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Bambara (Bamanankan / ߓߊߡߊߣߊߒߞߊߣ)

Spoken in

Mali , Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast

and partly in Gambia , Guinea , Mauritania , Senegal

speaker 2.8 million


  • Bambara
Official status
Other official status in MaliMali Mali ( lingua franca )
Recognized minority /
regional language in
Burkina FasoBurkina Faso Burkina Faso
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Bambara , also known as Bamanankan , is a Mande language spoken in Mali in West Africa . Together with Dioula and Malinke, it belongs to the dialect continuum (dialects of the same language that merge into one another) of the Manding , which is understood and spoken to varying degrees by around 30 million people in ten West African countries. The Dioula of the Ivory Coast is a simplified Bambara influenced by the Malinke, the Dioula of Burkina Faso almost congruent with the Bambara.

With the Bambara as the central variant of the Manding one can communicate almost everywhere in Mali, in most regions of Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast as well as in the eastern half of Guinea and Senegal .

Either the Latin-based Africa alphabet or the company's own N'Ko script are used as script . The language code is bmor bam(according to ISO 639 ).

key vocabulary

Some basic vocabulary words:

Word meaning Bambara Word meaning Bambara
I no, n big bon
you e, i small dɔgɔ, fitinin
he she it a eat dumu / dun
we on drink min
her aw / a ' sleep sunɔgɔ
she ( plural ) u, olu to die sa, fatu
who? jn go taga / taa
What? mun come n / A
human mɔgɔ / maa give di
man to take hɔn, ta
woman muso speak kuma, fɔ
head kun love canoe
eye ɲɛ one kelen
ear tulo / kulo two fila
nose now three saba
mouth there four naani
tooth ɲin five duuru
tongue nɛn six wɔrɔ
heart dusu seven wolonfila / wolonwula
hand bolo, tɛgɛ eight seegin
foot sen nine could
water ji ten tan
Fire ta twenty mugan
Sun tile hundred kɛmɛ
moon kalo thousand ba, waa


  • Charles Bailleul: Dictionnaire français-Bambara. Editions Donniya, Bamako 1996.

Bailleul Ch. Dictionnaire Français-Bambara. 3e édition. Bamako: Donniya, 2007.

  • Charles Bird et al. Mamadou Kanté: Bambara-English, English-Bambara Student Lexicon . Indiana University Linguistics Club, Bloomington 1977.
  • Siegmund Brauner: Textbook of Bambara . Verlag Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1974.
  • Dumestre Gérard. Grammaire fondamentale du bambara. Paris: Karthala, 2003.
  • Dumestre, Gerard. Dictionnaire bambara-français suivi d'un index abrégé français-bambara. Paris: Karthala, 2011.
  • Erwin Ebermann: Small dictionary of the Bambara language: German-Bambara, Bambara-German , Vienna: Afropub. 1986.
  • Maurice Houis: Presentation grammaticale élémentaire du bambara . Ouagadougou 1972.
  • Raimund Kastenholz: Basic course in Bambara (Manding) with texts . 2nd edition Köppe, Cologne 1998.
  • Demba Konaré: Je parle bien bamanan . Jamana, Bamako 1998.
  • Mohamed Touré u. Melanie Leucht: Bambara reading book. Original texts with German and French translation . Köppe, Cologne 1996.
  • Vydrine, Valentin. Manding-English Dictionary (Maninka, Bamana). Vol. 1. St. Petersburg: Dimitry Bulanin Publishing House, 1999.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Online encyclopedia English Bambara