Bɛ fɛ ka VS b'a fɛ ka

Hello, I have been noticing mostly in Jula the use of bɛ fɛ instead of b’a fɛ. I thought that this is not possible because is a post position. I forgot where I saw this other than a video in Jula so I went to look in the corpus. Can you help me explain this? Thanks.


Hi Malik! Good question.

It’s not a specifically Jula phenomenon. I actually find that it happens more in Bambara in Mali than in Jula in Burkina.

Basically, is becoming more and more verb-like, so people are starting to say N bɛ fɛ ka… (‘I want to…’) instead of N b’à fɛ ka…

But I still haven’t ever heard anyone say “N ma fɛ” (“I didn’t want”) – which demonstrates that the process of grammaticalization is not complete.

It’s a little bit like want to becoming wanna in English. Such changes are natural.

I still say and teach N b’à fɛ ka… because it was more common where I was and it sounds more natural to me. Plus, it is more standard in writing in Latin and N’ko.