Dagbani Basics

CWS’ winter fellows will soon be preparing for an awesome three weeks in Northern Ghana! To help ease them into the swing of things (and to jog the memories of past CWS Tamale adventurers) Mark and I put together a little introduction to Dagbani. Dagbani is the language spoken by the Dagomba people who are native to the area where we work. Though many people in town (and a few in the villages) speak some English, trying to communicate with people in the language they feel most comfortable with is always appreciated. Some words can be tongue-tiers, but give them your best shot! And when in doubt, say “Naaaa”.

– Kathryn

Good morning. Despa
Response. Naa

Did you sleep well? A gbihira?
Yes, I slept well. Gom be ni

How is your family? A yinnim be wula?
They are fine. Alaafee.

Mark, one of CWS' office gatemen, and his family

What is your name? A yuli?
My name is Mark. N yuli Mark

How is your farm, Mark? A puu be wula Mark?
My farm is fine. Naa/N puu be vienyela

What are you growing on your farm? Bo ka a kora?
I am growing rice. N kori la shinkaafa.

Mark is growing rice, or "shinkaafa", on his farm. It is just down the street from our office!

Thank you Mark! Taa paya Mark!
Sleep well Kathryn! Naawuni ni ti ti beyow Kathryn.

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