Useful phrases in Vai

A collection of useful phrases in Vai (ꕙꔤ), a Mande language spoken in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

Key to abbreviations: sg = singular (said to one person), pl = plural (said to more than one person).

Phrase ꕙꔤ (Vai)
Welcome ꔻꔤꕯꕊ ꘈ! (siinaã mɛ!) - sg
ꕴ ꔻꔤꕯꕊ ꘈ! (wo siinaã mɛ!) -pl
Hello (General greeting) ꘋꕯ ꖬꕎ ꘃꗡ ꗪ ꔤ ꕮ (ŋna suwa kɛɛ ɓɛ i ma) - sg
ꘋꕯ ꖬꕎ ꘃꗡ ꗪ ꕴ ꕮ (ŋna suwa kɛɛ ɓɛ wo ma) - pl
Hello (on phone) ꗥꖃꕱ (hɛ̃loo)
How are you? ꔤ ꕺꖃ ꗏ? (i kpolo lɔ?) - sg
ꕴ ꕺꖃ ꗏ? (wo kpolo lɔ?) - pl
Reply to 'How are you?' ꕪꔖ ꔇꔀ ꕪꘋꕓ ꕮꔧ! (kase ɓee kãmɓa mahĩ!) - grace be to God
ꘋ ꕺꖃ ꗏ ꔇꔀ ꗪꗡꕯ (ŋ kpolo lɔ ɓee ɓɛɛna!) - I'm not feeling well
ꘋ ꕺꖃ ꗏ ꕧꕌꕩꕌꔒ ꖷ! (ŋ kpolo lɔ jahayahale mu!) - I'm sick
Long time no see ꕉ ꗱ ꕧꘋ! (a fɛ jã!)
ꕉ ꕆꘊ! (a miɲɛ!)
What's your name? ꔤ ꗋꖺꗡ? (i tɔɔɛ?)
- What’s your first name?
ꕩ ꔽꔤ ꗋꖺꗡ? (ya zii tɔɔɛ?)
- What’s your surname?
My name is ... ꘋ ꗋꘋ ... (ŋ tɔŋ)
- My first name is ...
ꘋꕯ ꔽꔤ ꗋꖺꗡ ꗋꘋ ... ( ŋna zii tɔɔɛ tɔŋ)
- My surname is ...
Where are you from? ꔤ ꗃꕎ ꕆꕰ? (i ɓɔwa miɲa?) - sg
ꕴ ꗃꕎ ꕆꕰ? (wo ɓɔwa miɲa?) - pl
I'm from ... ꘋ ꗃꕎ ... (ŋ ɓɔwa ...) - sg
ꖷ ꗃꕎ ... (mu ɓɔwa ..) - pl
Pleased to meet you ꘋ ꕘꕞ ꕢꔒ ꖷ ꘃꖷ ꖷꕊ ꗠꖻ ꔛ!
(ŋ fala sale mu kɛmu muã ɲɔɔ̃ je!)
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
ꕩ ꖴꘉ (ya kunɛ) - sg
ꕴꕎ ꖴꘉ (wowa kunɛ) - pl
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
ꔤ ꗪ ꖸ? (i ɓɛ nu?) - sg
ꕴ ꗪ ꖸ? (wo ɓɛ nu?) - pl
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
ꔤ ꗪ ꖸ? (i ɓɛ nu?) - sg
ꕴ ꗪ ꖸ? (wo ɓɛ nu?) - pl
Good night ꔤ ꘀꔤꕮ! (i jɛima!) - sg
ꕴ ꘀꔤꕮ! (wo jɛima!) - pl
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
ꘀꗡ ꕮ! (jɛɛ ma!)
Good luck! ꕪꘋꕓ ꘂꔤ ꕧꕌ ꕪ! (kaŋmɓa yɛi jaha ka!) - sg
ꕪꘋꕓꔤ ꕴ ꕧꕌ ꕪ! (kaŋmɓai wo jaha ka!) - pl
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
ꗕꗕ! (zɔzɔ!)
ꕺꖃ ꗏ ꔳꘂ! (kpolo lɔ tiyɛ!)
Have a nice day ꕪꘋꕓꔤ ꔎꔒ ꗪꗡꕯ ꕢ ꔤ ꔝ!
(kaŋmɓai tele ɓɛɛna sa i ye!) - sg
ꕪꘋꕓꔤ ꔎꔒ ꗪꗡꕯ ꕴ ꔝ!
(kaŋmɓai tele ɓɛɛna wo ye!) - pl
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
ꗏꘋ ꔌꘋꗣꔧ ꕢ ꔤ ꕘꕞ ꕮ ꕘꕊ!
(lɔŋ feŋŋɛ̃hĩ sa i fala ma faã!) - sg
ꗏꘋ ꔌꘋꗣꔧ ꕢ ꕴ ꕘꕞ ꕮ ꕘꕊ!
(lɔŋ feŋŋɛ̃hĩ sa wo fala ma faã!) - pl
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
ꕪꘋꕓ ꘂꔤ ꖴꕮ ꗱꗡ!
(kaŋmɓa yɛi kuma fɛɛ!) - sg
ꕪꘋꕓꔤ ꕴ ꖴꕮ ꗱꗡ!
(kaŋmɓai wo kuma fɛɛ!) - pl
Yes ꗡꗥ! (ɛhɛ̃!)
No ꔉꔒ! (kpele!)
Maybe ꗓꗃꖺ ꕴꔤ! (sɔɓɔɔ woi!)
I don't know ꘋ ꕮ ꕉ ꗏ ꗓ! (ŋ ma a lɔ sɔ!)
Do you understand? ꕩꕌ ꕧ ꔛ? (yaha ja je?) - sg
ꕴꕎꕌ ꕧ ꔛ? (wowaha ja je?) - pl
I understand ꘋꕯꕊ ꕧ ꔛ! (ŋnaã ja je)
I don't understand ꘋ ꕮ ꕉ ꕧ ꔛ (ŋ ma a ja je)
Please speak more slowly ꖏꕎꔀ ꔒꘋ ꕚꕌꕮꕊ (kowae leŋ tahamaã)
Please say that again ꗛꘉꗢ, ꔤ ꗉ ꗏ ꗏꗒ (kɔnɛɛ̃, i fɔ lɔ lɔnɗɔ) - sg
ꗛꘉꗢ, ꘀꗡ ꗏ ꖸ (kɔnɛɛ̃, jɛɛ lɔ nu) - pl
Please write it down ꗛꘉꗢ, ꔤ ꘊꔧ ꕺꖃ ꕮ (kɔnɛɛ̃, i ɲɛhĩ kpolo ma)
Do you speak English? ꔤ ꕶꕱ ꖨꖕꕴꕱꔀ ꗉ ꕎ ꘃ? (i poo luuwooe fɔ wa kɛ?)
Do you speak Vai? ꔤ ꕙꔤ ꖨꖕꕴꕱꔀ ꗉ ꕎ ꘃ? (i vai luuwooe fɔ wa kɛ?)
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
ꗡꗥ, ꕉ ꔒꘋ (ɛhɛ̃, a leŋ)
Do you speak a language
other than
Vai?
ꔤ ꖨꖕꕴꕱ ꕮꔕ ꗉ ꕉꔤ ꗉꖺ ꕙꔤ ꖨꖕꕴꕱꔀ ꕮ?
(i luuwoo manɗe fɔ ai fɔɔ vai luuwooe ma?)
Speak to me in Vai ꖏꕎꔀ ꘋ ꕒꕌ ꕙꔤ ꖨꖕꕴꕱꔀ ꗏ
(kowae ŋ ɓaha vai luuwooe lɔ)
How do you say ... in Vai? ꗞ ꕩꕌ ꗉ ꕪꕮ ꕙꔤ ꖨꖕꕴꕱꔀ ꗏ ...?
(mɔ yaha fɔ kama vai luuwooe lɔ ...?)
Excuse me ꕪ ꕙꔤ! (ka vai!)
How much is this? ꕪꕮ ꖷ ꕉ ꘃ ꕞ? (kama mu a kɛ la?)
Sorry ꕌꘃ ꕿ! (hakɛ to!)
Please ꗛꘉꗢ (kɔnɛɛ̃)
Thank you ꔤ ꕒꔤꕪ (i ɓaika) - sg
ꕴ ꕒꔤꕪ (wo ɓaika) - pl
Reply to thank you ꔤ ꗨꗡ ꔤ ꕒꔤ ꕪ (i pɛɛ i ɓai ka) - sg
ꕴ ꗨꗡ ꕴ ꕒꔤ ꕪ (wo pɛɛ wo ɓai ka) - pl
Where's the toilet / bathroom? ꗋꖺꔒꔀ ꗪ ꕆꕰ? (tɔɔlee ɓɛ miɲa?)
ꖏ ꖴꖕꘂ ꗪ ꕆꕰ? (ko kuuyɛ ɓɛ miɲa?)
This gentleman will pay for everything ꕪꔤ ꕘꕞ ꕮ ꕈꕰꔒ ꘈꗢ ꕎꔤ ꕉ ꔰ ꕐꕌꕎ ꘃꕩ.
(kai fala ma ɲiɲale mɛɛ̃ wai a gbi pahawa kɛya.)
This lady will pay for everything ꖷꖬ ꕘꕞ ꕮ ꕈꕰꔒ ꘈꗢ ꕎꔤ ꕉ ꔰ ꕐꕌꕎ ꘃꕩ.
(musu fala ma ɲiɲale mɛɛ̃ wai a gbi pahawa kɛya)
Would you like to dance with me? ꔤ ꕴꕱꕎ ꔤ ꗵꘋꔻ ꘃ ꘋꕡ?
(i woowa i dɛŋsi kɛ ŋnɗa?)
Do you come here often? ꔤ ꕯ ꕎ ꘃ ꕇꘊ ꗨꗡꗨꗡ? (i na wa kɛ niɲɛ pɛɛpɛɛ?)
I miss you ꕩ ꖏ ꔞꔀ ꕞ ꘋ ꕮ ꕎ ꘃ (ya ko kee la ŋ ma wa kɛ)
I love you ꘋꕯ ꔤ ꔷꕩ (ŋna i liya) - sg
ꘋꕯ ꕴ ꔷꕩ (ŋna wo liya) - pl
Get well soon ꕺꖃ ꗏ ꔳꘂꔤ ꕯ ꕢ ꕩ ꖏꕎ ꕘꕊ!
(kpolo lɔ tiyɛi na sa ya kowa faã!)
Go away! ꔇꔀ ꕇꘊ ꕮ! (ɓee niɲɛ ma!)
Leave me alone! ꔤ ꕸꖃ ꕪ ꘋꕡ! (i ɓolo ka ŋnɗa!) - sg
ꕴ ꕸꖃ ꕪ ꘋꕡ! (wo ɓolo ka ŋnɗa!) - pl
Help! ꕴ ꕯ ꘋꔜ! (wo na ŋnje!)
Fire!
Stop! ꖏꖃ! (kolo!) - stop doing
ꗓ! (sɔ) - stop moving
Call the police! ꕶꔤꔻꘂ ꖸ ꔞꔀ! (poisiyɛ nu kee!)
Christmas greetings ꔞꔻꕮꔻ ꖬꕎ ꘃ
(kesimasi suwa kɛ)
New Year greetings ꕢꘋ ꕯꕮ ꖬꕎ ꘃ
(saŋ nama suwa kɛ)
Easter greetings
Birthday greetings ꕴꖃ ꔎꔒ ꖬꕎ ꘃ (wolo tele suwa kɛ)
Congratulations! ꔤ ꗻꗡ (i sɛɛ) - sg
ꕴ ꗻꗡ (wo sɛɛ) - pl
One language is never enough ꖨꖕꕴꕱ ꗅ ꗏꗒ ꔇꔀ ꖴꘋ ꕇ ꕗ
(luuwoo kpɔ lɔnɗɔ ɓee kuŋ ni gba)
My hovercraft is full of eels ꕚ ꕪꕊ ꕔꔤ ꗪ ꘋꕡ (ta kaã kpai ɓɛ ŋnɗa)

Phrases provided by Tombekai V. Sherman and Charles Riley

Transliterations in the ALA-LC transliteration system from
https://www.translitteration.com/transliteration/en/vai/ala-lc/

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

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Phrases in Mande languages

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