The verb 'kɛ'

Aw ni ce! Kow bɛ cogo di? I have a question about the verb . There’s some short examples and a note in the Peace Corps Bambara Language Manual

Ka kalan kɛ (ka kalankɛ)
To do studying (to study)

Ka baara kɛ (ka baarakɛ)
To do work (to work)

In the above two examples, kalan is a noun meaning “studying” and baara is a noun meaning “work”. Both are direct objects of the verb .

With these sentence structures (both in different parts of the manual):

SUB + bɛ + V + DO + PP

A bɛ barokɛ a somɔgɔw fɛ.
He’s having a conversation with his family.

(Transitive sentence structure?)

SUB + bɛ + COMPL. + ye

Mɔni bɛ kɛ daraka ye.
Porridge is made for breakfast.

(Intransitive sentence structure?)

Then, I saw in the AKT dictionary that the verb is listed as transitive and intransitive with this vi sentence example for the English word put:

I bɛ kɔgɔ kɛ na la.
Put some salt in the sauce.

The verb seems to have something funky going on with its transitive and intransitive sentence structure usages and I can’t figure it out! :thinking: Does anyone know what it is?

This explanation of the structure is not right. (And neither is the spelling.)

The “DO” (direct object) is baro.

À bɛ baro kɛ à somɔgɔw fɛ

‘He does chatting with his family’

Besides that, I think that you are struggling with a question of active vs passive voice like in your recent post.

In short, the verb can be used transitively (k'à kɛ) to mean ‘to do’ or ‘to make’:

N bɛ foli

‘I do greeting’

You can take a transitive sentence like this and make it passive too by dropping the agent/subject that does the greeting:

Foli kɛra

‘A greeting was done

This passive usage is what is going on with the sentence Mɔni bɛ kɛ daraka ye. The real verb phrase to learn is transitive: ka fɛn kɛ fɛn ye ‘to make sth into sth’. For example:

Christy bɛ mɔni kɛ daraka ye

‘Christy makes porridge into breakfast’
(as in, ‘Christy makes porridge her breakfast’ or ‘Christy opts for porridge for breakfast’)

If you drop the subject/agent then it becomes passive:

Mɔni kɛra daraka ye

‘Porridge was made into breakfast’
(as in, ‘Porridge was what there was for breakfast’ or ‘There was porridge for breakfast’)

Or if you don’t use a perfective form of :

Mɔni bɛ kɛ daraka ye
‘Porridge is made into breakast’
(as in, ‘Porridge is what is for breakfast’)