Discuss culture and traditions
By Ambulancier
#21566
Hi everyone,

I'm trying to translate a couple words into Bambara and I wonder if someone here might be able to help me. I found the very useful website bambara.org, but it doesn't list two of the words I'm looking for. They are "ambulance" and "delivery" (noun). The "delivery" it does list is in reference to birth. I need to use it in the context of an item that is being delivered. Also it shows three different translations for "gift": nilifɛn, mɔ, and sama. I want to use it in the context of an item that is being delivered or donated, and I'm guessing "nilifɛn" works best in this case. Is that correct, and can anyone translate "ambulance" and "delivery" for me?

Any assistance is much appreciated! Thanks!
Michael

P.S. Would the phrase "ambulance delivery" be different from the individual translations of each word on their own? (Ambulance delivery as in the ambulance is being delivered.)
By bubudi
#21570
hi michael,

i'm not sure exactly what you mean by this phrase.

if you mean 'service delivery' that's a tough one because it's a western concept. maybe using the word for donation/gift giving can work there.

possibly the meaning is more like 'the ambulance is coming' or 'the ambulance is going' in which case you would say 'ambulansi be na' or 'ambulansi taa bɔ' respectively (taa bo actually means 'going to visit').

aaron may have a better suggestion.
By Ambulancier
#21573
Thanks for your suggestions! "Ambulansi be na" may be useful.

I should clarify. I'm actually playing a role in the donation of an ambulance to one of two charities that are operating out of Mali. Some friends and I are actually delivering it personally, and I would like to be able to use the phrase "ambulance delivery" in the same way you would use the phrase "pizza delivery". In this case the ambulance is the thing that is being delivered/dropped off.

If the concept of this type of delivery is foreign or unusual in Mali, then your suggestion of the word "donation" would be the next best thing. So would the phrase then be "Ambulansi nilifɛn" or "Ambulansi sama"? What is the best translation for "donation"?

Thanks!
Michael

P.S. Dugafola: Keep the moustache.
By bubudi
#21577
in that case, the 'donation' concept is better, since that is closest to what you want to say.

like dugafola, i am more familiar with the word sama, but my understanding of this word is that it refers more to the kind of gift someone gets from a traveller who has been away. in that case, nili may be a better word. nili means giving/offering, while nilifɛn means a gift. at any rate, i'm sure the organisation will not expect you to be word perfect in bambara. and you may like to try french as well. french is taught in malian schools and i'm sure that most of us here are more proficient in french than bambara.
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By bops
#21586
Michel wrote:One of the things I love when I'm in Africa is that people ask you how your night was.... whether it was peaceful. Can you imagine asking your colleagues if their night was peaceful? I started doing it. People look funny but I love this question. Reply with hɛrɛ dɔrɔn- peace only. Then your day must have been started perfect!
I was more surprised when a beautiful woman asked me if I slept with two or four legs... :oops: :giggle:
Michel wrote:At the end of the words it's just adding an 'w'. Like you mentioned in 'denw' and in jenbefolaw' one jenbeplayer is already a 'jenbefola' with an -a at the end. Jeli plural becomes jeliw.

And -lu? I sometimes hear 'jenbefolalu' for plural?
The difference between the endings -w and -lu is that one is a definite, the other an indefinite, article. With "muso" (woman), adding -w pluralizes it, making it women. But it refers to a specific set of women. Adding -lu refers to all women, or womanhood. (If you speak French, it is like the difference between les and des.)

For example:
muso = woman
musow = these women/those women
musolu = women in general, womanhood

mogo = person
mogow = these people/those people
mogolu = people in general, humanity

etc.
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By bops
#21588
Michel wrote:I think a 'w' at the end of a word is always almost an -u. Look at your mouth when you pronounce 'jenbefolaw'. Because of the 'n' at the end of 'denw' it's a bit difficult, so more clear it's an -u sound, more like 'denwu'.
In cases where the word ends in a vowel sound, such as den (pronounced "de", where the e is nasalized), the plural can be pronounced either as one or two syllables. As two syllables, it would be "denu" (where the n is pronounced). As one syllable, it would be "deu" (where the "eu" glide is nasalized and the n isn't pronounced). The one-syllable pronunciation is much more common. The two-syllable pronunciation would be mainly for singing.

So:
i denw ka kene ? (How are your children?)
is pronounced:
"i deu ka kene" (remember that "deu" is nasalized).
By bubudi
#21593
bops wrote:I was more surprised when a beautiful woman asked me if I slept with two or four legs... :oops: :giggle:
and what was your answer, bops? it would be funny if you had said 4, sometimes 6.
The difference between the endings -w and -lu is that one is a definite, the other an indefinite, article. With "muso" (woman), adding -w pluralizes it, making it women. But it refers to a specific set of women. Adding -lu refers to all women, or womanhood. (If you speak French, it is like the difference between les and des.)

For example:
muso = woman
musow = these women/those women
musolu = women in general, womanhood
thanks for that, bops. that clears up a lot!
By bubudi
#21594
bops wrote:In cases where the word ends in a vowel sound, such as den (pronounced "de", where the e is nasalized), the plural can be pronounced either as one or two syllables. As two syllables, it would be "denu" (where the n is pronounced). As one syllable, it would be "deu" (where the "eu" glide is nasalized and the n isn't pronounced). The one-syllable pronunciation is much more common. The two-syllable pronunciation would be mainly for singing
what's the reason for this variation in pronunciation?
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By Waraba
#21980
rachelnguyen wrote:
"Is that a person or a hoe?"
This reminds me of when I was in Bamako and I hired a private instructor to teach me Bambara. First of all, the guys in Sarr's troupe were pretty miffed that I felt I needed to hire an outsider to teach me what I could learn for free by speaking with them. I tried explaining that language instruction is a skill, etc. etc. but it didn't fly. They were very concerned that I was being ripped off. This came to a head one evening when I came back from my lesson. I should say that when I was in middle school my Spanish teacher taught us how to say "The elephant is big" ("el elefante es grande"), and so imagine my delight when I learned enough verbs and nouns in Bambara to be able to translate this sentence into that language, on my own, without the teacher's help. Furthermore, I taught myself-myself- how to also say some other phrases, such as "The water is wet." I came back to the compound quite pleased because at last they would see how my lessons were paying off. I told everyone my new sentences.

Silence.

Then rapid conversation. Finally, my interpreter turned to me: "This teacher take your money and teach you nothing."

I tried to explain. He listened to me for a little bit, then interrupted: "Matthew, everybody know elephant is big. Everybody know, that water is wet!"

Was I a person? Or was I a hoe?
By bubudi
#22168
waraba, that reminds me a lot of berlitz language courses. however, you really illustrate one of the many differences in perception between african and western ways of thinking around education. we tend to look at the teacher's qualifications while in mali people have what could be described as a very practical approach.