Discuss culture and traditions
By bubudi
is anyone interested in learning a west african language? bambara, malinke, susu or krio?
let's have a show of hands!!!
also, if you have any ideas on how to learn together, please go ahead and post your ideas.
i know there was some good interest in the malinke, bamana, wolof and krio threads, but for some reason the interest dropped off - not sure why?... did you know we even had those language threads right here in the cultural section of the forum?! well, we do! if you are seriously thinking of visiting west africa, want to understand song lyrics, or even just want to impress your drum or dance teacher, you should definitely give it a shot!
By bkidd
This is a nice suggestion and it would be fun to know Malinke. It's definitely been helpful when teachers have written out the words to songs so I suspect that having to write out words would be good. Maybe having clips of songs where the words are pronounced would be helpful since these are tonal languages.

By bkidd
Thanks Michi. For me it's great to see the phonetic spelling of the language, but it's important to hear how it sounds as well. That's one place where print falls short in trying to learn a language.

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By michi
bkidd wrote:Thanks Michi. For me it's great to see the phonetic spelling of the language, but it's important to hear how it sounds as well. That's one place where print falls short in trying to learn a language.
Yes, definitely. The text mentions tapes in a few places so, obviously, there was audio material to go with that at some point. No idea whether than could be resurrected somehow…


By djembeweaver
I'd love to learn more Malinke but resources are few and far between.

Here's the best one I've found, though Iya says lots of it is incorrect:

http://www.friendsofguinea.org/aboutgui ... alinke.doc

There are significant regional differences too and that makes it even harder.

I think the only real way to learn Malinke is to live in Guinea. Unfortunately I had my hands full learning french when I was there so I only picked up a few phrases. Maybe next time.....
By bubudi
you could try hooking up with native speakers but of course being in guinea or mali is better. there definitely are regional differences and iirc the manual you're referring to uses kankan dialect. that explains why your teacher didn't agree with parts of it.
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By rachelnguyen
Djembeweaver, that was my situation the first time I went to Mali. I hadn't spoken French for years and spent most of my energy trying to revive it enough to carry on rudimentary conversations. I picked up very little Bamanakan. (Bambara).

The next time I went, I paid more attention to Bamanakan, and by the 3rd trip I had decided to really put some effort into it. It started coming much more quickly and I retained it better. I found that even a few words had a magical effect on the Malians around me. Cab drivers, for instance, were utterly delighted when the toubab woman asked after his family in Bamanakan. (I even got a free glass of tea out of it at one point. We pulled over at the taxi stand on the corner and the driver offered me the tray of tea that was passed through his window by his friends. I graciously accepted, LOL.)

To me, French is the colonial language... and while I am very grateful I have enough to get by, it will never be the same as speaking the local language.
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By rachelnguyen

To your original question, YES! I am interested in Bamanakan.... but I am not sure how we can help each other online because so much of it is about the inflection and pronunciation. What are your thoughts on this, everyone?

And when will rosetta stone come out with the West African edition,LOL.
By Paul
I love the idea of learning a language. I wonder what the situation is in some universities you may be near. There is a major center for endangered languages in my Uni, but they focus very much on former colonies or major language groups so Swahili, Hausa and Yoruba would be the main ones. As far as I know there is no language from Francophone countries.

I have always had difficulties because of the mixes of language. I spent 3 months in a compound with a Jula drummer, Fulani carver, Wolof family in a Mandingo area. 4 months in a Mossi compound in a Bobo section of a predominantly Dioula area, and 3 months with a Susu family in a very mixed area.. You just end up being able to say hello, thanks, good bye in 20 languages.

I hear bamanakan is possibly the biggest root language.. I must say I have always been fairly impressed with the skills of peace corp people I meet so maybe they have a good program (mind you they could be speaking totally wrong and I wouldn't know).
By bubudi
rachel, i second the suggestion for a bamana and maninka edition of rosetta stone! i'd settle for a berlitz tape even. probably the closest we'll get is if someone recorded some phrases pronounced by a native speaker and then posted them here.

i think we may as well aim to learn what we can, knowing full well that it's only part of the picture. we could describe the inflections and other features of pronunciation and try to use recordings or videos whenever possible. who's in?
By bubudi
seeing there was a good response it would be great to see everyone in the language topics practicing and sharing any knowledge of the language they have. the krio thread is a great place to start as it's the best established, and krio is the easiest and quite fun to learn! speaking krio can help get your head around west african structures, making it easier to pick up one of the other languages. follow the topic and you will see how an american learned krio through this thread (helped by music & social media) and vastly improved just by making regular posts.

the various language topics are:
krio - maninka / malinke - bambara - soussou