My Malinke friend said in a text:

“Awa i ni ke kosobe”

I assume Awa is a variation on Ayiwa. The portion that says “kosobe” is where I’m lost. I’m assuming it’s at least two if not three words munged together. Thoughts?

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Yes, “awa” is a variant of “ayiwa”. “Ayiwa” is more common in Bambara/Jula-speaking areas. And “Awa” is more common in Maninka-speaking areas. Same thing though!

What you and your friend write as kosobe would be written kosɔbɛ (with ɔ and ɛ) if you were using the official Latin extended alphabet/spelling system. This is more or less a transcription of the spoken pronunciation of the word that one hears.

The more prevalent written form, which is closer to the source etymology is:


Lit. ‘seriously’

You can find it in the AKT Dictionary here:


So yes, it is an adverb that historically comes from a compounding of “ko” and “sɛbɛ” :slight_smile:

Ahhh. Thank you. I don’t know that I could have figured that one out on my own! If I might make a suggestion, if reasonably possible, it might be helpful to map the open “O” to regular “O” for purposes of searching. Then for example when one searches on “kosobe,” they’d see the results from the dictionary? Just a thought and it may well be asking too much, but thanks for listening! I ni ke kosebe!

p.s.: Still working on getting the proper latin characters going. Wondering if it’s possible on IPhone as well? I’ll do some research.

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I ni ke!

The dictionary actually already has the search function that you are talking about :slight_smile: If you type “o”, it searches for both “o” and “ɔ”. If you search for “e”, it searches for both “e” and “ɛ”, etc:

The reason that the search for “kosobe” didn’t find an entry is a little bit more complicated. It has to do with the way that dictionary’s variants are treated. Right now, the search only searches “headwords” (that is, the main entries). Perhaps I need to see if I can update the search functionality for variants that aren’t also listed as headwords :thinking:

Edit: I forgot to add that now that you’ve posted this question in the Forum, the Dictionary’s search will find this post :wink:

I love the feedback and ideas for improvement so keep it coming!

PS - For typing the Latin extended characters of Manding varieties, check out this blog post. (Unfortunately, there’s not an elegant iPhone solution right now. Google’s Gboard is the easiest for Android, but they don’t support Bambara on iOS oddly. I’ve been working with JamraPatel on a project to develop a specifically Bambara (and therefore Maninka) keyboard for iOS, but it’s on the backburner right now…