me on the map the ?,X

    · road,X

    · Turn left,X.

    · Turn right.,X.

    · left,KanbaNari

    · right,Kanbouwo

    · straight ahead,X

    · In the direction of _____,X _____

    · After the _____,Banba _____

    · Before the _____,Djiné_____

    · North,AZawaKanbé

    · South,Dandikanbé

    · East,Weynofounay

    · West,WeynokaNay

    · Above,bene

    · Below,ganda

  • Taxi

    · Taxi!,X !

    · Take me to ___, please.,X _____ X

    · How much does it cost to travel to _____?,X _____ ?

    · Take me there, please,X

  • Shopping

    · Do you have this in my size ?,X

    · How much does this cost ?,Marje no wone?

    · That's very expensive !,A tada gumo!

    · Do you accept _____?,Ni yadda _____?

    · expensive,Cada

    · cheap,Habo ma boori

    · I cannot pay for that.,Ay si hini ga a bana

    · Je n'en veux pas,Ay si bara.

    · You've mistaken me.,X

    · I'm not interested.,A mana ay bejandi

    · Good, I will buy that.,A boori, ay ga sambu

    · I would like to have a bag ?,Ay ga du saaku fo?

    · I need...,Ay ga ba

    · ...toothpaste.,hinge safun

    · ...a toothbrush.,hinge borosu fo

    · ...tampons.,tampon

    · ...soap.,Safun

    · ...shampoo.,Sampo

    · ...a pain reliever ("aspirin, ibuprofen"),X.

    · ...a cold medicine.,Hungum safari.

    · ...stomach medicine.,X

    · ...a razer.,Laamu fo ("biledu")

    · ...batteries.,Piili

    · ...a raincoat,Layma.

    · ...an umbrella,Layma

    · ...sunscreen.,X

    · ...a postcard.,Karte postal

    · ...postage stamps.,Tambre

    · ...letter paper.,wasikahatuniyan takarda

    · ...a pen.,Bikki fo

    · ...French-language books.,Fransiciine tiraya

    · ...a French-language newspaper.,Fransiciine labaari tira fo

    · ...a French-___ dictionary.,Fransiciine-da-___ciine kamusu fo

  • Driving

    · I would like to rent a car,Ay ga ba ay ma lue moto fo.

    · I can be assured) ?,X

    · stop ("on a sign"),stop

    · yield,X

    · parking prohibited,X

    · speed limit,X

    · gas/petrol station,staso

    · gasoline/petrol,Esensi

    · diesel,gazual

  • Authority

    · I didn't do anything wrong..,Ay mana taali kulu te

    · It's a mistake.,Darayyan no te.

    · Where are you taking me ?,Man no aran go ga konda ay?

    · Am I under arrest ?,X

    · I am a (French) citizen.,Ay wo fanransi laabize no.

    · I want to go to the (French) embassy.,ay ga hagu ay ma salan france ambassado se

    · I would like to speak to a lawyer.,Ay ga ba ay ma salan ay avoka se

    · Can I simply pay a fine?,ay ga hini ga bana jukkeyan nooru hine?