Kasem Lessons

De N Lei!

(That's Kasem for Welcome!)


Kasem is the language of the Kassena, an ethnic group located in the Upper East Region of Ghana and the Southern Central Section of Burkina Faso which numbers 200,000 people. It is assigned to the Grusi sub-division of the Gur (Voltaic) language group within the Niger-Congo language family. If you're interested, the following page will give you an ethnographic description of Kasem.

Here are three easy lessons in Kasem. Soon I'll try to have more lessons available along with a vocabulary list. Note: that I have tried my best to estimate the Kasem alphabet with the English character set. One of these days I'll rig up the microphone and record some of these lessons into AU files.


Lesson One - Greetings and Leave Taking

Person #1: De N zezenga. (Good Morning)
Person #2: De N de zezenga. (Good morning to you.)

Person #1: Ko ye te mo? (How is it?)
Person #2: Ko gara. (It's well/better.)

Person #1: De maa dannè danne. (Then we get to know our conditions.)
Person #2: De maa bwei de ni. (Then we have known through asking.)

Person #1: Tor, a maa viira. (OK, I'm going.)
Person #2: Tor, ko ke fee naa. (Ok then, later.)


Lesson Two - Introducing Oneself

Person #1:[Baaro/Anako] De N wea. ([Mr./Mrs] Good Afternoon.)
Person #2: De N de wea. (Good Afternoon to you.)

Person #1: Amo yere mo Awea. Se nmo de yere mo be? (My name is Awea. What is your name?)
Person #2: Amo de yere mo Kachana. (My name is Kachana.)

Person #1: Amo wora a zamese Kasem mo. (I am learning Kasem.)
Person #2: Ei, chega mo. (Eh, is that so!)

Person #1: Een, mo kolo maama a nam yei to. Jwa ne a daa wo zamese. Konto a maa viira. De daa wo jeeri. (Yes, that is all that I know. Tomorrow I will learn again. Therefore , I'm going. We will meet again.)
Person #2: Tor, jwa ne, ba (OK, tomorrow come again.)


Lesson Three - Occupation

Person #1: M bisem. (Excuse me in your presence.)
Person #2: De zaanem. (Welcome.)

Person #1: Amo nungi Naga ne. Nmo ye nungi yei mo? (I come from Naga. Where do you come from?)
Person #2: A nungi Kayoro mo. (I come from Kayoro.)

Person #1: Amo ye bereno mo. Nmo de ke be totnga? (I am a teacher. What is your work?)
Person #2: Amo ye pipinu. (I am a merchant.)

Person #1: Teo konta pe yere mo be? (What is the name of this town's chief?)
Person #2: O yere mo Alantigba. (His name is Alantigba.)

Person #1: Wo songo mo konto? (Who's house is this?)
Person #2: Anu Anuyere songo mo. (The house belongs to Madam Anuyere.)

Person #1: Ko lamma dede. Ko daga. Tor, A ke lei naa. (It is very nice. Very big. OK, I bid you thanks)
Person #2: Tor, a maa viira. Ko ke fee naa. (OK, I'm going. See you soon!)


Lesson Four - Shopping

Person #1: Anako, de N wea. (Madam, good afternoon.)
Person #2: De N wea. (Good afternoon.)

Person #1: A lage se a yegi mumuna mo. Bagera mo?(I would like to buy some rice. How much?)
Person #2: Konkongo dedoa ye ¢80 mo. (One tin costs 80 cedis.)

Person #1: A bara. (I'm asking for a bargain.)
Person #2: Mo ko kara. (It is at cost.(no bargain!))

Person #1: A wo yegi konkongo dedoa. De a yuu. (I will buy one tin. And top it off.)
Person #2: Tor. (OK - sure.)

Person #1: De N lei. Jong a sabu. A maa viira. (Thank you. Here's your money. I'm going.)
Person #2: Tor, ko ke fii naa. (OK, see you later.)


Lesson Five - Illness

Person #1: Baaro, de N wea. (Sir, good afternoon.)
Person #2: De N wea. Ko ye te mo?(Good afternoon. How are you?)

Person #1: Ko ba gara. Amo zem weela mo chekke. (Not well. Today, I feel really sick.)
Person #2: O! Be mo jege-m. (Oh, what is wrong with you.)

Person #1: A yuu de a puga mo woe. (My head and my stomach pain me.)
Person #2: N ne dokta na? (Have you seen a doctor?)

Person #1: Een, dokta pe ne liri. (Yes, the doctor gave me medicine.)
Person #2: Tor, we wo pa ko yage. (OK, may God stop it (the pain).)

Person #1: De N lei.(Thank you.)
Person #2: Tor, ko ke fii naa. (OK, see you later.)


Lesson Six - Directions

Person #1: Anako, de N waaro. (Madam, good morning.)
Person #2: De N peiga. (Good morning to you.)

Person #1: Am, tusse chonga. Bere ne pe songo chonga. (I lost my way. Please show me the way to the Chief's house.)
Person #2: De tea de yaga kan. (It is near the market.)

Person #1: De ba ngwai? (Is it far?)
Person #2: Owo, de mang de maila yale mo de yo. (No, it is about two miles from here.)

Person #1: Mo o ja ne m vo da na? (Could you take me their?)
Person #2: Tor.(OK.)

Person #1: Mo kea chiga de m na jaane ne m ba songo chonga tor. (It is very kind of you to bring me to the chief's house.)
Person #2: A mo vei. (Let's go.)


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Last updated on March 9, 2004.

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