Bambara phrasebook

Bambara, or Bamanankan is a language in West Africa, mostly in Mali, where it is mother tongue of the "Bambara" people (30% of the population), and where 80% of the population can communicate in the language. Bambara will also be useful in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Gambia. Together with Dioulé and Malinké it belongs to the Mandekan dialect family, which itself part of the Mande group, which is a Niger-Congo language subgroup.

The language is heavily influenced by French, and even the slightest knowledge of French will make it easier to remember words. If you don't remember a word you can try to use the French word.

source : Wikivoyage

Pronounciation Guide and Phrase List

  • Vowels

    · a,like 'a' in "father"

    · e,like 'e' in "prey"

    · ε,like 'e' in "met"

    · i,like 'i' in "police"

    · o,like 'o' in "so"

    · ɔ,like 'ough' in "bought"

    · u,like 'u' in "clue"

    · There are also long vowels:

    · and nasal vowels:

  • Consonants

    · j,like 'j' in "jay"

    · ɲ,like 'ny' in "canyon"

    · ŋ,like 'nw'

    · c,like 'ch' in "chair"

    · g,like 'g' in "get"

    · h,like 'h' in "hard"

    · s,like 'ss' in "pass" or 'sh' in "shake" (varies by region)

  • Blends

    · sh,like 'sh' in "shore"

  • Basics

    · Hello (any time of day),i ni ce

    · How are you? (Are you well?) ("to one person"),i ka kεnε wa?

    · How are you? (Are you well?) ("to more than one person"),Aw ka kεnε (wa)?

    · Fine, thank you.,kεnε, tɔɔrɔ te, ko tε, tana tε

    · What is your first name?,i tɔgɔ?

    · What is your last name?,i jamu?

    · My name is ______ .,ne tɔgɔ ___

    · Thank you.,i ni ce

    · You're welcome.,basi tε (literally 'no problem')

    · Yes.,awɔ

    · No.,ayi

    · Excuse me. ("getting attention / begging pardon"),(aw ye) hakε to!

    · I'm sorry.,a yafa n ma

    · Goodbye,k'an bεn

    · Goodbye ("informal"),n taara

    · I can't speak "name of language" .,N te se "name of language" kan na kosεbε. e.g. N te se angilekan na kosεbε

    · I don't speak Bambara very well, but I understand a little,Ne tε se bamanankan na kosεbε, nka ne b'a men dɔɔnin dɔɔnin.

    · Do you speak English?,i bε angilekan men wa?

    · Is there someone here who speaks English?,Mogo do min bε angilekan men be yan, wa?

    · Help!,N deme!

    · Look out!,I farati!

    · Good morning.,aw ni sɔgɔma (several persons around), i ni sɔgɔma (1 person)

    · Good afternoon,aw ni tile, i ni tile

    · Good evening.,aw ni wula, i ni wula

    · Good night.,aw ni su, i ni su

    · Good night ("to sleep"),ka su hεεrε

    · I don't understand.,n m'a faamu

    · Where is the toilet?,ɲεgεn bε min?

  • Problems

    · Leave me alone.,N bila sa!

    · Don't touch me!,I kana magan n na!

    · I'll call the police.,N bε polisiw wele.

    · Police!,Police!

    · Stop! Thief!,A yi zon (or son) minE)

    · I need your help.,N mago bε i ka deme na.

    · It's an emergency.,koo teliman do.

    · I'm lost.,N tununen don.

    · I lost my bag.,N ka saki tununa.

    · I lost my wallet.,N ka wari tununa.

    · I'm sick.,Bana bε na.

    · I've been injured.,N joki na

    · I need a doctor.,N mago bε dogotoro la.

    · Can I use your phone?,N bε se ka weleli kε ni i ka telephone ye wa?

  • Numbers

    · 1,kelen

    · 2,fila

    · 3,saba

    · 4,naani

    · 5,duurun

    · 6,wooro

    · 7,wolonfla

    · 8,segi

    · 9,kononto

    · 10,tan

    · 11,tan ni kelen

    · 12,tan ni fla

    · 13,tan ni saba

    · 14,tan ni naani

    · 15,tan ni duurun

    · 16,tan ni wooro

    · 17,tan ni wolonfla

    · 18,tan ni segi

    · 19,tan ni kononto

    · 20,mugan

    · 21,mugan ni kelen

    · 22,mugan ni fla

    · 23,mugan ni saaba

    · 30,bi saba

    · 40,bi naani

    · 50,bi duurun

    · 60,bi wooro

    · 70,bi wolonfla

    · 80,bi segi

    · 90,bi kononto

    · 100,keme

    · 200,keme fla

    · 300,keme saba

    · 1000,wa (baa) kelen

    · 2000,wa fla

    · 3451,wa saba ani keme naani ani biduru ani kelen

    · 1,000,000,million kelen

    · 1,000,000,000,milliard kelen

    · number _____ ("train, bus, etc."),

    · half,tilance

    · a lot,caman

    · a few,do / doonin

  • Time

    · now,sisan

    · right this instant,sisan sisan

    · later,kofe

    · soon,sɔɔni

    · before,ɲyε

    · morning,sɔgɔma

    · afternoon,tilé

    · evening,wula

    · night,su

  • Clock time

    · one o'clock AM,une heure waati or nεgε kan &0626ε kelen

    · two o'clock AM,deux heure waati or

    · noon,midi waati

    · one o'clock PM,treize heure waati

    · two o'clock PM,quatorze heure waati

    · midnight,minuit waati

  • Prayer times

    · sunrise,fajiri waati

    · approx 2 pm,selifana waati

    · approx 4 pm,lansara waati

    · sunset,fitiri waati

    · nightfall,safo waati

  • Duration

    · _____ minute(s),minuti _____

    · _____ hour(s),heuri _____

    · _____ day(s),don _____

    · _____ week(s),dɔgɔkun _____

    · _____ month(s),kalo _____

    · _____ year(s),san _____

  • Days

    · today,bi

    · yesterday,kunu

    · the day before yesterday,kuna sini

    · tomorrow,sini

    · the day after tomorrow,sinin kene

    · this week,dogukun nin na

    · last week,dogukun temena

    · next week,dogukun nata / wεrε

    · Sunday,kari-don

    · Monday,nténé-don

    · Tuesday,tarata-don

    · Wednesday,araba-don

    · Thursday,alamisa-don

    · Friday,(gé)juma-don

    · Saturday,sibiri-don

  • Months

    · January,Zanwuyé (kalo)

    · February,Feburuyé (kalo)

    · March,Marsi (kalo)

    · April,Awirili (kalo)

    · May,Mε(kalo)

    · June,Zuwen (kalo)

    · July,Zuluyé (kalo)

    · August,Uti (kalo)

    · September,Sεtamburu (kalo)

    · October,Oktɔburu (kalo)

    · November,Nɔwanburu (kalo)

    · December,Desanburu (kalo)

  • Writing time and date

    · The month is always stated first in a date, then the day of the month. For example, January 25, 2008 would be ""janvier" kalo tile mugan ni duru san baa fila ni segi". A literal translation would be "January month day twenty-five year two thousand and eight." When written with digits, the French tradition of day, month, year is generally followed.

  • Colors

    · black,finman

    · white,jεman

    · gray,

    · red,bilenman

    · blue,buluman

    · yellow,nεrεmuguman

    · green,binkeneman

    · orange,siramuguman

    · purple,

    · brown,sikoloman

  • Bus and train

    · How much is a ticket to _____?,Ka taa ____ ye joli ye?

    · One ticket to _____, please.,Billetti kelen ka taa ____.

    · Where does this train/bus go?,Mobili / train nin bε taa min?

    · Where is the train/bus to _____?,Mobili / train min bε taa _____ bε sɔrɔ min?

    · Does this train/bus stop in _____?,Mobili /train nin bε jo _____ wa?

    · When does the train/bus for _____ leave?,Mobili / train min bε taa _____ waati jumen?

    · When will this train/bus arrive in _____?,Mobili / train nin bε se _____ waati jumen?

  • Directions

    · How do I get to _____ ?,____ bε sɔrɔ fan jumεn fε?

    · ...the train station?,gare de train

    · ...the bus station?,autogare

    · ...the airport?,aeroport

    · ...downtown?,dugukono

    · ...the youth hostel?,siyɔrɔ / hotel

    · ...the _____ hotel?,siyɔrɔ / hotel

    · ...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?,Ameriki / Canadien / Australien / Anglezi ambassade / jamanasigiyoro

    · Where are there a lot of...,_____ caman bε sɔrɔ min?


    · ...restaurants?,dumuniyorow

    · ...bars?,dɔlɔminyɔrɔw

    · ...sites to see?,

    · Can you show me on the map?,I bε se ka jira n na carti la wa?

    · street,sira

    · Turn left.,kaa fara numanbolo fε

    · Turn right.,kaa fara kinibolo fε

    · left,numanbolo (nose hand)

    · right,kinibolo (rice hand)

    · straight ahead,ɲε fε

    · towards the _____,_____ fan fε

    · past the _____,_____ kɔ fε

    · before the _____,_____ ɲε

    · Watch for the _____.,_____ ɲini

    · intersection,

    · north,saheli / kokodugu fε (sahel / salt land way)

    · south,worodugu fε (kola land way)

    · east,seli fε (prayer way)

    · west,tilebin fε (sunset way)

    · uphill,san fε

    · downhill,duguma fε

  • Taxi

    · Taxi!,Taxi!

    · Take me to _____, please.,N b'a fe ka taa _____ (la).

    · How much does it cost to get to _____?,Ka taa _____ (la) ye joli ye?

    · Take me there, please.,An ka taa yen.

  • Lodging

    · Do you have any rooms available?,Siyɔrɔ bε wa?

    · How much is a room for one person/two people?,Siyɔrɔ kelenta / filata ye joli ye?

    · Does the room come with...,_____ bε sɔrɔ siyɔrɔ la wa?

    · ...bedsheets?,...couverture?

    · ...a bathroom?,...tualet / nyegen?

    · ...a telephone?,...telephone?

    · ...a TV?,...television?

    · May I see the room first?,N bε se ka Siyɔrɔ laje folo wa?

    · Do you have anything quieter?,Siyɔrɔ do bε sɔrɔ min ...hεrε ka ca nin ye wa?

    · ...bigger?,...ka bon nin ye wa?

    · ...cleaner?,...ka sani nin ye wa?

    · ...cheaper?,...da ka nogon nin ye wa?

    · OK, I'll take it.,A ka nyi, n b'a ta.

    · I will stay for _____ night(s).,N bε na su ____ kε yan.

    · Can you suggest another hotel?,Hotel were bε sɔrɔ? I bε se ka n bila o sira la?

    · Do you have a safe?,Coffru bε wa?

    · ...lockers?,...lockers?

    · Is breakfast/supper included?,Daraka / surofana b'a la wa?

    · What time is breakfast/supper?,Daraka / surofana bε dun waati jumen?

    · Please clean my room.,N ka siyoro furan.

    · Can you wake me at _____?,I bε se kan n lawuli _____ heuri la wa?

    · I want to check out.,N b'a fe ka wari sara ka taa.

  • Money

    · Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian/British currency?,N bε se k'a sara ni Ameriki / Australien / Canadien / Anglezi wari ye wa?

    · Do you accept credit cards?,N bε se ka sara ni carti ye wa?

    · Can you change money for me?,I bε se ka wari falen n ye wa?

    · Where can I get money changed?,Wari bε falen min?

    · Can you change a traveler's check for me?,I bε se ka sheki falen wa?

    · Where can I get a traveler's check changed?,Sheki nin bε falen min?

    · What is the exchange rate?,A falen ye joli ye?

    · How much for one _____?,_____ kelen kelen ye joli ye?

    · Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?,Machine d'argent / warimachine bε sɔrɔ? min?

  • Eating

    · A table for one person/two people, please.,

    · Can I look at the menu, please?,N bε se ka menu laje wa, sa?

    · Can I look in the kitchen?,N bε se ka gwa laje wa?

    · Is there a house specialty?,

    · Is there a local specialty?,

    · I'm a vegetarian.,n te sogo dun

    · I don't eat pork.,n te lesogo dun

    · I don't eat beef.,n te misisogo dun

    · Can you make it "lite", please? ("less oil/butter/lard"),aw kana tulu caman k'a la put a lot of oil on it

    · fixed-price meal

    · à la carte,

    · breakfast,daraka

    · lunch,tilela fana, tilerɔ

    · tea ("meal"),

    · supper,sula fana, surɔfana

    · I want _____.,ne bε _____ fε

    · I want a dish containing _____.,N bε dumuni min fe, ____ b'o la.

    · chicken,shεsogo

    · beef,mishisogo

    · fish,jεgε

    · ham,lesogo

    · soda,buasan

    · sausage,

    · cheese,fromagi

    · eggs,shεfan

    · salad, lettuce,saladi

    · (fresh) vegetable,nako fen (garden things)

    · (fresh) fruit,yiri den (tree children)

    · bread,buru, nbuuru

    · toast,

    · noodles,macaroni (yes, just like English, but applies to nearly all pasta)

    · rice,malo (uncooked), kini (cooked)

    · mais,kaba

    · orange,lemru-ba, lenburuba

    · lemon, lime,lenburu

    · pineapple,jabibi

    · banana,namasa

    · plantain,baranda, loko

    · guava,buyaki

    · papaya,manje

    · mango,mangoro

    · peanut,tiga

    · beans,sho

    · May I have a glass of _____?,

    · May I have a cup of _____?,

    · May I have a bottle of _____?,... galama ...

    · coffee,kafe, kafe-ji

    · tea ("drink"),te

    · _____ juice,____ ji

    · (bubbly) water,

    · water,ji

    · milk,nɔnɔ

    · beer,bieri

    · alcohol,dolo

    · red/white wine,

    · May I have some _____?,ne bε se ka ____ soro wa?

    · salt,kɔkɔ

    · black pepper,

    · butter,

    · Excuse me, waiter? ("getting attention of server"),terike!

    · I'm finished.,n fara (I'm full)

    · It was delicious.,a djarra, aw ni gwa

    · Please clear the plates.,aw ka assiettiw ta.

    · The check, please.,aw ka na ni addition ye.

  • Bars

    · Do you serve alcohol?,eska dolo bε wa?

    · Is there table service?,Is there table service?

    · A beer/two beers, please.,castel bilibili ba, castel bilibiliba fila, sil vous plais.

    · A glass of red/white wine, please.,A glass of red/white wine, please.

    · A pint, please.,A pint, please.

    · A bottle, please.,A bottle, please.

    · _____ ("hard liquor") and _____ ("mixer"), please.,_____ and _____, please.

    · whiskey,whiskey

    · vodka,vodka

    · rum,rum

    · water,water

    · club soda,club soda

    · tonic water,tonic water

    · orange juice,orange juice

    · Coke ("soda"),Coke

    · Do you have any bar snacks?,Do you have any bar snacks?

    · One more, please.,One more, please.

    · Another round, please.,Another round, please.

    · When is closing time?,When is closing time?

  • Shopping

    · Do you have this in my size?,Do you have this in my size?

    · How much is this?,Nin ye joli ye?

    · That's too expensive.,abadika, O ka cha. Do bo a la please

    · Would you take _____?,Would you take _____?

    · expensive,ka gelen (literally - too hard)

    · cheap,ma gelen (literally - not hard)

    · I can't afford it.,wardi tε n'bolo. (literally - the money is not in my hand)

    · I don't want it.,N t'a fε. once you have made an offer you are obligated to purchase

    · You're cheating me.,Namara ka cha.

    · I'm not interested.,N ma se a ma.

    · OK, I'll take it.,Awo, n ba taa. or Awo, n bε fε k'a san. (literally - I want to buy it)

    · Can I have a bag?,mahnah bε wa? (literally - do you have plastic)

    · Do you ship (overseas)?,Do you ship (overseas)?

    · I need...,N'mago be ______ la

    · ...toothpaste.,...pahtay de dent. (French)

    · ...a toothbrush.,...brassay de dent (French)

    · ...tampons.,...tampons.

    · ...soap.,...safine.

    · ...shampoo.,...shampoo.

    · ...pain reliever. ("e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen"),...Kungaloo fura Keesay. (literally head-seed)or Kungaloo fura

    · ...cold medicine.,...moora fooroo.

    · ...stomach medicine.,...kono baara fooroo.

    · ...a razor.,...lamu. (French)

    · umbrella.,...para pluie. (French)

    · ...sunblock lotion.,...sunblock lotion.

    · ...a postcard.,...a postcard.

    · ...postage stamps.,...tambaru. (French)

    · ...batteries.,...pilew.

    · ...writing paper.,...papieri ka seben.

    · ...a pen.,...biki.

    · ...English-language books.,...anglakan livuru.

    · ...English-language magazines.,...English-language magazines.

    · English-language newspaper., English-language newspaper.

    · English-English dictionary.,...anglikan dickshow.

  • Driving

    · I want to rent a car.,N be feka mobili cinga

    · Can I get insurance?,Can I get insurance?

    · stop ("on a street sign"),a to

    · one way,sira kelen

    · yield,yield

    · no parking,jo yoro te yan

    · speed limit,teliya hake

    · gas ("petrol") station,gas station

    · petrol,petrol

    · diesel,diesel

  • Authority

    · I haven't done anything wrong.,N ma foi ke

    · It was a misunderstanding.,An ma nyogon famu

    · Where are you taking me?,Aw be n taa fo min?

    · Am I under arrest?,Aw bena n mina wa?

    · I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.,Ne be bo Ameriki/Australi/Angaleter/Canada

    · I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.,I need to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate.

    · I want to talk to a lawyer.,I want to talk to a lawyer.

    · Can I just pay a fine now?,Can I just pay a fine now?