"aada-kuwo" in Nko (ߊ߯ߘߊ߬ߞߎ߫ߥߏ߬?)

Can anyone help me with this? I’m really not sure about the accents.

This is the Mandinka word specifically for “cultural traditions”, literally culture+thing. The plural can be inferred in Mandinka, so we don’t need the ‘lu’ necessarily, so just aada kuwo (another orthography reads -kuo) I think it would be: ߊ߯ߘߊ߬ߞߎ߫ߥߏ߬ or ߊ߯ߘߊ߬ߞߎ߫ (aadaku)

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I ni ke, @Iterimaa!

Interesting to learn of the word aada-kuwo in Mandinka.

The equivalent in Bambara/Jula would be laada-kow (lit. “custom-affairs”) or laadakow.

You can see that in Bambara/Jula, the original al (‘the’) from the Arabic loanword (Ar. al-ʿādah ‘the custom’) was preserved.

The tone of the word in Bambara/Jula would be làadaków (but keep in mind that there’s no standard way of marking tone in Latin-based orthography; different authors do it differently). If I calqued this into N’ko orthography (which has a standard way of marking tone, it would be like this:

ߟߊ߰ߘߊ߬ߞߏ ߟߎ߬
{làadàkó ̀ lù}

Ignoring the ko (‘affair’) and lu plural marker, if I do a search in the N’ko corpus, it’s empty for laada:

In the Kanjamadi N’ko dictionary, I found that the word is actually written with a short vowel: làda. (It’s also worth noting that N’ko authors often root out common Arabic loanwords and sometimes use less common terms or neologisms in their place.) So this gives up:

ߟߊ߬ߘߊ߬ߞߏ ߟߎ߬
{làdakó ̀ lù}

As for writing the equivalent in Mandinka but in N’ko orthography, I am not sure what to suggest. In my experience, N’ko authors use a standard orthography that is closer to (Guinea) Maninka regardless of where they are from or what variety of Manding they speak. There are some people that opt to ignore this standard and just write their local variety using N’ko’s letters and conventions as they see fit.

Obviously, phonetically writing aadaku or aadakuwo using N’ko letters is easy. But I don’t know how the Mandinka tonal system works so I can’t say what diacritics would be be a phonetic match with how Mandinka speakers actually pronounce the word. That is one of the challenges of N’ko – since it marks tone (and the absence of a diacritic carries meaning in the system), it’s tough to know how to spell something if you don’t know the tone.

Hope that helps!

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