My first Bambara lesson

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My first Bambara lesson

Postby rachelnguyen » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:06 am

A year after my trip to Mali, I started having all kinds of intense reflections on the experience, and one of the conclusions I came to was that if I want to go back (which I do) I need to learn Bambara and stop depending on French so much.

So, I approached my favorite Malian and asked if he would be willing to teach me. The University of Illinois has a text book which is on order, but in the mean time, My teacher and I spent some time working on the basics today. After the lesson, Sidy made a recording for me so I can practice during the week. I am very excited about it. And already, I can see that this is just one more step towards understanding the culture. For example, even with just one lesson, I discovered that the root of the word family is the same as the word child. Isn't that sweet? I love that.

Languages do not come easily for me, so I know this is going to be a challenge. But with some patience and lots of practice, I hope to be able to say and understand at least a few phrases by the time I get back to Bamako next year. Yeah!
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby James » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:12 am

Congrats Rachel, this is great news...

I'd love to be able to understand what Salif Keita is singing about :)
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby rachelnguyen » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:19 am

LOL, James. Let me get back to you on this. I'll keep you posted!
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby bubudi » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:48 am

i ni tile, rachel! i be di? denbaya be di?
k'an ben soni!
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby rachelnguyen » Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:23 pm

Nse I ni tile, Bubudi!

Tuuru si te. Tuuru t'u la!

Iniche.

I have no idea how to write it, LOL. My keyboard doesn't make all the symbols. But you get the idea. I made flash cards for myself this morning to practice with. I am not sure why, but I am strangely excited about the whole thing. One step closer to home, perhaps.

Or something like that.

R
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby e2c » Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:29 pm

Rachel, if you're running Windows, you can change your keyboard layout to "US-International." That allows you to easily create a lot of accented characters, though if you want some of the stranger Slavic ones, you'll still have to use "char map." ;)

I don't know a thing about Macs, though.

And I think it's great that you're learning Bambara!!!
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby bubudi » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:07 am

rachelnguyen wrote:Nse I ni tile, Bubudi!

Tuuru si te. Tuuru t'u la!

Iniche.


i ni tche, rachel! n'ba!

ala ka tile here tchaya!
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby rachelnguyen » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:38 am

Hey é2ç,

International keyboard it is. Now I can even write in Vietnamese. Not that I ever would write in Vietnamese... but I could if I wanted to. Just saying.

But Bambara has a bunch of phonetic symbols that even the international keyboard doesn't do. For example:

N bɛ bamanankan mɛn dɔɔni-dɔɔni.

I've got no clue how to do the little backwards c shaped thingies. (For the example I just cut and pasted from a website.)

Bubudi.... yup. Have a nice afternoon! LOL.
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby e2c » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:00 am

Good grief - those are pretty unique!

however, I bet some of them are available using the "character map" function, though you'd have to paste them in one at a time...
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby rachelnguyen » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:14 am

Yeah, I think typing it is a lot harder than speaking it, LOL.
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby e2c » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:37 am

I bet you're right! :)
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby Carl » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:23 am

rachelnguyen wrote:The University of Illinois has a text book which is on order,


Any info on this? I'm in the frozen wastes of Maine, and any resource would be nice (like the website in the other tread with all of the lessons posted online!) Once you get it, I would love to hear what you think.

When I have time again, I would like to at least approach one of the many languages from the region.

And I'm with you on learning languages, I dropped out of German class twice in college, fell way behind in only 3 weeks each time! vocabulary kills me!

C
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby e2c » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:58 am

I think it's easier to learn languages (or anything, really) because you want to, not because you have to do it to fulfill a requirement.

Like you guys, I did miserably at languages in HS and college. But now, being able to read and understand certain kinds of texts in other languages (like info. on music and culture in Brazil) is really important to me. I need to work on conversational and, eventually, writing, but for now, my ear's getting tuned and my reading is far, far better than it was even 2-3 years ago. am finding that it's also helping my reading and comprehension in Spanish and French (which I've studied in very cursory ways in the past)... again, I can't speak or write in either of those languages, but I think a good course in basic conversational would be far easier for me now than was the case with my previous tries.

I guess I need to work on French 1st, then (maybe, if I live long enough!) an African language...
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby rachelnguyen » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:02 pm

Hey Carl,

The U of I book has been back ordered for awhile, but finally they charged me and I assume will be sending it at some point. I will definitely keep you posted when I get it. The cool thing about the U of I book is that the mp3s are available for free on their website.... but you can't use them without the book because they don't have the english equivalent. I'd say that having recordings is absolutely critical if you don't have a Malian to practice with.

While I am waiting for the book, I found the Peace Corps mini lessons on Bambara online and am working with that. Sidy made a recording of the phrases and I am listening to them. I also made a stack of flash cards to work on the vocabulary. It is daunting, I have to say.... but Sidy said that if I can even understand a couple of words in a sentence, it will be enough to get the gist of a conversation. Far better than not knowing anything at all.

e2c, it is true that one's motivation has a lot to do with how well you do with something. I have been really excited about this!

Here's the Peace Corps lesson:

www.peacecorps.gov/wws/.../ML_Bambara_L ... essons.pdf
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Re: My first Bambara lesson

Postby Carl » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:33 pm

@ e2c - yes motivation is key to languages (if you are not one of those annoying people who pick up languages like some people collect stamps...) I would be happy to just understand some of the songs so that I could maybe sing them with some comprehension.

@Rachel,
Anything you have on the book would be nice (especially ordering info! ;-)) I wonder if the mp3s that you mentioned are the same ones that were posted on that other thread?

C
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