Maa (Maasai)

Maa Lesson #7: Simple Sentences and The Maasai Langauge Guide

WELCOME fellow Maa learners to your lesson #7. In this lesson we will accomplish three things. First, we will be introduced to Maa simple sentences and the cultural implications of Maasai people’s conversational etiquette. Second, we will complete an activity that allows us to practice these skills. Finally, we will end this lesson with an informational guide about how a Maa beginner student can best use The Maasai Language: An Introduction book. This text is written by David Ole Munke, and this text is inspiring this lesson on simple sentences. 🙂

Ready? Let’s begin!


Maasai people are conversationalists. People’s abilities to make good conversation is highly valued among Maasai people. News travels by word of mouth – both historically and contemporarily. People speak to each other about family member’s and livestocks’ well-being. They discuss climatic conditions, governance issues, successes and concerns with everyday life. Elders are expected to take the lead on initiating conversations after a visitor has eaten food and taken rest upon arrival at their homestead. Similarly, older people are expected to initiate greetings and conversation when 2 people meet on the street. If the reverse happens, this is considered impolite. Attentive listening skills are highly valued. Listeners should pay attention and only seek clarification as needed. While a story is being told, the listener is expected to mutter sounds of approval such as “oo” “ee” “mm” to communicate to the speaker that they are listening and interested. The tone of the response is expected to be soft and polite throughout the conversation. Once the first speaker has completed their story, the listener may take-over as the speaker. The original speaker has “handed over the baton” to the original listener.

Here are some examples of simple sentences from page 11 and 12 of The Maasai Language text. Please take some time to memorize and get to know these phrases since the activity following will be checking your mastery of these expressions!

  • Come here – Wou ene
  • Hold this – Imbunga ena, ene (place)
  • Go there – Shomo idie
  • Tell them to go – Tiaki meshomo
  • I don’t want – Mayieu nanu
  • Take it to them – Ikaki ninche
  • Get me one – Ikakaki nabo
  • Tell them to come – Tiaki meetu
  • I am hungry – Kaata esumash
  • Give me food – Nchooki en-daa
  • Pick it up – Tudumu
  • I am looking for it – Kaigira aing’oru
  • Send them over – Irriwu meetu
  • Tell them I do not want it – Tiaki mayieu nanu
  • I am thirsty – Kaata enkure
  • I am sleepy – Kaata injo
  • I want some more – Eton ayieu ponet
  • Look it up for me – Ing’urakaki
  • Hurry up and finish – Tasioki in’dipa
  • I have waited for so long – Ataanyua te rishata naado
  • I am so tired – atanaure oleng
  • It is too long – Keado oleng
  • The cows are hungry – Keeta nkishu olameyu/keisumash inkishu
  • Go milk the cows – Shomo talepo inkishu
  • They have waited for long – Etaanyutua te rishata Naado
  • It is too far – Kelakua oleng


Now that you have taken some time to practice and learn some simple sentences in Maa, let’s do a drag and drop activity to check your retention. Please select the Maa phrase and drag it into the matching English translation box.


OKAY – let’s continue practicing! Since you have been exposed to these simple sentences a few times now with the respective English prompts, let’s practice a fill in the blank exercise where you are not given the matching prompt. First, see what you are able to do from memory. Take note of the ones that are giving you an especially difficult time, and practice these even more!



  • This text is an incredibly helpful book for beginner Maa learners.
  • Each chapter includes a bit of cultural information that helps orient the learner to the Maasai communities’ ways of being.
  • Each chapter includes new terminology and vocabulary and conversational examples.
  • The best way to use this book is to do the following:
    • Read each chapter all the way through before beginning
    • Create flashcards for new terms and phrases
    • Work through these flashcards
    • Create an h5p activity to practice these new terms and phrases
    • Create and practice a quiz to test what you have learned
    • Reward yourself for your successes

This concludes this lesson! Thank you for participating!



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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.