Buli Language Guide

Franz Kröger

and his Bulsa Collaborators:
Augustine Akanbe, Margaret Arnheim, Danlardy Leander, Yaw Akumasi, Robert Asekabta and Rose Ajuik




Franz Kröger (Germany)
Augustine Akanbe (Sandema-Balansa †)
Margaret Arnheim (from Gbedema)
Rev. James Agalic (Sandema-Kalijiisa †)
Danlardy Leander (Wiaga-Badomsa)
Yaw Akumasi (Wiaga-Yisobsa)
Robert Asekabta (Sandema Abilyeri)
Rose Ajuik (Fumbisi)

Buli Language Guide

(Trial Edition)

Lippstadt 2020, Copyright F. Kröger

Cover Photo: Miriam Grabenheinrich


When, in the 1980s, I bought the Language Guides of the Bureau of Ghana Languages (Accra), I was disappointed that no Buli Guide was available. Therefore I asked Augustine Akanbe, who could speak English and Kasem, to translate parts of the Kasem Guide into Buli. Then it was done only for me myself, because I wanted to learn speaking and understanding Buli. When I collected material for the Buli-English Dictionary (Münster and Hamburg 1992) I added relevant words and phrases to the first draft of the Buli Language Guide. In the following years I was assisted by Margaret Lariba Arnheim (from Gbedema), Danlardy Leander (Wiaga), Yaw Akumasi Williams (Wiaga) and Rev. James Agalic (Sandema).
Only in 2019 I made up my mind to print some copies and then a thorough revision became necessary. The final draft was read and corrected by Robert Asekabta (Sandema) and Rose Ajuik (Fumbisi).
I would be glad if the present edition might not only be of help for tourists, development aids workers and other strangers, who have come to live for some time in the Bulsa area, but also for those Bulsa who left their parental home in early childhood, to live in a non-Buli speaking environment.

The “Rules of Pronuciation and Orthography (p. 98) were added at the suggestion of Prof. Assibi Amidu (Trondheim, Norway).
This issue of the Guide is a trial edition. All educated Bulsa with a knowledge of Buli are invited to correct mistakes and add relevant words and phrases.




Words 11
Speaking a language 10
Asking questions 12


Offensive names for persons. 14
Weak insults 14


Gladness, kindness 15
Fear 15
Anger 15
Annoyance, sadness 15
Faults, crime 16
Conflict, disagreement 17


Informal 17
According to present activity 18
Ritual greeting (abridged) 18
Taking leave 19
Asking for help 19
Congratulations 20


Words 20
Phrases 20
Beginning of letter, addressing somebody 20
Middle part 21
Conclusion 21


Rooms 24
Toilet, bath, washing 25


Schoolchildren and teacher 28
Learning, lessons 28
Classroom 29


Words 30
Finding one’s way 30
Vehicles on the road (words) 32
Having a car 33
Puncture 34
Other road users 34


Going 35
Coming 36


Ordination 37
Tools and code-objects 37
Activities of a diviner 38


Disease 40
Therapy, clinic, doctor 43


Words 44
Preparing and serving food 46
Eating and drinking 47
Inviting somebody to join eating 49
Refusal of invitation to eat 49
Refusal to drink water 49
Offering and receiving food 49
Taste 49


Buying and selling 50
Paying, money 52
At the post office 53
On the market 54


Terms, adverbs of time 58
Phrases 59
Days of the week 61
Months 62
Seasons 63

TREES AND SHRUBS (botanical terms) 65

Domestic animals 67
Wild animals 69


Pottery, Ceramics 78
Basketry, mats, fibres 78
Blacksmith and iron 79
Brass objects 80
Stone 80
Leather 80
Calabash 80
Wood 81
Cloth and clothes 81
Weapons, traps and fishing gears 82
Musical instruments 82


1a Food 84
1b Divination 84
2 Trees 85
3 Vertebrates 86
4 Fish and Invertebrates 87
5 Ceramics 88
6 Basketry 89
7 Blacksmith, metal, stone 90
8 Clothes 91
9 Musical instruments 92

YERI (compound, farmstead, homestead) 93






First meeting and talk
What is your name?   Fi yue (a)le boa?
My name is Awen.   Mi yue le Awen.
How old are you?   Fi ta ka benanga dina?
I am ten years old.  Mi nya ka bena pi. N ta ka bena pi.
He is very old.  Wa bena piisiya (His years are many).
Where do you live?  Fi bo ká be?
I live in Sandema.  N bo ká Sandem.
What is your tribe?  Fi buini ka boa?
He is Bulsa.  Wa ka Buloa
Should I wait for you?  N limsi fu?
Who sent you to me? Ka wana ale tom fu?
Please forgive me. Maa saalim, vongti mu.
What is your opinion about it? Fi popola ka se ale de? Fi poli ku se? Fi a poli ku se?
When did you finish? Ka dinpo (disapo) ate fi nueri?
Speak out. Biisi paalim. Biisi ate ku jueli.
Tell me the truth. Yueni (weeni) mu wensie.
Hurry up. Nye nwuli.
I do not think so. Mi an poli de. Kan basi mu.
It is very nice (good). Ku nala ka yega-yega.
Everybody knows me. Wai miena seb mu kama.
Ask somebody. Begi wai.
One day we will meet again. Da-yong ti le ngman tu.
It is all the same to me. Ku miena ka wa yeng mi jigi.
You can visit me any time. Fi bag a jam mi jigi diipo miena kama.
Be careful. Ni kpesi nidek.
What is he doing? Wa boro a nye ká boa?
What is the matter? Ká boan wari?
It is not my concern (business). Daa n ning le nna. N ning karo. Ku an nya mu/mi.
Why do you laugh? Boan nying ate fi la?
What is your father’s name? Fi kowa yue le boa?
He is a wealthy man. Wa ka nur dobrik.
Wa ka ngantanga nyono.
Wa ka jigsiroa
He is a farmer. Wa ka kpaaroa.
Why don’t you like him? Ka boa ate fi kan yaa wa?
I don’t know him. N ze wa.
I have never seen him before. Mi an diem mar nya wa. Man diem maa nya wa.
I do not know anything about him. N ze ku po wari ya.
Call him for me. Wi wa te mu.
He (Ateng) wants to see you. Wa a yaali fu. Ateng a yaali ain wa nya fu.
She (the women, the girl) thinks so. Wa (nipoowa, nipobilini) poli ka di.
She is smart. Nipoowa a korisi. Nipoowa welima.


to answer tulisi
to discuss polemically nag nampaga
to discuss belisi (or) zogi
to have a talk  biisi biika
to finish a talk biisi biika nueri
to repeat piilim yuen
to respond chogsi
to say yueni, weeni
to speak  biisi
to speak indistinctly, to stammer  bogli
to understand  wom
to talk nonsense biisi a bas

Speaking a language
word, question, problem wari, pl. wie
language, talk biika
English, German, European felin(i)
to study (learn) a language zamsi biik

Do you speak (understand) Buli? Faa biisi (wom) Buli yaa?
Can you speak English? – Yes, I can. Faa biisi felini (ya)? – N bag kama.
I do not understand it well. Mi kan wom ku nalim nyiini.
Mi an ming chag nalim nyiini.
I only speak a little Buli. Maa biisi Buli maga-maga.
Don’t speak so fast. Kan kpabi a biisi.
Learning Buli is difficult. Buli zamsika a toa.
Your Buli is not good. Fi Buni ‘n nala.
I am learning Buli. Ma zamsi ka Buli.
Correct me if I make a mistake N dan biisi be, ween (yuen) mu.
The boy can’t hear you. Biika a kan wom fi biika. Biika kan wom fu.
What have you said? Fi yuen boa? Fi weeni ain ka boa?
Say it again. Ngman yueni (weeni).
Say it slowly. Yueni mag-maga.
Let us have a talk. Te ti biisi ale chaab. Basi ate ti biisi.
Stop speaking in this way. Kaa biisi dila.
As you said (it)… Ase fi le ween (yuen) dila ( diila)…
Please, wait until I have finished speaking. Maa saalim, limsi te n biisi nue.
Be quiet. Shut up. Silence! Ni (pl.) goori! Lig fi noani! Nye chorr!
Stop talking Goori biik!
You were not spoken to. Mi kan biisi ale daa fi.
Listen to what I am saying. A wom n la wieni diila.
Listen well! Ni wom mi nalimnyiini!
Asking questions
I want to ask a question. Maa yaa ain n beg ka wari. N ta wari ain n beg. Mi a yaali ain beg ka bega.
There is no question (problem). Wari karo.
May I ask you a question? N beg fu wari-a?
You ask many questions. Fi beg wie yega-yega.
What do you call this? Fi wi kude ain ka boa? Fi a wi kude ka boa?
What is busik in English? Busik yue ale felini? Felini a wi busik ka boa?
What is this? Boa ne nna? Boa le nna? Ka boa ale nna?
Who is this? Ka wana ale nna? Wan le nna?
Why are you laughing? Ka boa ate fi a laa?
I am laughing at that child. N la ka biikade. Mi a la ka biika de.
Do you know me? Fi seb mu?
Whom do you want? Ka wana ate fi a yaali?
What do you want? Faa yaali ká boa?
Where are you? Fi bo ka be?
Here I am. Nya mu le nna.
Should I wait for you? N limsi fu?
What is your opinion about it? Fi popola ka se ale de?
Fi (a) poli ku se?
What is the matter? Ká boan wari?
Do you like it? Fa yaali?
What has happened? Ka boa ale nye yaa?


when sb. sneezes
Hold it! Be (Bu) tara! (or)
N yig fi nyue (I hold your nose). Maa ngmiak fi nyueri (I squeeze your nose).
(to sneeze chesim v.)
when sb. yawns
Health! Nyingyogsa!
(to yawn ngaasi)
when sb. stumbles: Don’t fall! Kan lo!
(to stumble garing or sati)
after having nudged a person
I did not care. Excuse me. Man kpesi ya.
I did not see. Man nya ya.
(to nudge daasi; chubi (intentionally)
when overtaking a person
We go together. Ti maa chaab cheng.
(or literally: I reach that we go). N paa ate ti cheng-a.
I go in front. N de fi ning.
I pass before you. N taam abe n te fu.
when handing sth. with left hand
Left! Left hand! Gala!
(answer:) It is (also) a hand. Ka nisi (or) Ka nisa.
when sb. is working (e.g.)
Come and help me to stir the T.Z. Jam maa mani n saab te mu.
(answer:) Stir for me. Man’ a te mu.

Excuse me. Man kpesi ya. Te mu siuk.
I beg your pardon. I am sorry. Maa saalim. N kaasi (di).
I will try not to forget. Mi nya kukeri n kan bange.
I am sorry. N kaasi (spoil).
Be careful. Yig fi dek. Nya fi zuk.


When giving sth. to sb. N bu diisi (I offer it)
Thank you (when receiving sth.) Be chogsa (chogsi). N bu chogsa.
Thank you (after eating or saying good-bye) Jiam-jiam. Fi jiam-jiam.
Very well (thank you). Nalim nalim nyiini.

Response to “thank you”
You are welcome. Á vuusi. Jiam karo. Kan namu.
It is not a matter of thanks. Daa jiam wari ya.


Offensive names for persons
big head zuk kpiong
groove in chin, crooked chin tiengkuruk gbegli
long ears tu-wogla
crooked mouth noai mogluk (or mogli)
crooked lip (sb. talks too much) nanggbain galung
dog (not being human, strong insult) biak
sheep (being stupid) posuk
fool beruk
to behave like a fool berim
He is a fool. Wa ka ja-beruk.
traitor, gossip, telltale bumbobroa
madman, idiot yesing
to be an idiot koanoa

Weak insults
cripple (if child does not want to walk) gbaruk
monkey, esp. for children waaung
fairy, goblin kikiruk
witch sakpak
no insult: cow, hen, goat, donkey naab, kpiak, buuk, boning


Gladness, kindness…
I am glad. N sui pienti ya.
She is honest. Wa ka wensie nyono.
She is kind-hearted. Wa ta popo pientika.
He is kind. Wa nina baasa.
Are you contented? Fi pienti ya? Fi maring ya? Fi nina a sue yaa?
contentedly baala, adv.

The child is frightened. Biika a chali ka yogsum.
He is afraid of me. Wa chali yogsum ale mi (mu).
I am afraid. Ma chali ka yogsum.
I am not afraid. Mi kan chali yogsum-oa. Mi kpaziim kan nagi.
I am worried. Maa yiili kama.
N kpaziim a laa nag.
Don’t worry. Kan te ku (a) daam fu.

Are you angry? Fi sui ya puuri? Fi sui ale a puuri?
Fi sui a puuri yaa?
Why are you angry? Boan nying ate fi sui a puuri?
I am angry. N sui laa puuri.

Annoyance, sadness
annoyance su-puurum
Do not annoy me. Kan nye ate n sui puuri.
to be fed up with jiagi, niigi, yuagi
I am fed up. N nii ya.

They are making noise. Ba bora nüem. Baa nuem kama.
Don’t always disturb me. Kaa namsi mu. Kan kasiyam a daani mu.
Don’t be so naughty. Kaa yirisi dila.
Do not disturb me. Kaa namsi mi.
Do not disturb me with your questions. Kan ta fi beganga paa mu. Kaa daani mu ale bega
Go out of the door so that the light can get in.
Nyin pielim ate n bag a nya a nya. Nyin peelim ate ku a nya.
I am sorry. N kaasi di.
Why should I be sorry? N kaasi boan nying?
Why are you sad (annoyed)? Ká boan nying ate fi sui kaasi?
It is a pity. What a pity! Niniga!
to be or get confused buring, butim, tuing, yerim
The boy is crying. Biika a kumu kama.

Faults, crime
Don’t blame me. Kan ngma mi/mu.
He is guilty. Wa kaasi ka (or kama).
Wa noini karo. Wa lo kama.
He stole the money. Wa zu ligranga.
The box got lost. Dakanni be-ya.
I have searched everywhere. N gisi jiga miena.
He has done wrong. Wa nye kaasi.
He tells lies. Wa velim kama.
I don’t know why he did so. N ze ku kiria, ate wa nye dila la.
N ze dii ale soa ate wa nye dila.
complaint popoota
It is forbidden. It is taboo. Ku a kisi (kama).

Conflict, disagreement
They do not agree. Ba kan siagi ate chaaba.
Assibi contradicted Atiim. Assibi zeri Atiim noani kama.
You are late. Fi beni.
Do not listen to these stories. Kan wom sunsuelimanga de.
Who did this? Ka wan ale nye di? Ka wan ale nye nna.
Who broke the cup? Ka wan ale mobi bierika?
He did not break it intentionally. Wan potim mobi ku. Wan potim seb ale mob ku.


How are you? Ka se-aa? (or) Fi nying ká po?
(Answer:) I am fine. Nalim nyini. (Ku baasa. Ku nala).
How was yesterday’s sleep? (before sunrise) (Answer:) Ku baasa.
(early morning, after you got up) Fi le yiri la?
(early morning, after sleep) Fi le goa la?
How did you sleep (You slept?) Fi góóm? (or) Fi gooma?
Good morning Salü-ya? Salui-wa?
Good evening Jünoi-ya?
Good afternoon (11a.m – 1 p.m) Kantueng-aa?
Good night (God give you a good morning) Wen te ti va nalung. Chum-aa?
Good-bye Mi a kuli ká yeri-a. N kuli be n jam.
Good-bye (in the evening) Ti nya chum.
Tomorrow? (until tomorrow) Chum-aa?
See you soon. Ku nye maga.
After sitting down you should greet each other.
Ni dan kali nue, ni puusi chaab.
I am glad to meet you. N popo pienti ya mi le nya fu la.
For years we have not met. Ka bena taa an ngman nya chaaba.

According to present activity
when the greeted person is sitting Be kali.
(answer:) A vuusi. (or) Be cheena.
when standing Be zagi-aa. (or) Za kama (or) Be zaa.
when lying Be doama.
when eating (hold your food) Ni be tara!
when passing (then I pass) M be taamoa.
when coming Be cheena.
when working Fi tuima jiam (or) Jiam- jiam.

Ritual greeting (abridged)
(g = guest, h= host)
g: Hallo! (when arriving at the compound) Ngaanga
h: Welcome Tia
g: I have come N jam (n jamoa)
g or h: Let us greet Te ti puusi.
or: Should we exchange greetings? Ti puusi?
h: Would you like some millet-water Nyiamu? Nyiamu n ta jam?
g: No (water is still good) Nyiamu diem basa.
g: It is good (smooth) g: ku baasa, h: ku baasa
How are you? Fi nying ká po?
How are your children (wives)? Fi bisanga (pooma) yiti ya?
How is your co-wife? Fi ngaang-chowa?
She is in good health. Wa ta nyingyogsa.
Have you slept well? Goomu a goa nalim nyiini?
And what about Anabiik? Alege Anabiik-a?
How is he? Wa duag nalim nyiini?
Has the cold left you? Ngootanga basi yaa? Ngootanga basi fu?
There is no problem. Wari karo
How is everybody in your house? Ni yenni dema miena yiri ya?
Greet your house. Be puusi yeri.

Taking leave
to take leave, to say farewell banti
I beg to take leave Ma juisi siuk ain n kuli.
(short) I leave N kuli
Should we not stay longer? Ti kan diema dalengi.
I leave before I come back. N kuli abe n jam.
Farewell Paai nalim nyiini.
Bye-bye Da-yong-aa ?
Good-night (when going to bed). Chum-aa?
I am not yet leaving. Man diem (a) kuli.
I don’t leave (never). Mi kan kuli.
Can I see you tomorrow? N bag a nya fu chum-a?

Asking for help
Can you help me? Fi bag a mari mu? Ma tuesi fu?
Can you help me to carry my bag? Fi bag a maa(ri) a ji n foruku-u?
Let me help you. Be chogsi.
I will help you. N le maari fu.
What can I do for you? Can I help you? N baga a maa(ri) fu?
I want a child to take me to the market. Maa yaali ka biik ayen wa ta mu cheng yabanga.

Congratulation! Fin ninaung jiam.
Happy birthday! Fi bia-dai masim (or nalim)!
Biam dai supeentuk!
Biam nalung dai yaa!
Happy New Year! Ti ben paali! Bian dai jianta!


sender pateeroa
letter gbang
stamp stampi (Engl.)
to collect letters from the post office tuesi (or pa) gbangsanga post ofis
parcel tiirim, dakari

I’ve written my wife only once. N ngmarisi n poowa ka bunyi.
She wrote eight letters yesterday. Wa ngmarisi ka gbansa naaning diemwa.
You have written your sister many times. Fi ngmarisi fi toawa yega-yega. … dii choa.
He is writing a letter to Amama. Wa ngmarisi gbang ate Amana.

Beginning of letter, addressing sb.
Dear Amoak N doa Amoak.
My dear friend (lover) Assibi N nongku Assibi. N dek nong Assibi.
Dear friend (e.g. distant related persons) N kobiik ale n kobisa.
My dear son (friend) N dek biika [biiga] (doa)

Middle part
This letter comes from your father Anala. Gbangkade a nyini ka fi kowa Anala jigi.
I am greeting you. Mi a (maa) puusi fu.
Your mother greets you too. Fi mawa me a puusi fu.
We are all in good health. Nyingyogsa bo ti miena jig kama.
I am very happy that your are all in good health. N sui a pienti ka nna yegayega ale ni miena ale ta nyingyogsa la.
If this letter is in your hands… Gbangkade a dan jo fi nisa…
Your letter has reached me well. Fi gbangkaai a paari mu kama nalimnyiini.

I am writing this letter to you… N ngmarisi gbangkade a te fu…
Today I have received your letter. Jinla n tuesi fi gbangka.
I am sending you the (this) parcel. Mi le tom koalimanga(de) a te fu.

Your father. Your son. Fi kowa. Fi biika
That is all (I have to say) Miena ale la.
I greet you. Maa puusi fu. Maa te puusa.
The friend in your mind Fi popola doa (nong).
I think of your words Maa poli fi wie.
Greet Ateng from me. Puusi Ateng te mu.
I greet Amoak; best wishes to Amoak Maa puusi Amoak.
(lit.) It is me. Atiim Ka mi. Atiim


ancestors koba, kpilima
bride name sampok-yue
brother, sister suok, yoa, moa, toa
daughter lie, pl. lieba
family, household dok dema, yeri dema
father ko
father’s younger brother ko baang
first (senior) wife po-kpagi
full brother ma-bi-ngobing
grandfather ko-kpieng
grandmother ma-kpieng
husband choroa
junior brother (sister) toa, toa baang
junior wife pok-bili
mother ma
orphan bí-kpíng; kping
sister-in-law n suok pok
son, child biik, pl. bisa
twin(s) yibik, pl. yibsa
wife pok, pl. pooba
to marry a woman, to take a wife faari
to marry a man yali
to divorce pagri, yieri, zeri pok, basi pok
to die kpi; nye kpieri
to die (of babies) ngmani
Is Assibi a boy? Yes, he is. Assibi ká nidoabili ya? Ain, wa ká nidoabili (nipokbili).
Who is your father? Ka wana ale fi kowa?
Anaab is Assibi’s father. Anaab ka Assibi ko.
Whose father is Atiim? Wan ko ale Atiim-oa?
Have you any brother(s)? Fi ta siok wa? Fi ta soata?
My brother is called Adua. Mi sioku yue ale Adua.
Is your brother married? – Yes, he is. Fi sioku ta nipoowa? Ain, wa tara.
Your brother is my friend. Fi sioku ka mi doa.
Where is your elder brother? Fi moa kpagini bo ka be?
How many wives has he? Wa ta ka nipooba ba dina?
I have a wife. N ta nipok.
She has six children. Wa ta bisa bayuebi.
He has three wives Wa ta ka nipooba bata
The children are healthy. Bisanga ta nyingyogsa.
Her father is dead. Wa kowa kpi kama.
Her mother is very old. Wa mawa kpagim ka yega.
My father has many sisters. N kowa ta toaba yeg-yega.
Your aunt is not feeling well. Fi kowa toawa ka nyinyogsa.
We will celebrate my birthday tomorrow. Ti le de mi biam dani chum.
These children are twins. Bisangade ka yibsa.
The boy is taller than the girl. Nidoabini wonga a gaam nipokbilni.
Those women are not strangers. Nipooma daa nichamma.
All my children are married. Mi bisanga miena a faari nipooba kama.
He is junior. Wa ka baang.
Who ist the youngest (person)? Baangka ale wan(a)?
Is your brother married? Yes, he is. Fi sioku ta nipokwa? Ain,wa tara.
I’ll marry and have children. Mi le faari nipok a biag bisa.
He has been divorced from his wife. Wa daam basi wa pokwa.


This is a compound (farmstead). Yeri ne (le) nna.
Whose compound is this? Wan yeri le nna?
Call the landlord for me. Wi yeni nyonowa a te mu.
He wants to see you. Wa yaali fu.
I want to see the landlord. Maa yaali ain (ayen) n nya ká yeni nyonowa.
When I went to his house he was not in. N le ga wa yeni lá, wa karo. Mi ale cheng wa yeni la, wa karo.
I’m glad to be at home again. N sui pienti ale n ne bo yeri la.
What building is this? Ka boan yeri le nna?
When will you be at home? Ka dinpo (disapo) ate faa bo yeri yaa?
When will you be back? Ka dinpo (disapo) ate faa
Ka dinpo (disapo) ate fi piilim cheena?

Is this my room? Ka mi doku (a)le nna?
Please, give me some soap and water. Ma saalim, te mu chiuk. ale nyiam.
The room is very clean. Doku nala kama.
Let us sit in the room. Ti le kali doku po.
Shut (open) the door. Lig (lag) tuoku.
Take my box to the bedroom. Pa n dakani ata jo goom doku po.
Sweep the rooms. Vaari dinanga po.
Open the window(s). Lagri takoruku (takoatanga).
Open (the door) and enter. Lag (tueku) jo.

Please, water the flowers. Ma saalim, zangiti puuta ma.
The woman cleans (prepares) the house. Nipowa jari yeni. Wa gomsi yeni.
Nobody helps her. Wai kan mar wa.
There is someone in the room. Wanyia a bo doku po. Nur ale bo duku po.
Are you going to the river side? Fi a cheng ka bubolik (or …belini jigini)?
Dust the table and the chairs. Bili tablewa ale zu-kpaglisanga.
Make the bed. Gomsi gaduoku.
You can sleep here. Fi bag a goa de kama.

Toilet, bath, washing
Where is the toilet? Banjiranga bo ka be?
Ti cheng ka be ga zaan binta?
Where can I go to toilet? Mi (or: N) cheng ka be ga zaan binta?
He has gone to the toilet. Wa cheng ka bangjiira.
Wash your hands. Nari fi nisanga.
I am going to wash myself. Maa cheng to n so nying.
Where is the bathroom? Soka doku bo ka be?
I want to have a bath. Mi yaai so ka nyingka. Maa yaali n so ka n nying.
Where are the mirror and the comb? Nyaasungku ale chaasika bo be?
Does the sponge belong to you? Ka fi le soa saapoku?
The sponge and the towel are mine. Saapoku ale papawa ka mi ale soa.
Wash it every Sunday. Sugri jaamu Laadi dai


beggar juisiroa
blacksmith choa-biik, kuriroa (=pounder)
bow-maker tom-nyeeroa
carpenter kaapenta (Engl.)
carver piesiroa
chief naab, pl. nalima
cook digora
director, manager, prefect of school kpagi
diviner, soothsayer baano
driver draiva (Engl.)
drummer nagroa
earth-priest teng-nyono
elder, leader, officiant kpagi
farmer kpaaroa
fisherman jum-yigroa; jeng-jieroa
grave-digger vayiak
healer, doctor tebroa, doota (Engl.)
hunter yaaloa
landlord, head of compound yeri-nyono
leather-worker gbang-zabi
maid servant doglie
mason sieroa
midwife poi-yigroa, pu-yigroa
potter mieroa
rain-maker ngmoruk-yaaroa
rider (horse) (wusum) duerik
sacrificer kaabroa
seamstress baalidoa
servant sabilo
shepherd, cowherd naapierik
soldier soji (Engl.)
subchief kambon-naab, pl. kambon-nalima
tailor teela
teacher karichi, sagroa (wise man), tiicha (Engl.)
thief zue
weaver (of cloth:) garu-yogroa; (of straw:) yogroa
whistler (musician) (yui-) pierik
worker (tuin-) tomroa
wrestler jieroa

The two are working on the farm. Bayema a tom talim po.
When do they stop working? Ba a basi tuima ká disapo?
In the evening they leave the farm. Junoani ba basi tuima (their work)
Then they go home. Ba yaa kuli.
I shall work for two weeks. Mi le tom bakoai ngaye-a.
Mi ale a tom bakoai buye.
He is working in the garden. Wa tomu ka gaani po.
My wife is a seamstress. N powa ka gata baalidoa (teela Engl.).
She is industrious. Wa ka tuim tomi doa.
My clothes are torn. N garta chieri kama.
I want her to sew my smock. Mi yaa wa bali ka n garuk.
I need a needle and some thread. Ma yaa ka gari-pein ale gari-miik.


chief na(a)b, pl. nalima
paramount chief na-kpieng (kpiong)
sub-chief kanbon-naab
elder at chief’s court naab nisomoa
servant tuin-tomdoa
state umbrella palim naa-yogsum; naab yogsum
throne naam-zu-kpaglik
palace naab yeri
prince naabiik, naawa-biik

They have elected a new chief. By lueri ka na-paalik.
There were many contestants. Ba daam zaani naamu pisi kama.
He was “crowned” with a red cap. Ba vuk wa ka zutok moaning.
They have enstooled the new chief. Ba bob na-paalik.
They will lead him to the market. Ba le ta Naabwa jo yaba. Ba le ta yaba.
They will lead him outdoors. Ba le ji nawa ta nyini peelim. Ba le ta Naabwa ta nyini.
The chief is riding a horse. Naawa do ka wusum.
Let us go to the palace. Te ti cheng nayeri. Basi ate ti cheng nayeri.
Is it advisable to see the paramount chief?
Ku a magsi ain fi nya naa-kpienku dek?
You should speak through the linguist. Na-nisomwa ale biisi ate fu.
Are there many servants? Nawa yomba zuagi-ya?

(see also “language”)

Schoolchildren and teacher
I am a schoolboy (-girl). Mi ka sukuuri biik.
I shall go to school today. Mi le cheng sikuu jinla.
She should try hard to learn. Wa nye kukeri ate wa zamsi wa gbangka.
He is going to school. Wa cheng ká sukuuri.
Today we do not go to school. Ti kan cheng sukuuri jinla.
When did you start school? Fi pilim sikuu ka dinpo?
In what class are you? Fi bo ka diinanga dina?
Who is your teacher? Ka wan ale fi teacherwa (karichiwa)?
Is he a Ghanaian? Wa ka Ghana denoa?
Is he a good teacher? Wa ka karichi manga?
Does your teacher often punish you? Fi teacher a waali fu vara-vara?
Learning, lessons…
school sukuuri, skuuri
schoolwork felik tuini
to study a language zamsi biik
What is he studying? Ka boa ate wa zamsi?
We learn many things. Taa zamsi ka wie yega-yega.
Ti zamsi nganta a piisi.
Write it down. Ngmarisi dueni.
Let me see your book. Te n nya fi gbangka.
I am looking for my pen. N gisi ka n penwa.
Come for a new pen tomorrow. Jam tuesi pen paalik chum.
Look at the blackboard. Nya blackboardwa zuk.
Keep your book always clean. Ta fi gbangka da-miena nalim nyini.
Do you read in the evening? Fi a kaarim junoaiya?
She is not lazy at school. Wa ka nying-woruk sukuu.
She is hardworking. Wa tomu ka yeg-yega.
I shall read the story. Mi le karim sunsuelini
Let us play ball. Te ti nag bool.
You deserve severe punishment. Fi a magsi ka namsika.

blackboard sa-soblik; blackboard (Engl.)
cane doari
There is a table in the classroom. Teebul ma a bo karung doku po.
Do not play in the classroom. Kaa diini zamsika (or karung) doku po.
classroom zamsika dok


left, to the left gala
Turn left. Chiem gala (nying).
right, to the right juga
road siuk
street sititee
path, footpath siuk, vuuk, vuurik
road junction sui toming; mampali barini, su-paksa
branching road; bifurcation su -moba
curved road su-goalung; su-goantung
sign post siuk saka
load, luggage koalima
bicycle kuta-wusum, cheche
mobilette, moped puupu
car, vehicle loori
to turn (branch) left (right) ngmieringi gala (juga) nying; chiem gala nying
(to go) straight ahead cheng ning nying; yoarisi; adv.: yorr
to miss the way be siuku
to park zaani
straight ahead yomsi a cheng; ning nying
here (there) dowa (or) denna (düla)

Finding one’s way
Is it far from there to here? Duloa ale dena yalimaa?
Which is the way to Atiim’s house? Atiim yeni siuku ale kuna?
Where is the road to Navrongo? Navarong siuku bo (ka) be?
Please show me the way to the chief’s house. Ma saalim, dag ka naa-yeni siuk a sag mu.
I am looking for the road to Sandema. Maa yaali ka Sandem siuku.
Which is the way to Anpan’s house. Anpan yeni siuku ale kuna? Anpan yeni siuku bo ka be?
Take the road on your left. Pa siuku ale bo fi gala. Va fi gala siuku.
Go straight ahead. Yomsi fi ning a cheng.
Return to the road junction. Vering siu-tomini jigni. (or: …sui-tomini ning)
Take the first turning on the right. Pa fi ning viringka fi juga.
He turns right, goes a little and turns left. Wa mob juga, a cheng maga pilim mob gala.
Turn left, then go straight on. Va gala, a ngman cheng fi ning yoar.
Is the post-office far from here? Post-officewa yalima le dela?
Yes, it is far. Mmm, ku yalima kama.
No, it is not far. Ku an yalima.
It is about two miles from here. Ku a nye se ka mila ngaye a nyini dela jigini.
It is near the market. Ku moata ka yabanga.
Have you ever been there? Fi poom jam dela?
I have never been there. Mi an poom jam dula.
Could you take me there? Fi le ta mu a cheng dula?
There is the house. Yeni ale nna.
It is very kind of you to have brought me there.
Ku nala ate fi ta mu a jam dela jigini.
A kind friend showed me the main road. Doa mang ale dag mu mampali.
Take the bush path on your right. Va sagi siuku fi juga ning.
Must we climb a hill? Ti le jueli guuku?
Is the path straight? Siuku yomsi yaa?
Is it winding? Siuku goling kama. Siukua gonti kama.
Shall we cross a (small) stream? Ti le gaam bub(o)aliga?
Have I to cross a river? Ma gaam beli ya?
Is there a bridge (over it)? Briji boro?
Is the river wide? Belini lagri kama?
Is it deep? Di limisa?
Do we have to cross it by canoe? Ti le pa ka ngaarung a jueli?
Will they reach there before sunset? Ba le paa du alege te wenbini singi.
Does the path go through a forest? Siuku va sagini po?
The road is not good. Siuku an nala.
Is the road good for a car? Siuku nala ate logri a cheng?
The road is dusty. Siuku ta ka nyung.
Let us wait for our friend. Te ti limsi ti doawa.
Step aside. Taam de gensa.
Ngmerin gala.
I am a stranger. Mi ka nichaanoa.
I have lost my way. N be síúkú kámá.
I didn’t think you would lose your way. Mi an poli ain fi le poom be siuku.
You have missed the way. Fi be siuku kama.

Vehicles on the road
accident loka
bend n. goantika
brake v. yigi (catch)
car logri, loori
collision (to collide) pomka (pom v.)
drive v. damu
get out, leave the car v. nyini
get in, enter (car) v. jo
highway, big road mampali
journey siuk chelim, nyierim
overtake v. chali gaam
park (stand) v. zaani
passenger car tulin-kaa
pull v. dari
push v. daasi; tusi
repair v. jaari
tube nyuok, Pl. nyueta
tyre nang
wash the car suuri logni

Having a car
Do you have a car? Fit ta logri?
Is this your car? Ka fi longi le nna?
Please drive slowly. Maa saalim a dam maga maga.
Can you drive a car? Fi bag a dam logri-yaa?
A. drives his car from A. to B. Atiim a dam wa logni a nyin A. a cheng B.
A. stops (parks) at Sandema. A. zaain Sandem.
Where can I park my car? N zaani n logni be?
Can I park my car here? N baga zaan n logni dela?
I park my car near the house. N pa logni a zain moata ka yeni teng.
Can you give me a lift to Wiaga? Fi bag maa pa mu taa cheng Wiag-a?
Can I give you a lift? N pa fu ta cheng?
I am sorry, the car is full. Maa saalim, logni sue kama.
Can I drive you to your house? N pa fu ta kuli fi yeni?
Have you any luggage? Ni ta koalima-a?
They put the luggage on the car. Ba pa koalimanga a dueni logni zuk.
Get in and sit well. Ni jo a kali magsi.
Don’t forget your things. Kan bang fi ngantanga.
Have you got all your luggage? Ni pa ni koalima miena?
I am going to Wiaga in my car. N jue n logni a tuag Wiag. Ma cheng Wiag ate ka n logni.
The car starts for Wiaga. Logni yiri a cheng Wiag.
The women get down (out). Nipooma sing. Nipooma tuili.
Soon he reaches Sandema. Ku an ben ya wa pai Sandem.
He arrives at Navrongo. Waa paa ka Navrong.

break-down, puncture panksha, kaasika
damage (a car) v., be damaged kaasi
exchange (tyres…) v. tagri
The car is broken. Logni kaasi kama.
One tyre has a puncture. Nangka kanyi na.
The tube of the car is punctured. Logni nyueku (intestine) a pusi kama.
Can you help me? Naa yaa ni maa mu kama? Ni baga maa mu?
They change a wheel of the car. Ba tagri logni nangka.
Where is a fitter? Fita bo ka be?
Where can I buy petrol? Mi n nya petrol ka be da?
Why didn’t you take a taxi. Fi n pa taxi? Ka boa ale soa at fi an pai taxi?
You don’t see very much from a taxi. Fi bo taxi po, fi kan nya a chagi.
Can you call a taxi for me? Fi baga wi taxi ate mu?

Other road users
bicycle kuta wusum (“iron horse”), cheche (lw.)
motor-assisted bicycle, moped pupu
bus logri (lw.)
traveller nyiendoa
horse-rider wusum duerik


to go out cheng nyini
to go on foot, to walk cheng teng; cheng nangsa
to stroll chelini koruk
to approach sb. cheng wa jigi
walker, pedestrian chengdoa, pl. changdoaba
I want to go there. Maa yali n cheng ka dula.
Do not go yet. Kan diem chengi.
I shall go for a walk. Mi le cheng chelim. Mi le cheng cheng.
I want to go home. Ma yaa n kuli ka yeri.
journey, travel n. chelim
journey on roads siuk chelim
to go on a journey cheng siuk (or) cheng
I will go with you. I will follow you. N maa va.
Go after them. Follow them. Va ba ngaang.
I am going to my father. Maa cheng n kowa jigi.
Go away. (imp.) Cheng ga ning. (or) Cheng du!
The stranger has gone for ever. Nichanoawa an an ngan cheena (does not come again). Nichaanowa cheng nueri.
After 2 weeks I will go back to Germany. Bakoai buye po mi le . cheng Germany
Where are you going? Fi tua ka be? Faa cheng ká be?
I am going to Bawku. Ma cheng ka Bawku.
Let us go to the woman. Te ti cheng nipoowa jigi.
I did not go. Man cheng ya. N le kan cheng la.
I regret that I did not go. N ngma ka ndek n le kan cheng la.
I want to go out. Ma yaa n nyini ka pielim.
I am going home. Ma kuli ka yeri.
Walk nicely (correctly; properly) Cheng magsi.
When I went to his house, he was not in. N le ga wa yeni la, wa karo.
Tomorrow I will go nowhere. Chum mi kan cheng jig-jiga.
If you go home, when will you come back?
Fi dan kuli, fi le ngman jam ká da-dina? (or: disapo).

When will you come? Ka disapo at fi cheena?
to come back ngmain jam
I hope he will come today. Ma poli ain wa le jam jinla.
Why have you come? Boa nying te fi jam?
How many people came? Ka nurba ba dina ale jam ya?
Come here at once. Jam de yog-yogla.
Come with me. Jam te cheng.
Come to me. Jam mi jigi.
I arrived here five days ago. Mi jam dewa nna ate ku paai daa nganu.
Where do you come from? Fi nyini ka be?
I come from Sandema. N nyini ka Sandem.
Will you come with me to church? Fi le va mi jam wen-dogu-a?
Did anyone come to look for me? Wai jam dela a gisi mu?
When do they come back again? Ka da dina ate ba (ngman) cheena?
Disapo ate ba…
Ayi, come to me Ayi, jam mi jigi.
Look, he is coming. Nya, wa la cheena.
Do not come before sunrise. Kan jam ale wen (ndiem) n pusi ya.
I do not know where she came from. Mi ze wa ale nyini jujui la.
If Laadi comes, tell him to wait for me. Laadi dan jam, yueni ain wa limsi mu.
He will come today. Wa le jam jinla.


to become a diviner chim baanoa; (rituell:) ngari jadok
Are you the only and first to become a diviner in your house?
Ka fi nyiini ale piilim chim baanoa ni yeni?
Or was there a diviner before? Yaa baano daam boro kama?
Who will inherit the jadok? Jadokkade ngman ga ka wan jigi ya.
How did it happen that the pig came to you so that you (started to) divine? Ku be nye ka se, ate dioku a jam fi jigi ate fi taa bogi?

Tools of a diviner and code-objects (Table 1)
pillow and two stones (Table 1) zukpaglika ale tintana ngaye
things (code-objects) in the bag koalima foruku po
sticks (Table 1) ngmiensa
empty stick ja-koruk
diviner’s (forked) wand (Table 1) baan-doari
to wear a red cap vugi zutok muning
divining shrine baana-bogluk

What does this thing mean? Jaamude tuima ale boa? Jaamude a tom ka boa? Bu me kiri ale la?
What is the function of this thing? Jaamude a sag ka boa?
And this thing? Alege jaamude me?
You hold it to identify it. Ka fi a yig wa ate fi ming wa.
Do you know the animal’s name? Fi seb dungka yue ya?
It has the same meaning. Ka wa yeng.
Could you show me one? Fi bag dag wanyi a sag mu?
Its object has been removed Wa jamu yieri kama.
(from the stick)

Activities of a diviner
to divine (Table 1) bogi (jadok, bunoruk)
to divine on the stones bog buntanga zuk
to pour out the sticks on the ground kpiiri ngmiensanga miena duen teng
to hold the stick (wand) ta doani; yig baan-doani a tara to demand a fowl yaali kpiak
to satisfy (this demand) siagi (Fi dan siag, fi ngoa nalim)
to sacrifice to a shrine kaabi bogluk
Do you usually pour all the sticks out on the ground?
Fi nyeem kpiiri miensanga miena kama duen tenga?
The wand points to these things. Doani naa dag ngantangade.
The object is singled out. Jaamu a yieri.
Something is wrong with you. Jaab ta fu.
There is a problem in your house. Wari bo fi yeni.
Will it not harm you? Ku kan beg fu?
It “comes out” that you must sacrifice. Di nyini ain fi kaabi.
They sacrifice an animal to the jadok-shrine.
Ka dung ate ba pai kaab jadoka.


anus bita-fiik, bitagi
arm, hand nisiri, pl. nisa
back ngaang
beard tieng
belly, stomach logi, puuk, poi
body nying
buttock, bottom bitagi, bitakoli
breast (female), bosom biisiri, pl. biisa
cheek chikperi; tapayiak
chest kuusidi, sunum
chin tiengkuruk
ear turi, pl. tue
eye num, pl. nina; nimbiri, pl. nimbie
eyebrow num kungkok
face nin-diak
finger, toe nandub
fingernails, toenails nyi-nyiensa
foot nantuok
forehead diri
hair zuik, pl. zuisa
head zuk
knee dunung
leg nang
lip nangbainviok
mouth noai
mouth (inner and outer part) noangbain, nangbain
navel siuk
neck ngiri
nose nyueri
palm (of hand) nitali
saliva tintueta
shoulder ngmangkpaluk
excrement, stool binta
sweat wulim
thigh kosuk
thumb, big toe nandub-diok
tongue ginggelung
tooth nyin, pl. nyina
tribal mark nyagi
urine sinsam
waist, small of back chiak
wrist ni-sibi (Bulsa south), nisogi
Is this a hand? Ka nisa ale nna?
No, it is not a hand. Awo, daa nisa (ale nna).
Yes, it is a hand. Ain (mmm) nisa ale la.
She is lean. Wa bug kama. Wa baling.
She is fat (corpulent). Wa biigi (bila).
She becomes fat. Wa zuagi. Wa biig binta.
She is tall. Wa wogla. Wa wonga.
She is small (in stature). Wa choali.


sickness, illness, disease tuem, tuom, nying-tuila
antidote yobrik (tiimu de ka yobrik)
accident (lori) loka
blood ziim
cattarrh, influenza sisagta, (kosuk)
chicken pox tambola
constipation piruk n.; pirika v.n.
cough n. kosuk (kosi, v.), sisagta
diarrhoea chaaruk, poyogsuk (chaari, v.)
dysentery poi-yogsuk
fever, sickness nying-tuila (nying tolika, fever in the body)
to have a fever toling
fit n., epilepsy kpingkpingsa
giddy. adj. (ning) giluk
headache zuk domsuk
leprosy nying kaasung; gami tuem
mad person yesing (yerim, yesim v.)
malaria duinsa tuem
measles kanchuinsa
pain, ache domsik, domsuk
paralysis gbarinka
poison yaam (arrows),
smallpox tambola
stomachache poi domka
stool beung, binta;
stool, to have basi yaata; zaani binta
stool, bloody ziim charuk
sweat wulim
swoon cha
toothache nyina domka
worms pi(i)na, nyiina (disease)

callous kpaglik
crippled gbaning, gbaruk = crippled person
disabled (to be…) kong adj.; verb: koani
unconscious jim, adv.; to be unconscious:
ze fidek jigi ya
(not know your place)
to be exhausted kpieri; miigi
to feel a burning pain yuiri
to be in a delirium, to have fits song
to contaminate tang
to be bruised cheti
to bruise fiiri
to gasp for breath cha vuusum
to breathe vuusi
to ache dom

He feels cold. Ngoota ta wa.
He is shivering. Wa nying a mimsi. Wa nying a gog.
He is weak. Wa bug kama.
He has no strength. Wa ka pagrim.
He has not yet recovered. Wa an diem baasa.
He broke his leg. Wa nangka we.
He is lean (weak) Balingsa le ta wa. Wa baling.
He caught a cold. Ngoota a jo wa nying.
He is deaf. Wa ta tu-kpara.
He cannot speak (is dumb) Wan baga biisi. Wa ka gaung.
He is blind. Wa ka yi.
He is paralysed. Wa gbarim kama.
He is insane. Wa zuk kan tom.
He is dead. Wa nying ka yog yega-yega. Wa yog kama.
I have a strong headache. N zuku a dom ka yeg-yega.
I have dysentery. N ta ka poi yogsuk.
I have stomach ache. N poi ala dom.
I have spoilt my stomach. N kaasi n poi.
I cannot breathe well. Man bag a vuusi nalim nyiini.
I have smallpox. Tambola ale taam mu.
N ta poom bisa.
I have cut my finger. N gebi ka n nandub.
I have a cold. Ngoota ta mu.
I cannot sleep in the night. Mi an baga a goa yoku.
I am feeling sleepy. Goom ale ta mu.
I have diarrhoea Maa chaari kama.
I cannot smell anything. Ma bag a wom jaab nyum-oa.
I got a snakebite. Waab ale dom mu.
I have a high fever. N nying le tuila nna bag-bag.
I am ill. Ma wiag kama.
I am seriously ill. Ma wiag ka yeg-yega.
N nying po le kan masa
N zuk le a che nna welim-welim.
He is still ill. Wa diem wiag kama.
I am not feeling well. Mi an soa n dega.
I am tired. N jiag kama.
I have a toothache N nyin alaa dom. Nyin-domsik (nyin-domsuk) ta mu.
I have no appetite N noa po kan yaali. N noai an masa.
I have a cough. Sisagta le ta mu.
I am thirsty. Nya-nyuila le ta mu.
I am hungry Kom le ta mu.
The man is dying. Nurwa a kpi kama.
He has been buried. Ba gu wa kama.
She is robust. Wa ka tug-tug.
She is fat. Nipoowa biigi kama.
She is strong. Nipoowa pagra kama.
Don’t cry. Kaa kaari.
The woman is in good health. Nipoowa ta nyingyogsa kama.
The baby has measles. Biika ta ka kanchuinsa.
The disease got worse. Tuomu yaa pagra.
The disease improved. Tuomu a yaa ga ngaang. Tuomu a yaa baasa.
The dog is mad. Biaka a yesim kama.
He is very exhausted (tired). Wa jiak ka miena.
How is your sickness? Fi nying tuila ká se?
It is getting better Ku zung chonga.

Therapy, clinic, doctor
bandage vilika
clinic tebka dok
cotton gunggung (kapok)
doctor dokta, doota
drugs, medicine tiim, pl. tiita
European medicine felika tiim
go to the doctor cheng dokta
heal v. tebi
health, fitness nyingyogsa, bààsim
hospital, health station àsìb’ìtì, tiim dok
injection garupiema luka (lu v.)
native doctor, medicine man tebroa, tiim nyono
pill ti-biri
plaster, v. fagi, fatim
prescription (of medicine) tiita ngmarisika
traditional medicine Bulsa tiim; nur sobsa tiim (medicine of the black people)
How do you feel? Ka se? Ka se-a?
I cannot help you. Min baga maa fu.
You must go to the clinic. Ku a fe fi cheng tiim dok.
They must examine your stool. Ba nya fi bintanga.
You must stay in bed (must rest) Fi vuusi.
I will fix a plaster. Mi mang ka plaster.
Keep the wound free from dirt. Kan te dangta jo noruku po.
You sickness is contageous. Tuomu a chogsi kama.
Keep the patient isolated. Gaari yog nyingka ka toga.
Let me measure your temperature. Te n magsi fi nyingka tuilimu.
Your temperature is very high (low). Fi nyingka tuilimu zuag ka yega (a baling).
This tablet is good for killing the germs.
Tiimude nala kama a teb ngan-vuuta (fi nyingka po).
This tablet reduces the fever. Tiimude ny te fi nyingka zung a chonga.
This tablet does not heal you. Tiimude kan tebi fu.
It only reduces the pain. Bu nye ma ate ku baasi zung chonga.
Take this pill every morning before breakfast.
Ne tiimude saliuk miena abe fi ge a de saliuk ngaandiinta.
Swallow it with a lot of water. Ne bu ale nyiam a zuagi.
You must eat a lot of fruit. A de tiisa yoana a piisi.
Congratulation upon recovering. Fi ninam jiam ale fi le nyin nyingtuela po.
Is there some of your medicine left? Fi tiimu tali-aa?


akpeteshi apataasi
banana kooduk
beans tue (pl.), sing. turi
biscuit bisicati
bread boru(k)-boruk
breakfast saliuk-ngan-diinta
butter bata, kpaam
cashew (Table 1) atia
cassava, maniok banchibik
cheese chiesi
cocoyam mangkain
egg kpa-jein, pl. kpa-jena
fish jum
food ngandiinta
Frafra-potatoes piesiri, pl. piesa
fufu sakori
garden-egg, aubergine booruk, (local:) komi
germinated millet, malt (Table 1) kpaama
groundnuts sungkpaam
“herrings” (very small saltwater-fish) biila, sing. biili
kenkey dakunung
late millet za-piela
lemon liemu miising
light soup jen-nyiam
maize cholimbein, pl. cholimbena
mango (Table 2: trees) manggook, (tree: feli-cham, manggook)
meat lam
milk naa-biisim
millet zari, pl. zaa
early millet naara
late millet za-piela
millet-beer, pito daam; da-moanung
millet-flour zom
millet-water zu-nyiam
neri, egusi buura
ochro, okra ngmain, pl. ngmaana
oil, grease, butter, margarine kpaam
onions alabasa
orange liemu, leemu
palmnut abe
pawpaw boriferi
pepper nangmaribazung, ngmaribazung, ngmaazung
plantain boaderi,
porridge sp. kooko, saab
rice muma (pl.)
round beans, Bambara groundnuts suma (pl.), sing. sumi
salt yesiri (sing. rare), yesa (pl.)
shea nut (Table 1) jigsidi, pl. jigsa
sorghum (late) za-monta
soup, sauce jenta
soup with groundnuts (sp.) porung
spinach (sp.) aleefu
sugar sigiri
sweet potatoes naabanyuiri
T.Z. (millet-gruel) saab, pl. sira
tea, coffee, Milo, cocoa tii (Engl.)
to have breakfast sugri noai
tomato kamantos
vegetables jen-vaata
water nyiam
yams (Table 1) nyue (pl.)
yeast, residue of millet beer (Table 1) da-binta
They are hungry and thirsty. Kom ale nya-nyuila ale ta ba.
They eat their food and drink water. Ba de ba ngandiintanga ale nyu nyiam.

Preparing and serving food
cook n. digroa
cook v. digi
cup bierik
dip food into the soup suigi
dry (food, without sauce) gaang (adj.), cf. sa-gaang
fork duisuk-nyina
fry v. chiim
kitchen dakiri, gbanglong
knife gebik
ladle jenta duisuk
ladle out soup bieri jenta
roast groundnuts baani sungkpaam
spoon duisuk

Bring the millet here. Pa zanga ta jam de.
Pour water in. Boori nyiam. Kpiiri nyiam a nyoru.
Lay the table. Gomsi tableku.
Make the dishes. Gomsi chinanga.
It is enough. Ku magsi ya.
They cooked food for them. Ba dig ngan-diinta ate ba.
What will you cook for supper? Ka boa te fi yaali dig-oa?
What kind of soup would you like? Ka boan jenta te fi a yaali?
I have no appetite. N ka korisa. N noai an masa.
Does it taste? Ku ta masima? Ku masa?
It was delicious. Ku masa.
Please, pass me the salt. Pa yesinga te mu.
Start eating. Piilim deka.
I have no spoon. N ka duisu-oa.
It is hot (seasoned with pepper). Ku ta noai.
Please give me some bread. Maa yaa boru-boruk. (Not: te mu…)
Dont’ get drunk. Kan bugi!

Eating and drinking
belch berenti
breakfast saliuk ngan-diinta
chew chaam
chewing stick kpasagi
drink, to smoke nyu
eat with noise ngurinti
eat bit by bit nyiisi
eat with chewing ngobi
eat too much de yega-yega
eat hastily de a wuli
eat without chewing de, ne
have breakfast yueling noai; sugri noai
refuse food banti ngan-diinta
swallow, to devour (e.g. medicine) ne
drink v. nyu
drinker nyuiroa, da-nyuiroa

Drink the rest. Nyu dii le tali la.
They refused to eat Ba zeri ngan-diinta.
I eat a lot (or too much, every day). Mi de a zuag.
It is too much. Ku zuag ka yega.
It is too little. Ku poasima.
The child has eaten to his satisfaction. Biika de chagi.
I have eaten mangoes. N ta ngob mangoota. N de nabgiita,
He got drunk. Wa bug daam.
Give me some water. Nye kukeri a te mu nyiam.
Drink what is left. Nyu dii le tali la.
I don’t like palm soup. Mi kan yaali Abe jenta.
Is breakfast ready? Have they finished cooking?
Ba digi saliuk ngandiinta nueri-ya?
I like some rice this afternoon. Mi a yaali ka muma junoanide.
Have you already fed the baby? Fi poom te biika ngandiinta?
Can’t I get something to eat? N kan nya ngandiinta a de?
N kan nya jaab a de?
I am hungry. Kom ale ta mu.
I am thirsty. Nya-nyuila ale ta mu.
I wish some food (for eating) Maa yaali ká ngandiinta ayen n de.
You can get water from the river. Fi bag a nya nyiam beni po kama.

Inviting sb. to join eating
Come, let us eat. Jam te ti de (ngobi).
I have a calabash (for you). N ta chin.
“Eat (food) is in my hand” De bo n nisa po.

Refusal of invitation to eat
I also have. Mi me tara.
No, it helps. Ku a mai (maari).
Do and I will come (perhaps later). A nye te n jam.
It is a blessing. Ku a niak.
Eat for me. De a te mu.

Refusal to drink water
You like water. Faa yaa nyiamoa.
The water is good. Nyiamu baasa.

Offering and receiving food
“I offer” N bu diisi.
(answer:) “I receive” N bu chogsi.

It is sweet like honey. Ku masa ase siita la.
to taste badly bie
to be (taste) sour miisa (adj. miising)
to be dry chiisa v., petidi (tasteless) v.
bitter tuak, tuok,
to be bitter de tuem; toa
sweet (to be…) masik, saalik (masa v.)

(see also FOOD)

Buying and selling
1950 Cedis boosa neuk ale pi al pisinu
200 Cedis boorik
buy after measuring, measure v. magi
buy, sell da
buy up everything saari
fixed prices: Its price is fixed. Ku ligranga ale la.
nail kutuk pieng
pair of scissors pon-magi dinyi
pin piinu
shoe lace nuensa miik
shop, store koalima daka jigi; store
umbrella naa-yogsum
underwear mungkuruk; pietuk
waste (v.) money kaasi ligra

I want to see the shops. Ma yaa n nya ka stooringa.
Try to get a basket for me. Yaali busik te mu.
I would like something cheap. Mi a yaali ka jabui diak ale baasa.
Let’s go to Kingsway. Te ti cheng Kingsway.
I need a few things. Ma yaali ka nganta maga.
Is it the largest shop in town? Ku ka si tok kpiong tengka po? Does it open every day? Ku a lagri daa-miena?
Do you often go there? Fi a cheng dula da-miena?
Who is the manager of the shop? Ka wana ale manijawa situokude po?
Who sells these shoes? Ka wana ale a da nuesangade?
What would you like to buy? Ka boa ate fi a yaali fi daa?
I want to buy a dozen tins of milk. Ma yaali ain n da ka miliki konkonsa dazin.
We have some sugar, too. Ti ta sigri me.
Give me a bag of rice. Te mu muma boorik.
Can I see one? Mi le nya wanyi?
Will they change it for me? Ba le tagri te mu?
Do you sell? Fi a da?
Give me two. Be te mu baye.
Take one only. Pa ka wanyi deki.
That is enough. Ku magsi (-a).
Is it durable? Ku a beni?
It is too dirty. Ku dagim ka yeg-yega.
It is too thin. Ku meta ka yeg-yega.
Do you have some others? Fi ta ba chaaba?
Let me see all of them. Te ne n nya ba miena.
Make your choice. Fi dek lueri.
This one is good for me. Wade nala te mi (mu).
Keep it for me. Dueni te mu.
I will come for it tomorrow. N chum le jam pai.
Haven’t you paper bags? Fi ka gbangsa foru(k)-oa? (foruwa)
I want to buy a hat. Ma yaa n da ka zu-yiok.
We paid a hundred cedis. Ti tuni ka cediba kook.
What do you want money for? Fi a (Faa) yaali ligra ain fi nye ka se?
I want to buy bread in the market. Maa yaali n da boro-boruk yaba Maa cheng ka yaba ayen n da boro-boruk.
Where can I buy lemon? Ka be ale n nya leemu miising a daa?
How much is the (this) millet? Zaanga(de) ká dina?
Five Cedi for each calabash. Cediba (Sidiba) banu chin yeng.
Don’t you reduce? (bargain) Fi kan baring-ee? Fi kan basi?
Don’t you add (“dash”) something? Fi kan nyo jaara du?
Reduce the price. (Te) barige.
I reduce it by two Cedis. N yieri Cediba (sidiaba) baye.
Reduce the price a little. Yie ku ligranga mag-dega.
No reduction! Jaara karo. Ku kan barigi.
I’ll lose heavily if I reduce it. Mi ne lo kama n nin yieri.
They are bargaining. Ba bora barigi.
There is no reduction on the sale of beer. Bareka ka daam diak po.
It is cheap. Ku diak (or “de”) a baasa.
It is very expensive. Ku diak pagra yeg-yega.
I (will) buy one calabash. Mi le da chin yeng.
I bought a goat for 9 pounds. N da buuk ponta neuk.
A. wants to buy vegetables. A. a yaali ain wa da ka . jenvaata.
A. has a big bag full of vegetables. A. ta ka foruk kpiong ate jen-vaata a sueri.
Can you buy (=sell) this for me? Fi kan da jaamude ate mu?
Give me 8 tomatoes. Te mu kamantosba (kamantosita) naaning.
If you go to town, don’t forget to buy bread. Fi dan cheng tengka po,
kan bang(e) ate fi da boro-borawa.
What is your sister going to buy? Fi toawa a cheng wa da ka boa?
B. has a bag full of vegetables. B. ta ka foruk kpieng ate jenvaata (soup-leaves) a sueri.
Her brother helps her to carry it. Wa siok a maari wa ji. Wa siuku a koati (lift up) ji wa.

Paying, money
How dear is it? Ku ligra ne ka diila?
How much would you like to buy? Ka dina te fi a yaali ain fi daa?
May I pay for it? N tuni te fu ya? N tuni ku ya.
Your bill is three cedis. Fi pami ni ka cedi bata.
“dash”, reduction of the price jaara or yiebasika
You have to pay 46 pesewas. Fi a tuni 46 pesewa. Faa tuni ka kuboata pisinaansi ale tiyuebi.
Here is the money. Liranga le nna.
Here is your change. Fi changi le nna. Faa tuni ka kuboata pisinaansi ale ti.
I pay 2 Cedis. N ne tuni Cedi (sidi) baye.
I have no money. Mi kà ligra.
I have not enough money. Mi ligni kan paari.
They promised to give him money. Ba pulim ain ba te wa ligra.
I will give you some money. Mi le te fu ligri.
Don’t show it to other people. Kan pa sag nurba.
Here is your receipt. Fi lasiitiwa le nna.
That is all, thanks. Ku miena ale la, ma te fu jiam.
I want to change my German money into Cedis.
Ma yaa n tagri German ligra ate Ghana cedima (sidima).

At the post office
Can I buy some stamps here? N baga da stampi dela?
No, you can’t. Anwo. Fi an baga.
Go to the lady on your right/left. Cheng nipowa ale bo fi juga [gala] la jigi.
Of which denomination? Ba bana?
I need different (three) kinds. Maa yaali ká nganta toga toga (bata).
Three of five pesewas. Banu kuboata pisita. Kuboata tinuwa buta (ngata).
I would like to send a telegram to Kumasi.
Ma yaa n tom ka telegram ate Kumasi.
Ma yaa n nag ka tangala miik.
Go to the gentleman over there. Cheng nuri mangka de jigi. Cheng duerawa jigi.
Is this your parcel? Ka fi pasilwa le nna?
Yes, I want to send it to my son at Hohoe.
Mmm. Ma yaa tomika ka n biik Hohoe. Ma yaa tom te ka n biika ate bo Hoehoe.
Then we have to weigh it. Ti ngooni ka kama.
Ti ngooni ka a nya.
It weighs 8 oz. Wa ngooni ka ounsesba naaning.
Ka dobrimu ka ounsesba naaning.
It is lighter than I thought. Ka valima kama a gaam me le poli de la.
This ten-pesewa stamp is very beautiful.
Stampiwade nala ka nalim nyini.
Kuboate piika stampi nala la.
I’ll send it to a friend in Geneva. Mi le tom ka ate n doa ale bo Geneva.

On the market
market-day yaba dai
market (square, only locally) yakui
beginning of market yaba piilimka, yaba joka
the day before market day yaara (pl.); dai dii da ate pa te yaba dai la; tampulain
small market (not on market days) yaba fiisa (or: fiik), tampilaanda (a non-market day; da< dai)
market stall viuk
pito-bar daam moaning viuk
We shall go to the market this afternoon. Ti le cheng yaba junoinide.
What is the name of this market? Yabangade yue ale boa?
Where are fruits sold? Ba da tiisa yoana ka be?
Fruits are sold at Navrongo market. Tiisa yoana a da ka Navrong yaba.
Where can I buy some corn (maize)? Mi nya chulimbena ka be a da?
You can buy “herrings” near those trees. Jum goalisa bo ka tiisanga de teng a da.
Fi bag a da fasuk tiisangade teng.
There are good oranges and bananas. Liemu ale koodu nalinsa boro.
How much are these yams? Nyuenga de ka dina?
This costs ten pesewas. Nya wade ka suli. Nyangade ka kuboata pi.
I want to buy ten pesewas worth of bananas.
Ma yaa ayen n da kooduk ka kuboati pi.
It is too dear. Ku diak pagra kama.
Are those oranges good? Limumade nala?
Please, give me my change. Ma saalim, te mu n changiwa.
Are there any eggs for sale? (Kpa-) Jena boroa a daa?
No, there aren’t any. Awoo, nga karo.
Yes, there are. Mmm, nga boro.
When is Sandema market?
Ka da dina ale Sandem yaba? Sandem yaba dai ale dai dina?
Every three days is Sandema market. Da ngata miena ka Sandem yaba dai.
Is market-day today? Yaba dai ale jinla ya? Jinla ka yaba dai-a?
Today is market day. Jinla ka yaba dai.
All people go to the market. Nurba miena a cheng yaba.

Do you go to the market with me? Fi le va mu cheng yabanga ale muu?
I like a child that takes me to the market. Maa yaali biik ain wa ta mu cheng yabanga.
Where can I buy food? Min da ngan-diinta ka be?
Where can I buy Pito? Ka be ate n baga da ngandiinta?
Min (mi ain) nya daam ká be (a) da?
Be ate mi n nya daam a da?
They sell Pito there. Baa da daam dula.
Where is the stall for Pito? Daam viuku bo ka be?
Let us go to the stall for Pito. Te ti cheng viuku ga nyu daam.
You can buy eggs an flour at the farmer’s. Fi bag á dá jena ale zom kpáároáwá jigi.
I need a few things. Maa yaali ka nganta maga.
Buy oranges for me at the market. Da liemu yabanga po a te mu.
Today they are selling mangoes. Jinla, ba ta ka mangoota a da.


The prefixes of the numbers 1-7 correspond to the class of the preceding noun.
one (adj.), once bunyi, wanyi, dinyi, kanyi, kunyi one (n.) yenni or n-nyi
two, second buye, baye, ngaye, siye, tiye three, third buta, bata, ngata, sita, tita
four banaansi
five bunu
six buyuebi
seven buyuepoi
eight naaning
nine neuk
ten pi
eleven pi ale bunyi; pi al wanyi…
twenty pisiye
thirty pisita
hundred kobik (or) kook
thousand tusidi
1973 tusidi ale kobisa neuk ale pisyuepoi al ngata
one half geli
one and a half (1.5) wanyi ale geli
three fowls kpesa sita
five things nganta banu
first piilimka or ning
second buye
the second day daa ngaye dani
third buta
once bunyi
twice buyea
many times yega yega; diichoa
eleven times pi ale bunyi po; ku noai pi ale bunyi
one hundred times kook kanyi po; ku noai kook
6+7=13 Bayuebi fi gum (you add) bayuepoi ka pi ale bata.

How many people came? Ka nurba din ale jam ya?
Ten plus ten makes twenty. Pi a gum pi po ku a nye ka pisiye-a.
Subtract ten from twenty. Gaari pi a nyin pisiye-a po. Yieri pi pisiye po.
Multiply four by six. Bunansi ku noai buyuebi. Buyuebi ku noai bunanansi.
Boba ngayuebi, ku noai bu naansi ka dina?
Count your fingers. Chiini fi nandubsanga.
Can you count up to one hundred? Fi baga a chiini ta paari kookwa?
He likes arithmetic. Wa yaali ngmeela.
I pay two Cedis. N ne tuni Cedi baye.
Here are three houses. Yie ngata ale nna.
The two come out of the house. Bayewa a nyini yeni po.


Terms, adverbs of time
a long time ago diim or dilapo (sentence initially)
after a few (3,4,5) days vonung ku choa
after Christmas burinya ngaang nyin
always, all the time diipo miena
century bena kook
Christmas búrínya
clock, watch agogo (Hausa)
daily daa-miena
day dai, pl. da(a)
during (in) the year beni po
early afternoon saliuk
evening junoai
in the lifetime of boka po
in future chum po
last year ngaang beni; diim
month, moon chiik
morning saliuk
never diipo-diipo
next year bali
night yok
now yog-yogla
nowadays daangade
once (past), some days ago, recently daam, daangade
once (future) da-yeng
some days or longer ago daam
some time ago (mostly on the same day) poom
sometimes da-yeng – da-yeng; da-diida;
soon; it will be soon Ku an beni ya. Ku kan beni.
sunlight, hottest time of the day or wentueng
sunrise wen pusika
sunset wen singka
the day after tomorrow vonung
today jinla
tomorrow chum
week bakoai
when? disapo? dinpo?
year beni, pl. bena
yesterday diem

Yesterday I went to the river. Diem n cheng ká beni. Mi diem cheng ka beni.
I will come at 6 o’clock. N ne jam bang buyuebi.
It is now half past two (2.30 a.m.) Ku ka bang buye ale geli.
I have never seen him before. Mi n diem maa nya wa.
On which day will you come? Fi cheen ka dadiina?
My grandfather died 15 years ago. N ko kpiengka kpi (ká) bena pi ale nganu ngai ale taam la.
Take your time. A nye maga-maga. Maga-maga!
Be nye maga-maga.
That was a happy time. Ku daam masa la.
at the end of his speech wa biika kpeglingka; wa biika nuerika
We saw him last year Ti nya wa ká diim.
The aeroplane flew very fast. Aloopeliwa a yiti ka nwuli nwuli.
Walk slowly. A cheng maga-maga.
We shall leave tomorrow. Ti le bas chum.
When did you come? Ka dinpo ate fi jam-u?
They will go to England next year. Ba le cheng Fel-teng bali.
It will be soon. Ku kan beni.
What time is it? Ká bang budiina ale nna?
What is the time (now)? Tammu ka bang bu dina?
Ku paa bang bu dina yog-yogla?
Bangka a nag ká dina?
Ku nag ká bang bu dina?
Ká bang budiina ale nna?
Yogyogde ká bang budiina?
It is ten o’clock. Ka bang pi.
It is exactly ten o’clock. Bu ka bang pi deki.
Day is breaking. Vari vienti.
in the darkness birimu po
I will come at six o’clock. N ne jam (cheen) bang buyuebi.
Do not come before sunrise. Kan jam ale weni n pusi ya.
I shall wait for you. N ne limsi fu.
It rained from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ngmoruk a ni ka saliuk bang pi ale bunyi a ta paai bang buyuebi.
I shall be back soon. N le ngmai ngaang yog-yogla.
It will not last long. Ku kan beni a zuagi.
You arel late. Fi beni (ya).
Wait a little. Limsi maga.
We slept all day. Ti a goa ka daani miena.
The sun is setting. Wenbini a sing.
The sun is near setting. Wenni a balingi. Wenni baling.
The sun is rising. Wenbini a pusi.
It is high noon. Wen-bini (wentueng) bo wen zuk sunsung.
The moon shone. Chiika a nyaksi kama.
The stars are glittering. Chingmarisanga a nyaksi.
morning star vari-chingmarik
It is very dark. Ku chim ka legi yega.
We shall rest in the house. Ti le vuusi ka yeni po junoai.
We shall attend pictures at 8 o’clock. Ti le cheng sinee york bang naaning.
I shall go to bed late. Mi goa ka yok diipo.
I woke up at 7 o’clock in the morning. N yiri ka bang buyuepoi saliuk.
I had a sound sleep. N goa nalim nyini.
I shall go to work at 8 o’clock. Mi le cheng tuima ka bang naaning saliuk.
When do they stop working? Ba basi (yiti) tuima ká disapoo?
I am going to sleep. Ma cheng n goama.
…how many days ago? …ka da nga dina ale jina?
We were sitting (staying) for a long time. Ti kali beni yega-yega.
Ti kali a bene ka yega.

Days of the week
Monday Atani, Tani (as a name also Tenny)
Tuesday Atalata (Talata)
Wednesday Alariba (Lariba)
Thursday Alamisi (Lamisi)
Friday Azuma
Saturday Asibi
Sunday Alaadi, Laadi
before Sunday alege ti Laadi-dai
Yesterday was Monday. Diemwa ka Atani dai.
Today is Tuesday (Monday). Jinla ka Talata (Atani).
Tomorrow will be Wednesday. Chum ka Alariba dai.
He came here last Monday. Wa jam dela daam Tani.
He will come again next Tuesday. Wa le ngman jam dai Atalata.
Were you born on a Wednesday? Ba bia fi ka Alariba dai-ya?
I was born on a market day, that is why my name is Ayaba.
Ba bia mu ka yaba dai, dila nying ate ba te mu yue ain Ayaba.
She comes here every Friday. Wa jam dela ka Azuma dai daa miena.
They do not go to School on Saturday. Ba kan cheng sikuu Asibi dai-ya.
Sunday is a day of rest. Laadi dai ka vusum dai.
Come and see me on Friday. Jam nya mu Azuma dai.
Two weeks ago I was in Sandema. Bakoai ngaye wai ale taam la, mi daam bo ka Sandem.

Months (There are more translations of the English month-names)
January ngoota chiik (month of cold); ben paali chiik
February gunggona chiik (armpit-drums); dokta chiik
March vaala chiik (empty stalks…), chiisa sitawa (= third month)
April sambula chiik (dawadawa blossoms), chiisa sinaansiwa
May borik chiik (month for sowing); chiisa sinu
June kpari chiik (weeding); chiisa siyuebi
July naara chiik (early millet); chiisa siyuepoi
August za paala bogluta chiik (early millet sacrifices); chiisa naaningka
September chaaung chiik (chaaung-weeding); chiisa neugo
October sungkpaata chiik (groundnut); chiisa pieka
November za cheka chiik (millet harvest); chiisa pi ale kanyi
December fanoai chiik (millet sacrifices); burinya chiik (Christmas month)
month chiik
at the beginning of May chiisa sinu piilimka
at the end of December burinya chiika kum
mid-year beni sunsung po
Is the weather hot in March? Tengka tuila chiisa sitawa po?
My son was born in April. N biika, ba bia wa ka chiisa sinaansiwa po.
The festival begins 21st May. Diintanga a pielim ka chiisa sinu 21 dai.
The conference will end on 30th June. Biika tuka a nueri ka chiisa siyuebi 30 dani.
Will you leave on 1st of July? Fi le basi chiisa siyuepoi pielimka dani?
Is the weather cold in August? Tengka yogsa chiisa naningka po?
The new church was opened on the last Sunday in September.
Wendok paalika a lagri ka Laadi dii ale kpeglim chiisa neugo po la.
Will you set out before the end of October?
Fi le nyin pielim alege chiisa pieka nueri-e?
I shall return to Europe in November. N le pilim cheng Fel-teng chiisa pi ale kanyi.
Some trees shed their leaves in December.
Tiisa sie a yueri vaata ka Burinya chiika po.

rainy season ngmoruk wen, yuei,
harmattan season (Nov.-Febr.) fiok wen
season of scarcety (before harvest) kom wen
dry season wen-karik
hot season wulum wen
cold season ngoota wen
hunting season goai pieka wen
season of weeding kpari wen
A new season began. Wen paalik ya nyini.
We shall soon enter the Harmattan season.
Ti boa paai fiok wen. Ku moata fiok wen.
The harmattan is near. Viok boa paai.


cloud chingmari, pl. chingma
darkness birim
flash of lightning ngmoruk-nyagsum
fog, mist koaluk, birim (adv.)
hail, hailstone; ice, snow ngmoruk-tain
rain ngmoruk
rainshower (short and heavy) ngmoruk fiik
sunlight kantueng, wentueng
sunshine wen-biri
thunder nanpang n.
It is raining. Ku a ni. Ngmoruk a ni.
It rained yesterday Ngmoruk a ni diem.
It is drizzling. Ku a mimsi. Ngmoruk a mimsi.
Rain clouds have gathered. Ngmoruk chingmanga tigsi chaab.
Rain is coming (threatening). Ngmòruk a ko. Wenni a ko.
My clothes are wet. Mi garuku yog kama.
It is lightning. Ngmoruku a nyagsi. Ku a nyagsi.
It is thundering. Ngmoruku a kum. Ngmoruku a nag. Ngmoruk a na nanpansa.
The sky is dark (covered with clouds). Wen sobri ya.
The sun is hot. Wen-bini tuila. Wen tuek moak (…has risen).
It is cold. Ngóóta (ale) boro. Ku yog kama.
It is hot. Wulim (sweat) boro.
The weather is clear. Wenni nyaanti.
It is windy. Ku ka viok. Viok ale boro.
It is very chilly. Ngoota boro yeg-yega.
It is a cloudy day. Ka chingmaa dai.
It is misty. Ku nye ka birim.
Will the weather be fine tomorrow? Tengka chum ale nala? Wenni chum ale lagri?
What will the weather be like today? Tengka jinla a nye ka. Wenni jinla ka se?
The weather was cloudy yesterday. Chingma (clouds) diem ale liggi.
Tengka nganti ka me diemwa.
Perhaps it will rain this evening. Dadidai yaase ku le ni junoanide.
I am feeling warm. Wulim ale ta mi.
Let us move into the shade. Te ti forisi a jam yogsum po.
I am feeling cold. Ngueta (ngoota) ale ta mu.

(botanical terms)

trees, shrubs (tiisa, sing. tiib)
(for more plants and their products: see also “Food”)

Acacia albida (= Faidherbia albida) zaaung (var. zaaung
(Table 2) pieluk; zaaung piak)
Acacia farnesiana goari
Acacia macrostachya: its fruit: kantibik, pl. kantibsa
Acacia nilotica (Wattle Gum tree, Egyptian Spinosa) sigirik
Acacia seyal (Thirsty Thorn) mung soblik
Acacia sieberiana (Thorn tree) zaaung moaning
Acacia sp. (Thorn tree) mung-kan-goatik
Acacia sp. (Thorn tree) mung
Acacia sp. (Thorn tree) (var.) mung moanung
Adansonia digitata (Baobab tree) tuik (Table 2)
Afzelia africana? (African Afzelia or Counterwood tree) kpikpalik
Anaracadium occidentale (Cashew or Akee tree) atia
Annona senegalensis (Senegal Annona) waaung-soluk or kawali
Anogeisus leiocarpus siik (Table 2)
Azadirachta indica (Neem or Nim tree) feltiib
Balanites aegyptiaca (Desert Date or Soap Berry tree) kan-gbegi
Bombax costatum (red-flowered Kapok or Silk Cotton tree) vuoom
(Table 2: blossom)
Borassus aethiopicus (Borassus Fan Palm, Palmyra Palm) kpingkparuk (Table 2)
Burkea africana (?) cherik
Butyrospermum parkii (shea tree) cham
fruit: (Table 1) jigsiri, pl. jigsa
Calotropis procera (Sodom Apple) pogluk
Ceiba pentandra (Kapok, Silk Cotton tree) gong (Table 2)
Combretum ghaselense titibi
Combretum hypopilinum (Kaffir Butter Shrub) kampelung
Combretum molle (Kaffir Butter Shrub) va-zagsik
Detarium microcarpum koglok
Diospyros mespilliformis (African Ebony or Swamp Ebony) gaab
Entada sudanica waaung-dueb
Erythrina senegalensis (Senegal Coral Flowers, Parrot tree)
mumulik (Table 2)
Ficus gnapholacarpa (Fig tree) kingkang (Table 2)
Ficus sp. kingkang-peruk
Gardenia aqualla piuk-sunsumi
Gardenia erubescens (?) dambuuring
Grewia carpinifolia yuelik
Gymnosporia senegalensis (?) kpodalik
Jatropha sp. yarik-kingkang
Jatropha curcus, Ricinus communis? (Castol Oil Plant) naayogsum
Jatrophy sp. (?) yarik kinkang
Khaya senegalensis (Dry Zone Mahagony) kok
Lannea barteri? chichibayoluk
Lannea barteri? chichebik
Mangifera indica (Mango tree) (Table 2) manggook
Manilkara multitenerois? beli-cham
Mitragyna inermus taaruk
Moringa olifera (Horse Radish tree) ngmanviak-soblik
Parkia bigobosa, (Dawa-Dawa Tree, West African Locust Bean?) dueb/duob (Table 2)
Piliostigma thonningii (Thonning’s Piliostigma) busum-buoong or (rarer) pobluk
Pseudocedrela kotschyi or Paradaniella oliveri? (Dry Zone Cedar) kpasagi
Pterocarpus erinaceus niak
Sclerocarya birrea ninang
Sterculia cetigera kampuulung
Strophantus hispidus (Arrow Poison tree) yaam, yang
Strychnos spinosa kampoak
Strychnos triclisioides kampoa-diak
Tamarindus indica (Indian Tamarind) pusik (Table 2)
Tectona grandis (Teak tree) tik (Table 2)
Terminalia avicenioides pogi
Vitex cienkowskii or Vitex doniana (Blackberry tree) ngaarib
Vitex doniana (Blackberry tree var.) ngaarib viok, ngaaviok
Waltheria indica chiwiak
Ximenia americana (Wild Olive or Mountain Plum) mimiri


Domestic animals
animal (four-legged), mammal dung
brood animal ja-basing
domestic animals yeri dungsa
flying animal ja-yirim
aquatic animal nyiam jaab
horned animal ja-nyiili
female animal ja-nubi, ja-sari
male animal ja-dari, ja-duok
billy-goat bu-duk
bull lalik, varik
bullock lalik jieng, lalik yiering
calf naa-biik
cat doglie, dogbiak
cock kpa-diak
cow (ox) naab, Pl. niiga
dog biak
donkey boning
duck kuribazuri
fowl kpiak, pl. kpesa
goat buuk
young goat buli
guinea-fowl kpong, pl. kpiina
male guinea-fowl kpong-diak; kpandiak
heifer naa-sari
hen kpa-nubi, kpa-sari
horse wusum
pig deri, duok
pigeon dunduri, tukuruk, nanggbang, kawuruk
sheep posuk
ewe, female sheep pa-nubi, pa-sari
ram, male sheep pa-diak
turkey to’lotolo
Zebu, hunched cow or bull (Table 3) beliba-naab, pl. beliba-niiga

The shepherds are going to the bush. Naapierisanga a cheng ká goai.
They milk the cows. Ba sum niinga.
to keep animals wuugi (wuuri) dungsa
to help with the birth of a calf maamari naamu ate bu biag naabiik
to drive animals into the cattle yard Yiagi niinga a ta jo nankpienka po.
to castrate a bull je lalika

Wild animals
aardvark kpajari, pl. kpaja (Orycteropus afer)
agamen (lizard) bang-duok, pl. bangdoata
ant nandom, pl. nandomsa (syn. pob-soblik); kalekong, pl. kalekongsa or kolongkong, pl. kolongkongsa, driver ant
gusin-guuri or gusun-guuri, pl. gusin-gue black ant; build craters
kingkering, pl. kingkeringsa; small ant, lives also in houses
kpasungkabi, big ant (Table 4)
antelope nabelisebik, pl. nabelisebsa: Bubal or Senegal Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buseaphus, Bubalis major)
kab or kabik: Roan Antelope, Horse Antelope (Hippotragus equinus gambianus) nong, pl. nongta: Reedbuck (Redunca redunca)
nong-beruk, nong-berinta: Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus)
yisik, pl. yisisa: duiker, Red Flanked Duiker (Cepalopheus rufilatus)
nenang, nenang, pl. nenangsa: Redfronted Gazelle (Gazella rufifrons)
sebi(i)k (Wiaga: seuk), Bubal Hartebeest, West Hartebeest, Alcephalus buselaphus,
kung, kungta Bush Buck? Tragelaphus scriptus? smaller than kab
walik, pl. walisa, Oribi (Burebia ourebi)
bat kpinkpiring, pl. kpinkpirinsa: small bat (in rooms)
jinjaanung pieluk, Hammer-headed bat (Hypsignatus monstrosus)
bee siri, pl. sie
bird nuim, pl. nuinsa (general name)
see also: Cattle Egret, (crowned) Crane, Flamingo, Francoline, Heron, Hornbill, Kingfisher, Owl, Pigeon, Vulture, Weaver, Woodpecker
birds of prey kpinkpami, kpinkpama, bird of prey, smaller than hawk (red anus)
wobik, pl. wobsa, Black-shouldered Kite? (Elanus caeruleus); Lizard Buzzard: (Kaupifalco monogrammicus)
kpalung, pl. kpalunta or kpalang, Kite, Hawk, Buzzard
buffalo, bush cow goa(i)-naab (Table 3)
(Syncerus caffer beddingtonii)
butterfly, moth kpalong, pl. kpalongta
caterpillar dunduiri (big and spiny)
nangzuri, pl. nangzue, Caterpillar, Worm Maggot, (green), Grub, Larva, Millipede
cattle egret goai-naaperik, pl. goai-naaperisa (Bubulucus ibis)
chameleon bunoruk, pl. bunorta (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) (Table 3)
civet yongi, pl. yonga, African Civet (Viverra civetta)
cockroach kpayari, pl. kpayaa
crab balangiri, pl. balangie (fresh water)
(Table 4)
crane, crowned kungmaaung (Balearica pavonia)
cricket paang, Gryllotalpa africana,
paan-kalerik, Mole Cricket (Gryllotalp gryllotalpa)
crocodile ngauk, pl. ngabta (Table 3)
elephant yauk, pl. yabta (Loxodonta africana)
fire fly mumulik, pl. mumulisa “glow-worm”, (Melyris abdominalis, Lampyris sp., Lyciola sp.?)
fish jum (general name), fins: jum koba, scales: jum-pagsa
sinsali, “Spiny Fish” Alestes sp.
biili: small dried salt-water fish; not a single species; imported from Southern Ghana, also wrongly called “herring”
jum-soblik or jum-goalik, Mud-fish
(Clarias sp.) (Table 3)
siuk, Wels, Lungfish, Sheat-fish, Catfish
(Clarias sp., Protopterus sp.)
paaring, Galilee Cichlid, called Tilapia by Bulsa (Tilapia galilaea), (Table 3)
buluk Globe- or Puffer Fish (Tetraordontidae sp.) (Table 3)
flamingo nya-musirik
fly nanjung, pl. nanjungsa, ordinary fly
nanjung banguuni, Green Fly
see also Tsetse Fly
francolin via-kpiak, called “partridge”, Bush Fowl, Double Spurred Francolin (Francolinus bicalcartus), (Table 3)
frog sari, pl. sa, big eatable frog (Table 3)
genet pam, pl. pamsa, Bush Genet (Genetta tigrina)
grass cutter siseri, pl. sisie, Otter Shrew? Thrynonomys swinderianus
hare, rabbit suem/suom, pl. suemsa (Lepus zechi)
hedgehog yueng peng, pl. yueng pengsa (Erinaceus albiventris), (Table 3)
heron jum-baliiruk, jum balierik, pl. jum-baliirita,
hippo nyi-nyimi, Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius)
hornbill (bird) apanara, painara, (Lophocerus nasatus, L. semifasciatus)
badunung, Ground-hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus)
hyena, striped piuk, pl. piina (Crocuta crocuta; Hyaena hyaena), wrongly “wolf”
kingfisher (bird) kpaamchirik or ziincherik, pl. ziincherisa, (Halycon sp.)
leopard yuerik, pl. yuerisa (Pantera pardus)
goai-biak (syn?), wrongly “Tiger”
lion gbengli, pl. gbengma (Panthera leo)
lizard bang, pl. bangsa, very common brown lizard, also general name
kasoluk, pl. kasoluta (Eumeces fasciatus?)
locust, grasshopper nanchong, pl. nanchongta
mankarik,, light olive-green, red legs
muin, pl. muna, var. nanchongta-naab
lynx kalikok, pl. kalikoksa, caracal Lynx, African or Red Lynx (Caracal caracal) putong, pitong, pl. putongta (?), (Table 3)
Mantis nandumpuuk, pl. nandumpuusa, sp.
ngmoruk-ma: praying mantis (Mantis religiosa)
millipede nangkong(i) or nangkoain, pl. nangkonga (Table 4)
mongoose juik, (Mungos obscurus), (Table 3)
Monitor lizard wuri, pl. wue (Varanus exanthematicus)
Nile Monitor Lizard yuk (Varanus niloticus), yiuk
monkey fiok, pl. faata, Baboon “Black Monkey” (Papio anubis choras)
beli-waaung, pl. beli-wiima, Black Colobus monkey (Colobus polycomos?)
waaung, smaller (Table 3), Long-tailed Monkey, Red Patas Monkey (Erythrocebus patas) and others
mosquito duing, pl. duinsa
owl viuk, pl. viukta, White-faced Owl (Ptilopsis leucotis)
partridge, francoline yeng, pl. yengsa, Bush Fowl (Francolinus bicalcaratus)
pig duok, bush-pig, Wart Hog (Table 3) (Phacochoerus aethiopicus?)
deri, Wart Hog, Red River Hog? (Phacochoerus africanus afer)
pigeon, dove takurik, Red Billed Dove, syn. (?) nang-gbang, pl. nang-gbangsa, Red-billed Wood Dove (Turtur afer)
nan-gbang-muning, pl. nan-gbang- munisa, Laughing Dove (Stigmatopelia sengalensis)
porcupine sain or saani, pl. saama (Hystrix atherurus, Hystrix cristata)
rat ngoong, several species;
dayiuk, Giant Gat, Bandicoot
(Cricetomys gambianus) (Table 3)
scorpion nuoong, pl. nuenta (Table 4)
shell, mussle kambieng, shell of kambieng: kambieng- pak (Table 4)
shrew tueruk, pl. tueruta or tueta, Musk Shrew, “Mole” (Crocidura sp.)
snail kungkoluk, pl. kungkolta
snake jing-kpang, pl. jinkpangsa, Black Cobra (Naja melanoleuca)
lok, pl. lokta, Spitting Cobra, Black- necked Cobra (Naja nigricollis)
waa-kpiem, pl. waa-kpiema, African or Rock Python, Royal Python (Python sebae, Python regius)
waa-piik, pl. waa-piisa, Viper, Blanding’s Tree Snake (Boiga blandingii)
boosuk, pl. boosuta, Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica), Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)
Night Adder (Causus rhombeatus),
waa-moain, waa-moana, West African House Snake (Boaedon lineatus and virgatus) — Brown Water Snake, Red-lined Snake (Natrix anoscopus)
tuita-waab, pl. tuita-wiiga: Green Snake, Emerald Snake (Gastropyxis smaragdina) — Boomslang (Dispholidus typus)
spider narik (ninarik), pl. narisa, ordinary spider
nandum-puuk, nandum kok, poisonous spider, Tarantula, bird spider (Theraphosidae), (Table 4)
dundum-kok, poisonous spider (Table 4)
squirrel keri, pl. kie (Xerus erythropus)
termite mieri (miedi, miadi), pl. mie; Termite, White Ant, var. mieri pieluk;
mieri moanung
wuri, pl. wie; flying termite, eaten by Bulsa in the form of balls
kpatuok, pl. kpatoaata; termite, clay termite hill of this txype, var. kpatuok- yuila, kpatuok sobluk
togi, pl. toga, termite, termite-hill, togi-diak and togi nübi
tick ngmanjek or banjek, pl. banjeksa
toad buntori, pl. buntoa
tortoise, turtle kpakuri, pl. kpakue, small Tortoise
liiruk, similar to kpakuri
tsetse fly piok, pl. paata (Glossina sp.)
vulture duing, pl. duinsa, Common or Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)
wasp zirini, pl. zirima
vusungvuung, potter Wasp, Mason Wasp (Monobia quadridens?)
weaver (bird) chanka-mook, pl. chanka-moota, Red- headed Weaver (Malimbus rubricollis)
chanka mook nübi: Common Drongo
jinjeri Village Weaver (Plesiositagra cucullatus)
chagsi-muning, weaver? red bird
woodpecker (grey) dachierik, pl. dachierisa (Mespicos goertae)
worm nangzuri, pl. nangzue worm-like animal (including caterpillar, excluding small parasitic worms in the human body)
nyiina (pl.), small parasitic worms in human or animal body
mimeluk, pl. mimelta or mimeluta: big Earth Worm, one foot long (Table 4)

This snake is poisonous. Waamude dom a ko (bites and kills). This drug kills cockroaches. Tiimude a ko kpayaa kama.
There are lions in our zoo. Gbengma bo ta dungsa doku (cage) po.
I have never seen a python. Man diem nya waab-kpieng (…kpiemoa).
He was bitten (stung) by a scorpion. Nuong ale dom wa.
The hunter had not killed a wild animal. Yaaloawa an nya goai-dung a ko ya.


traditional culture; history korum
festival (secular), big meeting tigi
resthouse, guesthouse nichaanoa yeri
stranger, tourist nichaanoa
taboo, sth. forbidden kisuk

A tourist (stranger) comes into the village. Nichaanoa jam tengka (yienga) po.
The traveller is astonished. Nyiendoawa a ba kama.
He is very inquisitive. Wa yaali ain wa seb jaab (wie) miena. Wa bega a zuek.
He asks many questions. Wa beg wie yeg-yega.
I am looking for my hotel. N gisi ka n hotelwa.
I stay at Star Hotel. N bo ka Star Hotelwa.
I live in Mr Ayomo’s house. N bo ka Mr Ayomo yeni po.
It is near the market. Di moata ka yabanga.
There are many farms at Wiesi. Talta piisi a bo Wiesa kama.
Please, show me the way to Ateng’s guuk.
Maa saalim, sag mu Ateng guuku. Or: … dag Ateng guuku sag mu.
Can you call the house-owner for me? Ni le wi yeni-nyonowa ate mu?
May I watch them sacrificing to Atiim’s wen?
Maa yaali ain n maa nya ba daakaab Atiim weni.
From which sections may men marry girls (wives)?
Nurba a faa ka do-kuna lieba (nipooba)?
I want to do some work about the Bulsa country.
Maa yaali ain n tom tuima Bulsa tengka po.
The work concerns ancestor worship.
Tuimanga a va ka ba ngaasa (anc.) ale ba nyeela (deeds) ale ba laa puusi (address) wena dii.
I also saw sacrifices. Maa nya ka bogluta kaabka me.
I have finished the work. N nue tuimanga.
Which tree is a tanggbain? Tí-bùnà ale tanggbani?
What kind of shrine…? Ka boan jaab bogta?
What is this called? Ku yue le boa? -Bogta.
What type of bogta is it? Ka boan jaab bogta?
The tourist is living with us. Nichaanoawa Wa bo ale ti.
He sees how we do it (studies our customs) Wa nya ti na nye diila.
He wants to see our ways of life. Wa yaali wa nya ta me wienga.
What is the meaning of the proverbs? Wa-magsimanga kie ale boa?
I do not understand the proverb.
Mi an baga wa-magsini de kiri a ming.


What materials and tools do you use for carving (for making pots)?
Ka boan nganta ate fi pa a piesi (for carving) (a me: for pottery)
Are there any taboos in this activity? Kisita bo tuinide po?
How much time do you need for this work? Fi pa tam dina a tom tuinide?
Can you finish it today? Fi bag a nue jinlaa?
I will come tomorrow to collect the thing. Mi le jam chum tuesi jaamu.
I will take it to Germany. Mi le ta cheng felteng.
How many chibsa are in your room? Ká chibsa si dina ale bo doku po?
What type of clay-vessel is this? Ka boan jaab yak somaoning ale nna?
What do you use a chari for? Ni pa chari a nye se?
May I see (look into) your kitchen? N baga nya fi dakini po.
Can you sell this bangle to me? Fi baga pa bangka da te mu?
Describe how you make a busik-(basket). Magsi (tell) fi ale nye dii á yog busik la.

Pottery, ceramics
ash filter kaam-soluk
bowl, open and very big chandong
bowl for eating soup/sauce cheng (Table 5)
bowl, open and big (many functions) chari (Table 5)
ceramic cooking pot for sauce/soup bimbili (Table 5)
ceramic cooking pot for staple food samoaning (Table 5)
grave lid (a chari bowl) boosuk
knobbed vessel (Table 5) puuk, ma-bage
lidded vessel (e.g. for sheabutter) (Table 5) kpaam-kabook
oil-lamp zeung
pan for frying millet cakes (Table 5) maasa-cheng
plate for eating solid food kpalabik (Table 5)
potsherd takabi
smoking vessel (perforated) ngoadi (Table 5)
smoking pipe tacheng (Table 5)
trough for fowls’ drinking water kpachari (Table 5)
water container liik (Table 5)

Basketry, mats, fibres etc.
basket (open) busik (Table 6), kpanjok (also with lid), yalung
basket with lid yuok
basket for transporting chickens yisong
basketry sieve chagsik (Table 6)
calabash net zaaning (Table 6)
carrying pad tulik (Table 6)
door-mat tuok (Table 6)
fan (for fire) kafassung (Table 6)
fish trap (Table 6) ngabik; ngma-barim
grass broom (brush), (Table 6) sie (pl.), sing. siri
lid (roof) of a grain-store sampowuuk
mat made of split millet stalks kpasik, kpesing
net for fishing neeb (big), ngmiak (small)
plunge basket sogi
rope Bulsa miik (plaited), Yarisa miik (buoom)
sleeping mat tiak (Table 6)
sling visung, vising
storing basket yikoari
straw hat zu-juok, dial. zu-yuok
wristlet made of straw jek

Blacksmith and iron
anvil niari/ nieri (Table 7)
arrow head pein, pl. piema
awl yueng
axe, adze liak
bangle bang, bang-gbing (with knots, bang ngmieni (twisted), (Table 7)
bellows zukta, zuk-bisa (Table 7)
charcoal kaala
chisel wok
forge, smith’s hearth chuok, chuok-dok
(Table 7)
hammer sengli (see Table 7: tools)
handcuffs ni-kpeesa
hoe kui (Table 7)
iron for striking fire chesik
knife gebik
needle garpein
razor poning
sickle goatik
spear (whole or head) gbaluk
spoon (iron) duisuk
tongs miiga (see Table 7: tools)
tweezers pamauk

Brass Objects
star amulet nanggook
brass armlet bang
brass leglet nakogla,
chakesi (Table 7)
bell longi
fingerring ni-felin (Table 7)

stone buntain, tintain, tain
stone for smoothing walls nyumsik
grinding stone nimbiik, niri/nuri
marble upper-arm ring pung (Table 7)

leather gbain
leather-straw hat Moasa zu-juok, zu-yuok gobinta
leather-worker gbang-zabu
amulet sabi, pl. saba
apron (goat’s skin) tangkalung
bag yui
bangle poali
quiver (arm) namarik
waist ring chiak-poli, cha-poali

calabash, big gong, kampiak
calabash helmet zuk-chin
calabash bowl (e.g. for drinking) chin
calabash bowl (for ladling) bierik, koorik
calabash sieve yeling
calabash sherd chin-chiak
calabash used as a hat katiak
calabash with knobs chin-kuriba
calabash with a lid kampiak
bottle-calabash leelik, leng

cudgel doaguri, doaviini
crotch, three-forked stick chagsi
handle (e.g. of hoe or axe) kpaarung, kpaan-zain, kpaan-tuilik
mallet, wooden hammer guri
mortar tuik, tu-kuring
pestle tandung (long)
buluk (small)
planting stick sauk
plastering stick (bat) nueri
quiver, long lok
sandal nakari, nuensiri
stepping stick, ladder tiili
stirring stick kpandong
stool zu-kpaglik
walking stick (cane) taduk-chagsiri
yoke (for bullocks) niiga-kpari-duok

Cloth and clothes
blouse for women ga-liik, smiis (loanword)
cap zu-tok (Table 8)
cover cloth (women) ga-tiak
embroidery wie
garment in Ashanti way ga-tiak
headgear zuk giiroa; zuk bantabik; zutok (Table 8)
headscarf (women) bobik
sandal nakarik, nuensiri
skirt (women) sliit (lw.)
sleeves nisa
smock, long white taguuri (Table 8)
smock, short garuk-geli (Table 8)
smock sp. zag-viung (Table 8)
smock with amulets saba-garuk (Table 8)
triangle cloth (white) golung (Table 8)
trousers kurik-koluk

Weapons, traps and fishing gears
arrow pein
birds trap (woven) nuinsa baruk
bow tom
cudgel dalari, doaguruk, doaviini
fishing net neeb (big), ngmiak (smaller)
fishing rod goatik
leather bangle for protection of the wrist poali (Table 8)
loop trap, snare trap mi-baring
plunge basket sogi
quiver (long) lok (Table 8)
quiver for upper arm namarik (Table 8)
rifle, gun kambon-duok
sling, slingshot vising, visung
spear gbaluk
sword geb-sierik
trap kuta-baruk
war axe kpaani
war helmet zu-chiak (Table 8)

Musical instruments
armpit-drum, hourglass-drum (Table 9) gunggong
bell longi
basketry rattle (Table 9) san-yaali (for men), sinsan-guli (for women)
calabash drum (Table 9) gori, pl. goa or goe
calabash-rattle (Table 9) kayak, pl. kayaksa
castanet, iron idiophone chang
clarinet paampuung
cylindrical drum (Table 9) ginggaung
frame rattle suena
war-drum (Table 9) dunduning
talking drums sampana
double bell (Table 9) sinleng or daling-kengkeng
flute (Table 9) yuik/wiik; yu-poliok; tagalik
horn trumpet (transverse) (Table 9) namuning, pl. namunsa; kantain
Jew’s Harp kafirrfirr
lute, guitar kpanung
rattle sinyaari, sinsanguli
rod rattle kayaksa
zither, straw harp baganing
musical bow kpanung
drummer ginggaung nagroa


to take a photo pa footo
Snap! Geb!
Take a photo of me. Pa mu footo.
to develop (photos) sugri (footo)
to enlarge (a photo) zuagi footo
Taking photos at noon is not good. Kantueng footoba paka an nala.
The faces get too dark by the (high) sun.
Wentuengka a nye ate ni nindaasanga a nye nna birrim.
Taking photos is better in the evening. Junoai footo a la magsi.










1 pielim, open space in front of the compound
2 kusung, shelter and reception place for guests
3 (da)laarik, rafter
4 zangi, forked post or pole
5 nampali, dampali, log used as a bench
6 garuk, smock, here: strip of cloth
7 tampoi, rubbish heap
8 kusung dok, kusung viok, round kusung with closed walls; meeting room
9 silik, round hole in a ceiling (e.g. in dayiik)
10 (wen-) bogluk, ancestral shrine
11 tintankori, round stone (seat of the wen)
12 bulik, well
13 boosuk (chari), grave (lid)
14 nansiung, main entrance
15 zamon-guri, earthen jamb at the entrance
16 zamong-gun-vorib (voain), hole in a zamon-guri
17a takunsa, vertical logs for closing entrance gate
17b taperisa, horizontal logs for closing gate
18 ye-maasiroa (teng), “watchman”, earth shrine
19 parik, wall (not carrying a roof)
20 bukuri, kpesa bui, hen-house, chicken-coop
21 zong, dok pilung, clay pen for sheep and goats
22 mi(m)pili, sloping, straw-covered roof
23 nangkpieng, cattle yard
24 bui, grain store, granary, barn
25 sampowuuk, lid (roof) of granary
26 bu-tana (sing. bu-tain), foundation stones of barn
27 (bunoruk) jadok, shrine of a bush spirit (e.g. of a chameleon)
28 nankpieng tana, stones in the cattle yard
29 dalaarik, hen roost
30 dok basung, goom dok, sleeping room
31 takparuk, takoruk, square window
32 gbong, flat roof, platform roof
33 nawari, banister or edge of a platform roof
34 nying-soka-dok, bathroom
35 posuk, (Wiaga: separate room for sleeping)
36 gbanlong, roofless kitchen
37 kingka (sing. kingkari), millet stalk(s)
38 dakiri (gbanlong dok pilung), (Wiaga and Southern Bulsa: room (hut) with a straw roof
39 dok noai, entrance to a room (hut), doorway
40 bovook, roof finial (e.g. round potsherd)
41 kingkangi, inner wall of a compound
42 nanzuk, grinding room
43 tiili, wooden step ladder
44 dabiak, inner couryard
45 dabiak sunsung, centre of dabiak (often marked by a mosaic of potsherds)
46 kungkung, pimpetung, embankment of a dok for sitting and for shrines
47 tintueta wen-bogluk, personal wen-shrine
48 dayiik, round room adjacent to dalong
49 dalong, kpilima dok, round room with sacred objects and shrines
50 kungkoari, low wall at the bottom of an entrance to a dok (esp. dalong)
51 ta-pili, rolled-up sleeping mat (tiak)
52 kpaga(a)ning, kpaga(a)nik, small wall dividing residential yards
53 voong, small outlet or hole for draining
55 niak, small hole in the enclosing wall, entrance for ancestors
56 ganik, buttress
57 va-duoku jigi, “entrance” to a flat room (gap in banister)
58 voain, pl. voana


Bureau of Ghana Languages
19672 Language Guide (Kasem Edition), Accra (48 pp.)

Clarke, John
1848 Specimens of Dialects. Short Vocabularies of Languages and Notes of Countries and Customs of Africa, Berwick-upon-Tweed: Daniel Cameron.
(first written source about Buli words? 104 pp.)

Koelle, Sigismund Wilhelm
1854 Polyglotta Africana, London (Reprint Graz 1963).

Kröger, Franz
1992 Buli-English Dictionary. With an Introduction into Buli Grammar and an Index English-Buli. Lit Verlag Münster and Hamburg (572 pp.).
2001a Materielle Kultur und traditionelles Handwerk bei den Bulsa (Nordghana). 2 vol., Münster and Hamburg: Lit Verlag.
2002b Ky or ch? That’s the Question. Discourse on Buli Orthography. Buluk – Journal of Bulsa Culture and History. no. 2: 35. www.buluk.de/new
2017 Loanwords and Foreign Words in Buli. BULUK Journal of Bulsa Culture and Society, no 10: 35.

Mélançon, L. and A. Prost
1972 Dictionnaire Buli – Français, Revu et présenté par A. Prost, Publications du Département de Linguistique Générale et de Langue Négro-Africaines de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de l’Université Dakar, no. 20.

Paton, Colin F. and Alan Byers
n.d. Word-Lists Buli-English and English-Buli, compiled by the Reverends Paton and Byers.

Rattray, R.S.,
1932 The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland, 2 vols., Oxford.
(vol. I, chapters I-IV on languages, among them “Bulea”; extensive word-list on pp. 64-111; vol. II, chapter XLII on “The Builsa”, p. 398-403).

Schott, Rüdiger
1970 Aus Leben und Dichtung eines westafrikanischen Bauernvolkes. Ergebnisse völkerkundlicher Forschungen bei den Bulsa in Nord-Ghana 1966/67, Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Geisteswissenschaften, 163, Köln and Opladen.
(various songs, poems and stories in Buli and German)


The orthography used in this guide is largely based on the currently-used common Buli spelling. This also means that phonetic details such as the openness of o, e, i, and the phonetic fronting of u [ɥ] have not found any expression here in the spelling.
The pronunciation of the vowels is similar to that of many European languages (for example as in Italian, Spanish and German) but not always like that in English. Long vowels are marked by reduplication in spelling (a: > aa).
a [a] Buli ga (to go) aa [a:] maari (to help)
e [e, ɛ] metik (thin) ee or ie [e:, ie:, je:] meena, miena (all )
i [i, ɩ] poli (to think) ii [i:] biik (child)
o [o, ɔ] pok (woman) oo [o:, ɔ:] boosuk (grave)
u [u, ɥ] zuk (head) uu [u:] buuk (goat)
To a large degree the orthography of consonants corresponds to most spellings in European and African languages. In some it follows the English way of writing:
ch [ʧ] chiik (moon)
j [ʤ] jinla (today)
z [z] ziim (blood)
w [w] pronounced as a semi-vowel as in English, waab (snake)
y [j] pronounced as a semi-vowel (as in English), yaba (market)
ng [ŋ] ngobi (to chew)
ngm [ŋm] ngmana (ochro); this sound is sometimes spelled mw
The velar-labial consonants [kp, gb], as in kpiak (fowl) and gbang (book), should be pronounced as one sound.
Although the Buli orthography has apparently found its standard form, there are still some obsolete ways of spelling: gy [ʤ] instead of j; ky [ʧ] instead of ch and mw [ŋm] instead of ngm.
There are three tone levels and many tonal glides in Buli (which are not marked in the Guide):
high level, marked by ´ or [h], bíík [h], child
middle level, unmarked or [m], nari [m m], to wash; all verbs in their infinitive form
low level, marked by ` or [l], dòk [l], room, hut
Although every word in its basic, isolated form has its particular tone pattern, in a syntactic scheme many deviations from this form occur, and the functions of tone are numerous.


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