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Learning the Guna language

Guna Language

The native tongue of the Kuna is the Kuna language that is pronounced Guna or Tulekaya. The new generation of Kuna all speak Spanish and some of them will be able to speak English with the tourist. But don’t get lost in these waters if you don’t speak Spanish or Kuna because you could be navigating like a chicken without a head.

Some Guna words

We will try to teach you some Kuna words and pronounce it right so you can make the locals laugh and earn their respect.

  • Mola means shirt or piece of clothing.
  • Tulemola means Kuna people clothing.
  • Ogob is a coconut. Skungit is a lobster.
  • Mor Ginnid is the liberation party day.
  • Sahila is the villageleader.
  • Comarca is a district.
  • Erragon is one of their gods.
  • Nuchus is a small holy wooden doll.
  • Poni is an evil spirit.
  • Acuadop means Rock Island.
  • Kuna Yala means Kuna land.
  • Ico-inna is a feast about puberty/wedding.
  • Tilapia is a fish.
  • Chichas are boiled drinks.
  • Congresos is a town meeting.
  • Cocoloco is a coconut with rum

Mastering the Kuna language

Once you master the tourist language you might be able to break the ice with these basic Guna language sentences and words.

Learning Level 1

Yes – Elle
No – Suli
Thanks – Dot Nuet
Please – Uis anga saet
Ok – Nued gudii o
Good – Nabir, nuedi
Welcome – Nuegambi use be noniki

Learning Level 2

On a role and ready for some more words of the Kuna language?
Hello – Na
How are you? – Bede nued guddi?
Fine, thank you. And you? – An nuedi. Bedina?
Fine – Nuedi
What is your name? – Igi be nuga?
My name is.. – An nuga
Nice to meet you – An yeel itoe
Where are you from? – Be bia lidi?
I am from – An .. ginedi.

Learning Level 3

Lets add some feeling to the basics so you can express yourself and ask for your needs.
I’m hungry – An uku itoe
I’m thirsty – An gobie
I’m cold – An dambe itoe
I’m warm – An uerba itoe
I’m sleepy – An nue gapie
I’m happy – An yee ito dii

Learning level 4

Still not satisfied with your control of the local language? Some useful expressions might help.

Let’s go – Anmar nae
How much does this cost? – Que mani?
I want to buy it – An bag bie
Do you speak English? – Be sumake merki galla?
Come here – Uesik dage
Look at that – Dake
Speak slowly please – Uis binna sunmake
I don’t understand – Aku ittoe
I’m sorry – An oakue
Foreigner – Uaga

Additional language level

Some useful words for food and drinks.
Rice – Oros
Bread – Madu
Fish – Ua or Tilapia
Lobster – Dulup or Skungit
Coconut – Koibir or Ogob
Coffee – Cabi
If you’re leaving a small and easy thing to say is goodbye.
Good bye – Degi malo
Good luck – Nuedgine, nuegan bi
I’ll see you tomorrow – An banedese be dakoe
I had a good time – An yer ittosa