Learn About Sango: the Language of Central African Republic

By R. H.

Sango, the official language of Central African Republic, draws its vocabulary from French and African languages. Read this article to learn more, and download a printable sheet of Sango vocabulary words!

Sango and its Speakers

Central African Republic Map 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!

Greetings

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

Numbers

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

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