Manding (Bambara, Dyula, & Malinké)

The Super 7 in Manding

What’s the Super 7?

The Super 7 is an idea introduced by linguist and educator Terry Waltz which outlines the seven of the most useful verbs/concepts in any language.

These seven concepts include a structure for:

1) to describe location

2) to describe that something exists

3) to describe possession

4) to describe what something is

5) to describe a preference (like or dislike)

6) to describe motion/direction

7) to describe volition: desires and feelings


The most frequently used verbs in daily speech may depend based on the language and its culture (e.g. many languages use the same verb to express possession and existence). However, figuring out which verbs are used most frequently and focusing on mastering them can accelerate your learning progress.

Here are the Super 7 for Jula (with examples!)


 Minneapolis. (I am in Minneapolis.)

I  Atlanta sisan. (You are in Atlanta now.)

A  Abidjan.  (He is in Abidjan.)

U  Mali la. (They are in Mali.*)


*Mali is one of the only countries where you must add “la” when using the locative construction.

Existence = there is/there are


Saga don. (There is a sheep).

Muso ni cɛ don. (There is a woman and a man).

Wulu tɛ don. (There is no dog.)


Possession = to have

I have:

[____] bɛ n fɛ.


[____]   n bolo.


Wulu fila bɛ n fɛ. (I have two dogs) 

Misi bɛ i fɛ(You have a cow)

Bala bɛ aw bolo. (You all have a balafon)

Sigilan saba bɛ an bolo. (We have three chairs)

Identity = to be something

equative construction (something is equal to another):  … ye … ye

N ye karamogo ye. (I am a teacher).

dogotori ye. (You are a doctor).

Mobili yereyere ye Nissan ye. (Nissan is a very good car.)


qualitative construction (to describe something with an adjective): ka

A ka jan.  (He is tall)

N man jan. (I am not tall).

I ta wulu ka bo? (is your dog big?)


OBJECT + ka di + SUBJECT + ye

Nissan ka di ni ye (I don’t like Nissan).

Mobili dyeni ka di i ye? (Which car do you like?)

Toyota ka di Drissa ye (Drissa likes Toyota).

Baranda ka di an ye. (we like bananas)

Motion ( to go )

I bɛ taga CA, ba di? (You’re going to California, right?)

Ne  na taga Chicago sini. (I will go to Chicago tomorrow).

Ne tɛ na taga Atlanta sini. (I won’t go to Atlanta tomorrow)

Volition (i.e. desire, to want)

Ne  sise . (I want a chicken.)

Wula  teri . (The dog wants a friend.)




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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages 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.