Learn About Sango: the Language of Central African Republic
written by: R. H.
• edited by: Rebecca Scudder
• updated: 3/2/2012
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!
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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.
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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.