Ivory Coast is a multilingual country with over 70 languages spoken by her people in which all the native African languages represented belong to either of these sub-groups of Niger-Congo language family; Kwa in the south, Mande in the northwest, Gur in the northeast and Voltaic.

The official language of the people of Ivory Coast is French which is the lingua franca introduced to the Nation during the colonial era. There is a trade or market language known as Dioula/Dyula which is a pidgin French which is preferred to be spoken by people. French is used in schools to teach, it is used by businesses to communicate and generally in every area. English is also spoken in the country and is taught to students from High School through University but it is not a language of choice.

Some examples of the languages spoken in Ivory Coast which correspond to the cultural regions in which these languages exist or spoken by a majority. 

  • Kwa languages; Agni and Baoule which is spoken in the south
  • Mande and Senofu which is spoken in the north

We’ve looked at some common French phrases in previous episodes of Learn Africa. So we’d be taking you on some common French words and expressions which would be useful to you when you’re visiting a French speaking Nation.

  • S’il vous plaît – Please
  • Je suis – I am
  • Je cherche – I’m looking for
  • Je veux – I want
  • Un hôtel – A hotel
  • Une chambre – A room
  • Manger – To eat
  • Boire – To drink
  • Payer  – To pay
  • Acheter  – To buy
  • Petit-dejeuner – Breakfast
  • Diner – Dinner
  • La toilette – The toilet or restroom
  • L’aeroport – The airport 
  • Une voiture – A car

And in case you’ve forgotten some of the common phrases, check these below;

  • Bonjour – Good morning
  • Bon apres-midi – Good afternoon
  • Bonsoir – Good evening
  • Bon nuit – Goodnight
  • Bienvenue – Welcome
  • Excusez moi – Excuse me
  • Parlez vous anglais? – Do you speak English
  • Merci – Thank you
  • Merci beaucoup – Thank you very much
  • Au revoir – Goodbye
  • Repetez, s’il vous plait – Repeat, please

Written and edited by Ebenezer Oladokun

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