But / Yet


I have a question. I would like to ask how to use coordinating conjunctions such as BUT or Yet to connect ideas that contrast in Bambara. When I search the an Kaa taa dictionary I am given the word Nga. However I am confused on how to pronounce and use this word because I am understanding that Nga can also be used as ‘My’. For Example, Nga Ba muso, or my mother.
I would greatly appreciate any help in how to use words to connects ideas where the second ideas is different than the first.


Never mind, I found a video from a manding speaking cook who uses it extensively during her recipe explanations. I guess the universe answered my inquiry via the YouTube algorithm :face_with_monocle: haha.

So I’m afraid that I should pronounce the contraction of Ne ka as N’ka rather than N’ga. However, I have been getting away with it so far haha


Hi Diakite! Welcome to the Forum.

The word “Nka” means ‘but’ as noted in the dictionary. It is one word. Just like in English, you can use it as conjunction that contrasts ideas.

The idea of “my” in Bambara is expressed via n ka, which is, in fact, two words:

(Yes, you can also say ne ka – this means that you are using an emphatic form of the first person pronoun. See Basic Bambara 12 for details on emphatic vs non-emphatic pronouns.)

In both cases (that is, n ka … ‘my …’ and nka ‘but’, you may hear people “voice” the consonant k so that it sounds like a g (in particular in fast speech). It depends on the region and the person and has to do with the influence of the syllabic “n” which leads to some people “voicing” the following consonant.

So, I wouldn’t say that you are pronouncing things wrong necessarily :slight_smile: I ni ce!


I ne ci!! Thank you Coleman.

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Salut Coleman et Diakite689, désolé je vais répondre en français.
Par rapport au problème soulevé ici, il me semble qu’une partie du problème vient du fait que les personnes dont la langue maternelle est l’anglais ou le français pensent dans ces langues et essayent de traduire ces phrases de leur langue maternelle vers le bambara.
En français et en anglais, il y a beaucoup de phrases avec des connecteurs de type but/yet en anglais ou mais/par contre en français.
Il me semble que le discours bambara s’articule différemment.
Pour opérer un contraste, les locuteurs vont procéder autrement, cela peut être une pause dans la voix, une interjection type ayiwa, la construction des suites de phrases avec des logiques du type “certains pensent que” / “d’autres pensent que”, l’utilisation du conditionnel, etc…
Il faut accepter de rentrer dans la logique propre de la langue, qui est profondément liée à la logique culturelle / au mode de pensée.
Par ailleurs, il me semble qu’en bambara on ne peut pas dire “ne ka bamuso” pour dire “ma mère”, c’est “ne bamuso”.



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