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Bambara phrasebook

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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, and if you don't remember a word you can try to use the French word.


Pronunciation guide

Phrase list

Basics

Hello. 
i ni sògòma, i ni ce
How are you? 
i ka kènè wa?
Fine, thank you. 
kènè, tooro té
What is your name? 
What is your name? (WUT iz yer NAYM?)
My name is ______ . 
My name is ______ . (Migh NAYM iz _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
Nice to meet you. (NIGHSS t' meet YOO)
Please. 
a ke to
Thank you. 
Thank you. (THANK yoo)
You're welcome. 
You're welcome. (yuhr WEL-kuhm)
Yes. 
òwò
No. 
ayi
Excuse me. (getting attention
Excuse me. (ehkz-KYOOZ mee)
Excuse me. (begging pardon
Excuse me. (ehkz-KYOOZ mee)
I'm sorry. 
I'm sorry. (IGHM SAW-ree)
Goodbye 
Goodbye. (GUHD-bigh.)
Goodbye (informal
Bye. (BIGH)
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
I can't speak English [well]. (IGH cant speek ING-lush [wehl])
Do you speak English? 
Do you speak English? (doo YOO speek ING-lush?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Is there someone here who speaks English? (IZ thayr SUM-wun heer hoo speekz ING-lush?)
Help! 
Help! (HEHLP!)
Look out! 
Look out! (look OWT!)
Good morning. 
Good morning. (guhd MOAN-ing)
Good evening. 
Good evening. (guhd EEV-ning)
Good night. 
Good night. (guhd NIGHT)
Good night (to sleep
Good night. (good NIGHT)
I don't understand. 
I don't understand. (IGH doan UHN-dur-STAND)
Where is the toilet? 
Where is the toilet? (WAYR iz thuh TOY-leht?)

Problems

Leave me alone. 
Leave me alone.
Don't touch me! 
Don't touch me!
I'll call the police. 
I'll call the police.
Police! 
Police!
Stop! Thief! 
Stop! Thief!
I need your help. 
I need your help.
It's an emergency. 
It's an emergency.
I'm lost. 
I'm lost.
I lost my bag. 
I lost my bag.
I lost my wallet. 
I lost my wallet.
I'm sick. 
I'm sick.
I've been injured. 
I've been injured.
I need a doctor. 
I need a doctor.
Can I use your phone? 
Can I use your phone?

Numbers

kelen
fla
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 
twenty one
22 
twenty two
23 
twenty three
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 
ka belen
2000 
two thousand
1,000,000 
one million
1,000,000,000 
one thousand million in UK, one billion in USA
1,000,000,000,000 
one billion in UK, one trillion in USA
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
number _____
half 
half
less 
less
more 
more

Time

now 
now
later 
later
before 
before
morning 
morning
afternoon 
afternoon
evening 
evening
night 
night

Clock time

one o'clock AM 
one o'clock AM
two o'clock AM 
two o'clock AM
noon 
noon
one o'clock PM 
one o'clock PM
two o'clock PM 
two o'clock PM
midnight 
midnight

Duration

_____ minute(s) 
_____ minute(s)
_____ hour(s) 
_____ hour(s)
_____ day(s) 
_____ day(s)
_____ week(s) 
_____ week(s)
_____ month(s) 
_____ month(s)
_____ year(s) 
_____ year(s)

Days

today 
bi
yesterday 
sini
tomorrow 
kunu
this week 
last week 
next week 
dogo konwèrè
Sunday 
Sunday
Monday 
Monday
Tuesday 
Tuesday
Wednesday 
Wednesday
Thursday 
Thursday
Friday 
Friday
Saturday 
Saturday

Months

If speakers of the language commonly use a calendar other than the Gregorian, explain it here and list its months. See Hebrew phrasebook for an example.

January 
January
February 
February
March 
March
April 
April
May 
May
June 
June
July 
July
August 
August
September 
September
October 
October
November 
November
December 
December

Writing time and date

Give some examples how to write clock times and dates if it differs from English.

Colors

black 
black
white 
white
gray 
gray
red 
red
blue 
blue
yellow 
yellow
green 
green
orange 
orange
purple 
purple
brown 
brown

Transportation

Bus and train

How much is a ticket to _____? 
How much is a ticket to _____?
One ticket to _____, please. 
One ticket to _____, please.
Where does this train/bus go? 
Where does this train/bus go?
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
Where is the train/bus to _____?
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
When will this bus arrive in _____?

Directions

How do I get to _____ ? 
How do I get to _____ ?
...the train station? 
...the train station?
...the bus station? 
...the bus station?
...the airport? 
...the airport?
...downtown? 
...downtown?
...the youth hostel? 
...the youth hostel?
...the _____ hotel? 
...the _____ hotel?
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate?
Where are there a lot of... 
Where are there a lot of...
...hotels? 
...hotels?
...restaurants? 
...restaurants?
...bars? 
...bars?
...sites to see? 
...sites to see?
Can you show me on the map? 
Can you show me on the map?
street 
street
Turn left. 
Turn left.
Turn right. 
Turn right.
left 
left
right 
right
straight ahead 
straight ahead
towards the _____ 
towards the _____
past the _____ 
past the _____
before the _____ 
before the _____
Watch for the _____. 
Watch for the _____.
intersection 
intersection
north 
north
south 
south
east 
east
west 
west
uphill 
uphill
downhill 
downhill

Taxi

Taxi! 
Taxi!
Take me to _____, please. 
Take me to _____, please.
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
How much does it cost to

get to _____?

Take me there, please. 
Take me there, please.

Lodging

Do you have any rooms available? 
Do you have any rooms available?
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
How much is a room for one person/two people?
Does the room come with... 
Does the room come with...
...bedsheets? 
...bedsheets?
...a bathroom? 
...a bathroom?
...a telephone? 
...a telephone?
...a TV? 
...a TV?
May I see the room first? 
May I see the room first?
Do you have anything quieter? 
Do you have anything quieter?
...bigger? 
...bigger?
...cleaner? 
...cleaner?
...cheaper? 
...cheaper?
OK, I'll take it. 
OK, I'll take it.
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
I will stay for _____ night(s).
Can you suggest another hotel? 
Can you suggest another hotel?
Do you have a safe? 
Do you have a safe?
...lockers? 
...lockers?
Is breakfast/supper included? 
Is breakfast/supper included?
What time is breakfast/supper? 
What time is breakfast/supper?
Please clean my room. 
Please clean my room.
Can you wake me at _____? | Can you wake me at _____?
I want to check out. 
I want to check out.

Money

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars?
Do you accept British pounds? 
Do you accept British pounds?
Do you accept credit cards? 
Do you accept credit cards?
Can you change money for me? 
Can you change money for me?
Where can I get money changed? 
Where can I get money changed?
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
Can you change a traveler's check for me?
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Where can I get a traveler's check changed?
What is the exchange rate? 
What is the exchange rate?
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?

Eating

A table for one person/two people, please. 
A table for one person/two people, please.
Can I look at the menu, please? 
Can I look at the menu, please?
Can I look in the kitchen? 
Can I look in the kitchen?
Is there a house specialty? 
Is there a house specialty?
Is there a local specialty? 
Is there a local specialty?
I'm a vegetarian. 
I'm a vegetarian.
I don't eat pork. 
I don't eat pork.
I don't eat beef. 
I don't eat beef.
I only eat kosher food. 
I only eat kosher food.
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
Can you make it "lite", please?
fixed-price meal 
fixed-price meal
a la carte 
a la carte
breakfast 
breakfast
lunch 
lunch
tea (meal
tea
supper 
supper
I want _____. 
I want _____.
I want a dish containing _____. 
I want a dish containing _____.
chicken 
chicken
beef 
beef
fish 
djègè
ham 
ham
sausage 
sausage
cheese 
cheese
eggs 
eggs
salad 
salad
(fresh) vegetables 
(fresh) vegetables
(fresh) fruit 
(fresh) fruit
bread 
bread
toast 
toast
noodles 
noodles
rice 
malo
beans 
beans
May I have a glass of _____? 
May I have a glass of _____?
May I have a cup of _____? 
May I have a cup of _____?
May I have a bottle of _____? 
May I have a bottle of _____?
coffee 
coffee
tea (drink
tea
juice 
juice
(bubbly) water 
water
water 
je
milk 
nono
beer 
dolo
red/white wine 
red/white wine
May I have some _____? 
May I have some _____?
salt 
salt
black pepper 
black pepper
butter 
butter
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
Excuse me, waiter?
I'm finished. 
I'm finished.
It was delicious. 
It was delicious.
Please clear the plates. 
Please clear the plates.
The check, please. 
The check, please.

Bars

Do you serve alcohol? 
Do you serve alcohol?
Is there table service? 
Is there table service?
A beer/two beers, please. 
A beer/two beers, please.
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? 
How much is this?
That's too expensive. 
That's too expensive.
Would you take _____? 
Would you take _____?
expensive 
expensive
cheap 
cheap
I can't afford it. 
I can't afford it.
I don't want it. 
I don't want it.
You're cheating me. 
You're cheating me.
I'm not interested. 
I'm not interested. (..)
OK, I'll take it. 
OK, I'll take it.
Can I have a bag? 
Can I have a bag?
Do you ship (overseas)? 
Do you ship (overseas)?
I need... 
I need...
...toothpaste. 
...toothpaste.
...a toothbrush. 
...a toothbrush.
...tampons. 
...tampons.
...soap. 
...soap.
...shampoo. 
...shampoo.
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
...pain reliever.
...cold medicine. 
...cold medicine.
...stomach medicine. 
...stomach medicine.
...a razor. 
...a razor.
...an umbrella. 
...an umbrella.
...sunblock lotion. 
...sunblock lotion.
...a postcard. 
...a postcard.
...postage stamps. 
...postage stamps.
...batteries. 
...batteries.
...writing paper. 
...writing paper.
...a pen. 
...a pen.
...English-language books. 
...English-language books.
...English-language magazines. 
...English-language magazines.
...an English-language newspaper. 
...an English-language newspaper.
...an English-English dictionary. 
...an English-English dictionary.

Driving

I want to rent a car. 
I want to rent a car.
Can I get insurance? 
Can I get insurance?
stop (on a street sign
stop
one way 
one way
yield 
yield
no parking 
no parking
speed limit 
speed limit
gas (petrol) station 
gas station
petrol 
petrol
diesel 
diesel

Authority

I haven't done anything wrong. 
I haven't done anything wrong.
It was a misunderstanding. 
It was a misunderstanding.
Where are you taking me? 
Where are you taking me?
Am I under arrest? 
Am I under arrest?
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
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?

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