Manding (Bambara, Dyula, & Malinké)

Mene le nin? What is this? (Dyula)

Asking what things are

There are two major ways to ask “What is this?” in Dyula: “Mene le nin?” and “Fo dyeni le nin? In Bambara, there is yet another way to ask this: “Mun don?”

The proper response for the Dyula question “Mene le nin?” or “Fo dyeni le nin?” is “______ le nin”. In Bambara, the response is “_____ don”.


Mene le nin? (What is this?)

Drekke le nin. (It’s a shirt.)


Mene ni mene le nin? (What are these?)

Drekke ni kunu le nin. (It’s a shirt and a bird).


  1. Review the vocabulary list below
  2. Practice saying “Mene le nin?” for each picture in the table, as shown in the example above.
  3. Finally, try to work on the plural form (i.e. Mene ni mene le nin? ) Try to come up with the craziest combinations! EX: It’s a chicken, a djembe, and a bike! (Sise, djembe, ni negeso le nin!)


kunu = bird

bala = Balafon (West African marimba-like instrument)

Wulu = dog

Ji = water

seben = seben

mobili = car

sigilan = sigilan

Guitarri = Kora (West African string instrument)

sise = Guitarri

siran = broom

drekke / chemise = Shirt =

bolu = hand

djembe = Djembe (West African drum)

dumani =Food

tabili = Table

negeso = Bike


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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.