Temne is spoken by the Temne, who make up about 30% of the population of Sierra Leone. The mainly hail from the country's Northern Province and have a rich culture and history. A famous Temne Chief Bai Bureh launched a rebellion against the British in 1898, this was as a result of overtaxation of his people. Some basic Temne words and their translations follow.
NOTE: The writing system used here is the recommended orthography used in schools and colleges in Sierra Leone. The orthography uses phonetic symbols for some vowel sounds in Temne.
An important thing to note is that each symbol represents ONE and only ONE sound, and each sound is represented by only ONE symbol. The vowel sounds are usually the problem. Below is a guide to the pronunciation of the vowels of Temne.
1. ɛ as in English ‘bed.’
2. e as in English ‘day’
3. ɔ as in English ‘cot’
4. ʌ as in English ‘cut’
5. ə as in English ‘among’
6. o as in English ‘bowl’ or ‘boat’
7. u as in English ‘fool’
8. I as in English ‘seat’
Also, the velar nasal sound, ŋ , as in English ‘King,’ is used in Krio ‘fulɔp piŋ’ (full to the brim), and in Temne ‘kʌ lɛŋ’ ( to grow grey hair).