Parts of speech in Bambara

I ni ce! Is there a different common list of parts of speech for Bambara or does it fall in the same commonly listed English parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, interjection, numeral, article, or determiner)? :thinking: If not, then what would you say would be the common list of Bambara parts of speech?

Also, I was wondering if a part of speech search option could be added to the An ka taa dictionary? :star_struck:

1 Like

I ni ce! Can you post this idea/request as a separate topic in Improvements category?

1 Like

I ni ce, Christy!

Parts of speech categorizations are tricky. There’s the “grammar school” parts of speech of various languages that are taught in school for laypeople and then there are the more technical classifications that linguists use.

The specific terms used in the laypeople or “grammar school” traditions of different languages (e.g., for English, French, Russian, Arabic) always differ because of unique histories.

This is the case amongst linguists too. There is no standard set of parts of speech used across all languages even if there is general agreement on some of the major categories. The specific application of them though can always vary a bit depending on specific sub-traditions focused on one particular language or language family.

In the case of Bambara, there are different traditions too. When it comes to Latin-based writings, most of the classifications can be traced back to Western linguists such as Dumestre and Vydrin. (Creissels is also an important figure, but his grammar’s focus on Maninka and Mandinka). In the N’ko tradition, there is a specific classification too that was developed by Sulemaana Kantè (here’s an article analyzing it). Sometimes, two theorists agree on classification, but they use different terms (e.g., “qualitative verbs” vs “predicate adjectives”; “predicate markers” vs “auxiliaries”). Sometimes the exact term they use varies depending on their audience.

The An ka taa dictionary that I wrote also relies on a parts of speech classification (which is close to that of Vydrin because he was my professor previously); in fact, you can view it here on the About page (though it is mixed in with other abbreviations). The Bamadaba dictionary also has one listed here.

Otherwise, here is a rough summary of the broad categories and terms that I generally use (writing this out makes me realize I should update things in the dictionary too – someday soon, I hope!):

  • Verbs
    • (“Normal”) verbs
    • Qualitative verbs
  • Adjectives
    • Adjectives
    • Determiners
    • Numbers
  • Nouns
    • Noun
    • Pronouns
  • Adverbs
    • Pre-verbal
    • Post-verbal
  • Predicate markers
  • Copulas
  • Conjunctions
  • Prepositions
  • Postposition
    • Formal
    • Lexical
    • Compound
  • Particles
  • Interjections
1 Like