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Learn Bambara with me

Scroll to the bottom to start the lessons

Added DEC 14th

Can I look at the menu, please?

N be se ka menu laje wa, sa?


Can I look in the kitchen?

N be se ka gwa laje wa?


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 [don’t put a lot of oil on it]


breakfast

daraka


lunch

tilela fana, tilerɔ


supper

sura fana, surɔfana


I want _____.

ne bε _____ fε


I want a dish containing _____.

N be dumuni min fe, ____ b’o la.


chicken

shεsogo


beef

mishisogo


fish

jègè


ham

lesogo


soda

buasan


cheese

fromagi


eggs

shεfan


salad, lettuce

salati


(fresh) vegetable

nako fen (garden things)


(fresh) fruit

yiri den (tree children)


bread

buru, nbuuru


noodles

macaroni (yes, just like english, but applies to nearly all pasta)


rice

malo (uncooked), kini (cooked)


corn

kaba


orange

lemru-ba, lenburuba


lemon, lime

lenburu


pineapple

jabibi


banana

namasa


plantain

baranda, loko


guava

buyaki


papaya

manje


peanut

tiga


beans

sho


coffee

kafe, kafe-ji


tea ( drink )

te


_____ juice

____ ju


water

ji


milk

nɔnɔ


beer

bieri


alcohol

dolo


May I have some _____?

ne be se ka ____ soro wa?


salt

kɔkɔ


Excuse me, waiter? ( getting attention of server )

terike! ( means Friend)


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.

Do you serve alcohol?

eska dolo be wa?


A beer/two beers, please.

castel bilibili ba, castel bilibiliba fila, sil vous plais.

How much is this?

Nin ye joli ye?


That’s too expensive.

abarika, A ka cha. Do bo a la [cheaper please]


expensive

ka gelen (literally – too heavy)


cheap

ma gelen (literally – not heavy)


I can’t afford it.

wari ne be n’bolo. (literally – the money is not in my hand)


I don’t want it.

N t’a fe. [note: once you have made an offer you are obligated to purchase]


You’re cheating me.

Namara ka cha.


OK, I’ll take it.

Ayiwa, n be fe k’a san.


Can I have a bag?

mahnah be wa? (literally – do you have plastic)


..toothpaste.

…pahtay de dent. (French)


…a toothbrush.

…brassay de dent (French)


…soap.

…safine.


…shampoo.

…kun safine.

…pain reliever. ( e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen )

…Kungaloo Keesay. (literally head-seed)or Kungaloo furu


…cold medicine.

…moora fooroo.


…stomach medicine.

…kono baara fooroo.


…a razor.

…lamu. (French)


…an umbrella.

…para pluie. (French)


…postage stamps.

…tambaru. (French)


…batteries.

…pilew.


…writing paper.

…papieri ka seben.


…a pen.

…biki.


…English-language books.

…anglakan livuru.


…an English-English dictionary.

…anglikan dickshow.

 Added Nov 27th

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 be taa min?


Where is the train/bus to _____?

Mobili / train min be taa _____ be soro min?


Does this train/bus stop in _____?

Mobili /train nin be jo _____ wa?


When does the train/bus for _____ leave?

Mobili / train min be taa _____ waati jumen?


When will this train/bus arrive in _____?

Mobili / train nin be se _____ waati jumen?

Directions

How do I get to _____ ?

____ be soro fan jumen fe?


…the train station?

gare de sisikurun


…the bus station?

autogare


…the airport?

aeroport


…downtown?

dugukono


…the youth hostel?

siyoro / hotel


…the _____ hotel?

siyoro / hotel


…the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?

Ameriki / Canadien / Australien / Anglezi ambassade / jamanasigiyoro


Where are there a lot of…

_____ caman be soro min?


…hotels?

hotel


…restaurants?

dumuniyorow


…bars?

dolominyorow


…sites to see?


Can you show me on the map?

I be se ka yira n na carti la wa?


street

sira


Turn left.

kaa fara numanbolo fe


Turn right.

kaa fara kinibolo fe


left

numanbolo (nose hand)


right

kinibolo (rice hand)


straight ahead

nyefe


towards the _____

_____ fan fe


past the _____

_____ ko


before the _____

_____ nye


Watch for the _____.

_____ nyini


intersection


north

saheli / kokodugu fe (sahel / salt land way)


south

worodugu fe (kola land way)


east

seli fe (prayer way)


west

tilebin fe (sunset way)


uphill

san fe


downhill

duguma fe

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.

Do you have any rooms available?

Siyoro be wa?


How much is a room for one person/two people?

Siyoro kelenta / filata ye joli ye?


Does the room come with…

_____ be soro siyoro la wa?

…a bathroom?

…tualet / nyegen?


May I see the room first?

N be se ka siyoro laje folo wa?


Do you have anything quieter?

Siyoro do be soro min …here 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 be na su ____ ke yan.


Can you suggest another hotel?

Hotel were be soro? I be se ka n bila o sira la?


Do you have a safe?

Coffru be wa?


Is breakfast/supper included?

Daraka / surofana b’a la wa?


What time is breakfast/supper?

Daraka / surofana be dun waati jumen?


Please clean my room.

N ka siyoro furan.


Can you wake me at _____?

I be se kan n lawuli _____ heuri la wa?


I want to check out.

N b’a fe ka wari sara ka taa.

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian/British currency?

N be se k’a sara ni Ameriki / Australien / Canadien / Anglezi wari ye wa?


Do you accept credit cards?

N be se ka sara ni carti ye wa?


Can you change money for me?

I be se ka wari falen n ye wa?


Where can I get money changed?

Wari be falen min?


Can you change a traveler’s check for me?

I be se ka sheki falen wa?


Where can I get a traveler’s check changed?

Sheki nin be 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 be soro min?

Added Oct 7th:

1. black: finman

2. white: jèman

3. red: bilenman

4. blue: buluman

5. yellow: nèrèmugunan

6.  green: binkeneman

7. orange: siramuguman

8. brown: sikoloman

TRAVELLING BY BUS OR TRAIN

1 How much is a ticket to _____?

Ka taa ____ ye joli ye?

2. One ticket to _____, please.

Billetti kelen ka taa ____.

3. Where does this train/bus go?

Mobili / train nin be taa min?

4. Where is the train/bus to _____?

Mobili / train min be taa _____ be soro min?

5. Does this train/bus stop in _____?

Mobili /train nin be jo _____ wa?

6. When does the train/bus for _____ leave?

Mobili / train min be taa _____ waati jumen?

7. When will this train/bus arrive in _____?

Mobili / train nin be se _____ waati jumen?

Added Sep 1st:

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

 —————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

NUMBERS
 
 
kelen
fila
saba
naani
duurun
wooro
wolonfla
segi
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
 

46 responses to “Learn Bambara with me

  1. Susan

    June 25, 2011 at 17:50

    do you pronounce it as it is written?

     
  2. Marissa Coutinho-Samake

    June 26, 2011 at 00:04

    I’ve kinda figured you pronounce all the letters for the ones that end with vowels. For the ones that end with consonants, you pronounce all but the last letter. For example: kelen is pronounced Kele and Fila is pronounced Fila

     
  3. Modibo Samake

    June 28, 2011 at 05:36

    Hi Marissa, you’re impressing me already! I am so glad we can hear from you through this new blog. We miss all of you already! But just know we are all with you from here. I promise you will enjoy being in Mali. You might have a little adjustement from this new beginning, but you will totally love it. I hope the kids are doing well too as well as Yeah. lf you need any help, please feel free to ask. With love,
    Modibo Samake XOXOXO

     
    • Marissa Coutinho-Samake

      July 3, 2011 at 13:18

      Modibo, thank you for your support. I am glad you are reading this blog. Mali is good just different. The kids love Ouelessebougou and all the animals. Keep reading and hope all is well with you

       
  4. Elsa Rueda Olier

    July 27, 2011 at 22:06

    Bonjour Madame Samake,
    J’ai beaucoup apprécié votre Blog, dans lequel je découvre votre vie de famille, les activités liées à votre mari et celles relatives à la campagne électorale. campagne que j’approuve, tant le Mali a besoin des hommes comme Monsieur Samaké.
    J’ai beaucoup apprécié aussi votre idée du cours de Bambara chaque semaine. J’apprends ici en France le Bambara aussi, car je suis allée deux fois au Mali et j’envisage y retourner pour un long séjour.
    Je vous souhaite de continuer dans enthousiasme et le courage,
    Cordialement,
    Elsa Rueda Olier

     
  5. Daniel Arellano

    August 22, 2011 at 03:03

    Hey Marissa!
    I love the blog. It’s great to see you doing something you are so passionate about. Best of luck to you and your family. I’d vote Samake if I could.
    God bless.
    Your pal,
    Daniel Arellano

     
    • Marissa Coutinho-Samake

      August 22, 2011 at 22:41

      Crazy Dan, thanks for reading and for the good wishes. Keep them sane at the Verge

       
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