Maa (Maasai)

Maa Cultural Resources

Please find the following cultural resources regarding Maasai communities. These useful tools expose Maa language learners to Maasai culture both historically and contemporarily. These sources are organized into two categories: “books” and “websites.” Due to the paucity of Maa/ Maasai cultural/ language resources, some of these are duplicates of previously designated resources. Nevertheless, the resources that have been mentioned elsewhere are worthy of mentioning more than once on these pressbook resource pages. 

There are MANY anthropological/ scholarly texts regarding Maasai culture and ways of life. These can be found at the UW Madison library archives. The following list of books and websites is but a small fraction of the texts available. However, some of these scholarly articles/ texts are dense and not especially fun for a language learner to read. I have included only the scholarly work that is fun to read and accessible for people who are not trained anthropologists. Enjoy! 



David ole Munke, 2018. The Maasai Language: An Introduction. Utafiti Foundation. Eldoret, Kenya.

  • This text covers a broad range of basic introductory categories necessary for understanding Maa. For example, chapter 1 looks at sounds, vowels, and consonants. Chapter 2 outlines simple sentences. Chapter 3 dives into tenses in Maa. Chapter 4 discusses action verbs and measurement words and chapter 5 reports on numbers and numerals. This text is great for a beginners broad coverage and exposure to the basics of Maa.

Hodgson, Dorothy. 2001. Once Intrepid Warriors: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Cultural Politics of Maasai Development. Indiana University Press. Bloomington, IN.

—     2011. Being Maasai: Becoming Indigenous

—     2017. Gender, Justice, and the Problem of Culture

  • Dorothy Hodgson is an anthropologist and scholar. She has worked with Maasai people in Tanzania for decades. Her books provide compelling, intellectual, and accessible reads for any person interested in learning more about Maasai history, gender relations, colonialism, development, and other forces impacting Maasai communities.

Hollis, A. C. 1971. The Maasai: Their Language and Folklore. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1971.

  • This text is more ethnographically inclined and less geared towards language learning itself; however, as in other sources listed here, the context provided here for understanding the languaculture of Maa people might be invaluable for new Maa learners.

Kiel, Arnold. 2015. A Bibliography of the Maa Language and the Maasai People. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

  • This resource is a documentary style video that is designed to introduce viewers to the Maa Language and Maasai people. This visual tool is especially helpful for language learners who appreciate audio learning!

L.H.E, and B.A.A. [year not identified]. A Maasai Grammar Guide for Beginners. [place of publication not identified]. (**Found in UW Library system)

  • This text has 60 lessons designed to guide a beginner Maa speaker through variosu grammatical exercises in Maa. These exercises include translation, structure, pronunciation and more. Thsi text is helpful for students who are not sure where to begin in their Maa learning. They can check out this text and begin with Lesson 1.

Peace Corps Maasai Language Self-Instruction Manual. Website. Accessed 06/15/21.

  • This text is helpful for providing a broad overview of the Maa language and lessons to help a beginner learn to speak the language. These lessons are designed practically to focus on conversation and communicative language.



Fuchs, Stephanie. 2018. “An Introduction to Maa – the language of the Maasai and the Samburu People”. Website. Accessed 06/15/21.

  • This website provides some basic words that may help a beginner Maa learner collect vocabulary for their arsenal.

Maasai Culture and History: Understanding the Soul of East Africa


  • This website provides some basic information about Maasai culture, history, clothing, songs, dances, body modifications, and more!

Payne, Doris. 2008. Maa Language Project. Website. Accessed 06/15/21.

  • This platform by scholars at the university of Oregon is a user friendly website with several chapters/ pages for a beginner Maa learner to expose themself to the language. There is a link for a Maa dictionary in this platform, which, I am sure will prove very helpful for beginner learners. There are also chapters that outline who Maa people are, where they are from, what they do, where the language originated and other interesting context that might help a language learner be more successful in their acquisition.


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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.