Cheek VS forehead VS face

I am currently preparing a Montessori school project for Mali, and as a part of it I am making bilingual posters in French and Bambara.
I am finding the same word “ɲɛda la” for cheek, forehead and face on Google translate… I don’t know what to think. Can this be correct?


Hello @cguyjames ! Thanks for posting in the Forum.

Google Translate for Bambara is not the best tool for looking up specific words. (I did a review of the tool that will give you insights into why.)

You would be better served with a proper dictionary such as that from An ka taa that is linked to this Forum.

There can be some variation regionally on the preferred forms for those parts of the body, but here’s a list with links to the dictionary entries…

  • ɲɛ = eye (Sometimes used to say ‘face’ in some contexts and expressions.)
  • ɲɛda = face (Lit. ‘eye-opening’)
  • dafuruku = cheek
  • ten = forehead

The expression ɲɛda la from Google Translate literally just means ‘on the face’. The word la is a postposition related to location (e.g., ‘in; on; at’, etc). It’s not part of any of the expressions.

Hope that helps!


Super! Thank you!