Continuing the discussion from Amen [alternative to "amiina"]:
Here’s the sentence I came across in the Peace Corps manual that set me out on this particular loanword journey:
Ala k’a kɛ jurumu kafari ye.
I looked in the dictionary to find replacements of those three loanwords with Bambara words… or at least words without a source listed and came up with this:
Ngala/Matigi k’a kɛ filimako nɔgɔsi ye.
And maybe it’s still wrong in this case too? But which sentence out of the two is more Bambara in your opinion?
Thanks for sharing this sentence as an example of what you meant, Christy!
Personally, I think that the question of which one is “more Bambara” is in part sociolinguistic. It isn’t a question that pure grammatical or linguistic analysis can answer because it depends on who you are asking and in what context.
All of that to say that I think the former (“Ala k’a kɛ jurumu kafari ye”) is more natural because, in my opinion, you are more likely to hear it spontaneously produced by people out and about.
I would stare blankly at you if you said the second to me, but I’m not a native speaker. I’ve heard and used the first - though without the “kɛ.” I’d most likely say “k’i” instead of “k’a” because benedictions are usually intended for the listener.
I’ve had this conversation, in the back ground with native speakers… old and young. Interestingly enough, the older ones understood k’a kɛ filimako nɔgɔsi ye when I said it, and are the ones who gave me the greenlight on being able to say it even though it’s not among the most commonly used/heard benedictions.
In a more recent conversation with the younger crowd, I got the blank stare because they weren’t familiar with the word nɔgɔsi. And was offered yet another alternative:
k’a kɛ filimako jɔɔsi ye.
One even stated, as this benediction discussion was taking place, “A cogoya ka ca!”. And this same one then asked me if I knew how to say “amiina” in Bambara. Which then lead to how to say “amiina yaarabi” in Bambara. Language discussion party over here!
In my conclusion, this subject revolves around vocabulary knowledge more than vocabulary usage. Which is now reminding me of a radio show I’ve heard so much about… Where they say a caller would call in and had to speak Bambara without using loanwords. @coleman, are you familiar with this radio show? Is it still on air?
@Dianna_Bell, as far as the k’a kɛ… the translation given for this in the Peace Corps manual is:
May it be a sin expiator.
So, my understanding from this translation is that K’à kɛ (ka à kɛ) = May it be.
Thanks for sharing your investigations, Christy I personally have never noticed this expression or its variants so can’t add much.
For reference and my curiosity, could you specify which Peace Corps manual you first encountered it in? I ni ce! Ala k’i sara!
You’re welcome, Coleman! Sure! It’s in the Peace Corps Bambara Language Manual on page 60 (at the bottom).
Nse! Matigi k’a kɛ!
Ah, finally, I see the context in which one would use it! Like a way to say “May something good come of your sickness”. Very cool!
Exactly, Coleman! Don o don, tulo bɛ taa kalanso. And, I’d also like to add the word ‘mishap’… not sure if there are any other context in which this benediction can be said, but I know that one can say/hear this benediction within these two contexts: ‘sickness and/or mishap’.