Learn About Sango: the Language of Central African Republic
Sango and its Speakers
Sango (sometimes also called "Sangho") is a creole based on the Ngbandi language of northern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is spoken not only in the Central African Republic, but also by some people in Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The most recent count of native speakers of Sango was 404,000 speakers total -- 350,000 of these speakers in the Central African Republic. However, Sango is widely used as a trade language between people who speak other minority languages; thus, it has somewhere around 1,600,000 speakers who speak it as a second language.
The majority of the words used in Sango during normal daily conversations are based on African language roots, but if the whole lexicon of Sango is considered, it has about 51% lexical similarity with French and 49% lexical similarity with African languages.
Important Words and Phrases in Sango
(Find a Sango vocabulary list to print and download here)
Polite Words and Expressions
Mbi gbu gere ti mo - Please
Singila mingi - Thank you very much
Sengue - You're welcome
Pardon - Sorry! / Excuse me!
Balao - Good day / Good evening / Hello
Nzoni gango - Welcome
Tonga na nyen - How are you?
Ye ake ape - Very good / not bad
Nzoni - Very good / not bad
Nzoni ape - Bad
Mbi duti nzoni - I am fine
Mo lango nzoni? - Have you slept well?
Hein, mbi lango nzoni. - Yes, I have slept well.
Wali a yeke da? Amolengue a yeke da? - How is your wife? How are your children?
Hein, ala yeke da. - Yes, they are all doing fine.
Iri ti mo nyen? - What's your name?
Iri ti mbi a yeke Jean. - My name is Jean.
Balao madame - Hello ma'm
Balao monsieur - Hello sir
Ala londo na ndo wa? - Where are you from?
Mbi londo na Suède. - I am from Sweden.
Ala lango na ndo wa? - Where do you live?
Mbi lango na Bangui. - I live in Bangui.
Expressions of Leavetaking
Nzoni lakwi - Good night
Mbi zia mo - Goodbye
Gue nzoni - Goodbye
Na peko - See you later
Na peko ma - See you soon
Na kekereke - See you tomorrow
Other Helpful Words and Phrases
E gue - Let's go!
Hein - Yes
Hein hein - no
Para - Zero
Oko - One
Osse - Two
Ota - Three
Osio - Four
Okou - Five
Omene - Six
Mbasambala - Seven
Myombe - Eight
Gumbaya - Nine
Baleoko - Ten
Baleoko na oko - Eleven
Baleoko na osse - Twelve
Baleoko na ota - Thirteen
Baleoko na osio - Fourteen
Baleoko na okou - Fifteen
Baleoko na omene - Sixteen
Baleoko na mbasambala - Seventeen
Baleoko na myombe - Eighteen
Baleoko na gumbaya - Nineteen
Bale osse - Twenty
Bale osse na oko - Twenty-one
Bale osse na osse - Twenty-two
Bale osse na ota - Twenty-three
Bale ota - Thirty
Bale ota na oko - Thirty-one
Bale ota na osse - Thirty-two
Bale osio - Forty
Bale okou - Fifty
Bale omene - Sixty
Bale mbasambala - Seventy
Bale mbasambala na oko - Seventy-one
Bale mbasambala na osse - Seventy-two
Bale myombe - Eighty
Bale myombe na oko - Eighty-one
Bale myombe na osse - Eighty-two
Bale gumbaya - Ninety
Bale gumbaya na oko - Ninety-one
Bale gumbaya na osse - Ninety-two
Ngbangbo - One Hundred