Giving Directions

Asking for and giving directions is an important task in Fulfulde, especially because many roads are unnamed, and directions are frequently given based on landmarks.

Relevant Vocabulary

Directional words

  • right – juungo ɲaamo
    • Technically this means “right hand,” but it is also serves as the directional word (the same is true for left, below)
  • left – juungo nano
  • between/middle – hakkunde
  • behind – caggal
  • in front (of) – yeeso
  • up – dow
  • down – ley
  • beside / next to – bannge
  • near (to) / in the direction of – hedde
  • far – woɗɗi (see below, used as verb)
  • north – saahel
    • Saahel is easy to remember if you think about people going north toward the Sahelian zone
  • south – ɓaleeri
    • The root of this word is “black” (bal-), and translates to “the place of black people,” because south of the Maasina is where people with black skin live.
  • east – funnaange
    • Direction where the sun starts (naange = sun, fuɗɗude = to start)
  • west – hiirnaange
    • Direction where the sun goes in the evening (hiirde = to spend the evening)
  • here – gaa
  • there- ɗo
  • over there – to

Nouns and phrases

  • place – nokku
  • floor – soro + number stem + noun class (o)
    • soro tatabo – 3rd floor
  • road – laawol
  • excuse me – yaafam
  • there it is (voici) – annii
  • I am in [a place] – [Place] ngon mi


  • to describe (used for “to give directions”) – sifaade
  • to be far away – woɗɗude
  • to go – yahude
  • to find – yiitude
  • to show – hollude
  • to go north – ƴeeŋude
  • to ask – lamdaade
  • to change direction – selude
  • to go towards – faade/ fahde
  • to be lost – majjude
  • to arrive – yottaade (warude, to come, can also be used)
  • to pass by – ƴaɓaade
  • to pass (in time and space) – ɓettaade
  • to go straight – suppaade
  • rewde – to follow

Example sentences

Mi yahan hedde luumo – I am going to (in the direction of) the market.

Mido fahi luumo – I am going to the market now

A rewan laawol ngol faa lekkol – You will follow the road all the way until the school.

A yottotto leeki mawki – You will arrive at a big tree

Hoto suudu dokotoro woni? – Where is the doctor’s office?

Niafunka ana saahel Mopti – Niafunke is north of Mopti

Practice Exercise

Describe the layout of your city / town in a letter to a friend. Give as thorough a description as possible, explaining landmarks they might see (schools, hospitals, places of worship, etc.) and where they are in relation to one another.


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