Kasem belongs to the Gur division of the Niger-Congo language family, mostly spoken in the Upper East and Upper West regions of northern Ghana. The same language is used as a mode of communication in Nahouri province located in the southern part of Burkina Faso. There were two hundred and fifty thousand Kasem speakers as of 1998. Of these number, one hundred and thirty thousand were in Ghana while one hundred and twenty were in Burkina Faso. This language has other names, or rather it is known by other names. These names are Kasɩm, Kasena, Kasim, Kassem or Kassena.
Knowing another language other than what you were born into is always a good idea, especially if you are looking forward to spending your time with the people you seek to learn their language. If Kasem is your language of choice this time around, you are in luck. There are some materials that will get you started, including the Kasem language dictionary. Other publications are also available like those that explain about Kasena names or guide you as you learn Kasem language.
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What is the first language of Ghana? It is definitely not Kasem. English is Ghana's official language. It is, however, important to learn other languages that will help you to connect with the locals easily. Here are basic phrases and interesting facts about the Kasem language and people. It should get you the help you need to start your journey towards being proficient in Kasem.
Kasem basic phrases
Look at these phrases as introductory lessons towards learning Kasem. They are simple concepts that you can master quickly and get to the next stage of your learning process.
Greetings and taking a leave
- De N zezenga - Good morning.
- De N de zezenga - Good morning to you.
- Ko ye te mo? - How is it?
- Ko gara - It's well/better.
- De maa dannè danne - Then we get to know our conditions.
- De maa bwei de ni - Then we have known through asking.
- Tor, a maa viira - OK, I'm going.
- Tor, ko ke fee naa - Ok then, later.
- [Baaro/Anako] De N wea - [Mr./Mrs] Good Afternoon.
- De N de wea - Good Afternoon to you.
- Amo yere mo Awea. Se nmo de yere mo be? - My name is Awea. What is your name?
- Amo de yere mo Akwasi - My name is Akwasi.
- Amo wora a zamese Kasem mo - I am learning Kasem.
- Ei, chega mo - Eh, is that so!
- 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.
- Tor, jwa ne, ba - OK, tomorrow come again.
- M bisem - Excuse me in your presence.
- De zaanem - Welcome.
- Amo nungi Naga ne. Nmo ye nungi yei mo? - I come from Naga. Where do you come from?
- A nungi Kayoro mo - I come from Kayoro.
- Amo ye bereno mo. Nmo de ke be totnga? - I am a teacher. What is your work?
- Amo ye pipinu - I am a merchant.
- Teo konta pe yere mo be? - What is the name of this town's chief?
- O yere mo Alantigba - His name is Alantigba.
- Wo songo mo konto? - Who's house is this?
- Anu Anuyere songo mo - The house belongs to Madam Anuyere.
- Ko lamma dede. Ko daga. Tor, A ke lei naa - It is very nice. Very big. OK, I bid you thanks.
- Tor, a maa viira. Ko ke fee naa - OK, I'm going. See you soon!
How to shop
- Anako, de N wea - Madam, good afternoon.
- De N wea - Good afternoon.
- A lage se a yegi mumuna mo. Bagera mo? - I would like to buy some rice. How much?
- Konkongo dedoa ye ¢80 mo - One tin costs 80 cedis.
- A bara - I'm asking for a bargain.
- Mo ko kara - It is at cost and there is no bargain!
- A wo yegi konkongo dedoa. De a yuu - I will buy one tin. And top it off.
- Tor - OK - sure.
- De N lei. Jong a sabu. A maa viira - Thank you. Here's your money. I'm going.
- Tor, ko ke fii naa - OK, see you later.
- Baaro, de N wea - Sir, good afternoon.
- De N wea. Ko ye te mo? - Good afternoon. How are you?
- Ko ba gara. Amo zem weela mo chekke - Not well. Today, I feel really sick.
- O! Be mo jege-m - Oh, what is wrong with you?
- A yuu de a puga mo woe - My head and my stomach pain me.
- N ne dokta na? - Have you seen a doctor?
- Een, dokta pe ne liri - Yes, the doctor gave me medicine.
- Tor, we wo pa ko yage - OK, may God stop it (the pain).
- De N lei - Thank you.
- Tor, ko ke fii naa - OK, see you later.
- Anako, de N waaro - Madam, good morning.
- De N peiga - Good morning to you.
- Am, tusse chonga. Bere ne pe songo chonga - I lost my way. Please show me the way to the Chief's house.
- De tea de yaga kan - It is near the market.
- De ba ngwai? - Is it far?
- Owo, de mang de maila yale mo de yo - No, it is about two miles from here.
- Mo o ja ne m vo da na? - Could you take me their?
- Tor - OK.
- 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.
- A mo vei - Let's go.
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Kasem interesting facts
- Kasem is a Grusi language. It is used as a mode of communication in Navrongo. Navrongo is found in the Nankana/Kasena municipality in the UpperEast area of Ghana.
- This language is also used as a mode of communication in Burkina Faso and in the Paga and Chiana villages in Ghana.
- Missionaries helped greatly to spread Kasem as a commonly spoken language in Navrongo because of its similarities with other dialects of Kasem in some areas of Burkina Faso.
The Kasem people are an interesting lot with an easy to understand language. With the right kind of dedication, you should be able to learn this language within a short period. Always remember that the trick to knowing people is to spend more time with them.
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