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How to say greetings in Maasai language?

Päivitetty: 7. marras 2020

Learn to speak some basic Maasai greetings before your trip

The Maasai are called Maasai after their particular speech, Maa. Maa language belongs to the Nilo-Saharan language group spoken by about 900,000 people in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Maa language differs from the numerous Bantu languages which are commonly spoken in Tanzania and Kenya, like Swahili. Maa is not spoken by the Maasai people only. Other East African groups speak it too, like Samburu and Parakuyu. But they all have their dialect. Maa is a tone language known as ‘tongue root harmony.’ Traditionally Maa language was oral language only with no written form, but nowadays, you can find books and dictionaries written in Maa. But you may notice that written form may be a little different.

We are all able to learn foreign languages. Learning a foreign language is fun, gives you a challenge, sharpens your mind, and can increase the size of your brain. But most importantly, it's a way to make a connection with the Maasai people you meet in Tanzania and Kenya. When Maasai encounter each other, the greeting is very detailed. They ask each other about their children, their animals, their people at home, and other related issues, including the weather.

The Maasai have many phrases to greet people according to their status in Maasai society. Different ways to greet depends if the person is a child, a circumcised or not, a girl or a boy, a young wife or an older woman, a warrior or a young elder, etc. Moreover, it depends are you greeting one person or many at one time. However, don't worry, we teach you a few easy ways that you can learn fast and use them while staying with the Maasai. We don't go into the grammatical structure as it's quite difficult.

How to say hello in Maa language

One person - Sopa

He/she answers - Ipa Many persons -  enda sopa pooki   They answer - Ipa One woman - Yeyo takwenia She answers - Iko Many women - Nooyeyo endakwenya

They asnwer - Iko One older woman - Entasat takwenia

She answers - iko Many older women - Intasati endakwenya They answer - Iko One girl - Entito, Sopa

She answers - Ipa

Many girls - Natoye, endasupai They answer - Ipa

One boy - olayoni, sopa He answers - Ipa

Many boys - Ilayok endasupat

They answer- Iba One warrior - Sopa olmorran

He answers - Ipa

Many wariors - Endasupai ilmorran

They answer - Ipa A married man - Orpayian sopa He answers - Ipa Married men - Irpayiani endasupai

They answer- Ipa An elderly man - Papa sopa

He answers - Ipa

Elderly men - Endasupai loopapa

They answer - Ipa A group of mixed people - Airorokita endai pookin

They answer - Ipa

This was just a taster of the Maasai language, follow our blog to learn more Maa! If you want to practice your Maa skills, join our expeditions with the Maasai in Tanzania. We take travelers out of the beaten path in remote parts of the savanna where the Maasai live. Here you can immerse yourself in fascinating Maasai culture, and participate in Maasai's daily life. If you are lucky, you can even attend Maasai ceremonies. Even though we have indigenous Maasai guides who speak English and can translate everything, speaking even a few sentences in the Maa language will make a huge impression and bring you closer to the Maasai. What would be a better chance to practice your greetings than living with your Maasai family! Book your visit to the Maasai (boma) village in Tanzania here. You can visit Maasai villages in Northern Tanzania and in Kilimanjaro district. All our Maasai villages are far away from the touristic routes and every stay benefits the Maasai family directly. Join our next departure and walk with the Maasai in Ngorongoro Conservation Area in January 2021. Contact us for further details.

Walk in the wild with the Maasai in Ngorongoro

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