Don (after a day)

Hi Coleman,
sorry to put you on the spot, you probably had a time length in mind.

I wanted to ask why do we say don or kalo after saying a day of the week or month?

For example:

Bi ye sɛ́tanburu kalo tile mugan ani duuru ye san ba fila ani mugan (Today is 09/25/2020)

Alamisa don an y’a dun (On Thursday, we ate it)

To me, it’s almost like it helps show that we are referring to a date and not someone’s name.
But at the same time, from a grammatical stand point, wouldn’t we consider it as one word (noun) like arabadon for wednesday?

Or is it just this way because of the way we recognize dates in Manding, like referring to a day as araba don would translate to something like “the day of wednesday”?



I ni ce, Malik! Your questions come the livestream lesson that I did last night and it is a good one :slight_smile: But I also think that you answered them yourself!

You are right the word don (‘day’) is often added after the names of the days of the week. This is also the case for kalo (‘month’) for the names of the months.

In terms of “why”, there isn’t really a reason that I can cite. It’s just the way that Bambara (and Manding in general) works.

Whether it is with don or kalo, yes, we are actually looking at what is technically one compound word:

  • Arabadon (Araba-don) = Wednesday-day
  • Setanburukalo (Setanburu-kalo) = September-month

You can also say it without don or kalo. For instance:

An bɛ ɲɔgɔn ye araba.

‘We (will) see each other on Wednesday’

For this reason, I don’t think that we should read the forms that include -don or -kalo as having a distinct meaning from there “plain” forms. But yes, the literal translation of the compound forms sounds cool in English “the day of Wednesday” or “Wednesday-day”.

Actually, on that front, it is interesting to see that English itself used compounding for the day of the week: maybe we should just call them “Wednes”, “Thurs”, “Fri”, etc., since “day” is added on for seemingly no reason :wink:

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