MOUSSA BAMBA, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Linguistic Data Consortium/IRCS
My research programme is to prepare an electronic database for the lexicon
of three Mandekan (Manding) languages of the Mande group of the Niger-Congo
family: (a) Bambara (Bamanankan or Bamanan), (b) Mawukakan (also known
as Mawu, Mahou or Mau) and (c) Odienne Jula. Bambara, considered to be
the oldest form of the Manding subgroup, is the bigest and the most studied
language of the sub-group; Odienne Jula has the opposite tone patterns
of Bambara; and Mawukakan is my own mother tongue within the sub-group.
There are many forms of glossaries of Bambara, mainly in French, but the
only elaborate dictionary known to us is Petit dictionnaire Bambara-Francais,
Francais-Bambara (1981) (pp 339), which is very limited because it is
a two-way dictionary. Dioula d’Odienne (parler de Samatiguila): Materiel
Lexical (1982) (pp.130), mimeographed by the Institut de Liguistique Appliquee,
Universite d’Abidjan, is, to my knowledge, the only lexicon produced on
Odienne Jula. As for Mawukakan, only Document Lexical Maukakan (parler
manding du Maou) (1982) (pp. 59) and a fragment of Mawu lexicon: Mawukakan
Vocabulary (1995-96) are available. The latter is stored electronically
at the Phonetic Laboratory of the Linguistics Department, University of
Pennsylvania. None of these is fully prepared electronically such that
they can be easily updated, nor are they developed such that different
dictionaries can be produced from them to meet the needs of different
users at different times. Once the database is now electronically developed
for these three Manding languages, other varieties such as Maninka (spoken
in Guinea-Conakry and Mali), Mandinka (Senegal and Gambia), Konyakan (Guinea-Conakry),
Abidjan-Jula (Cote d'Ivoire), and Bobo-Jula (Burkina-Faso) can easily
be added to the database, given that the Manding languages share at least
75% of common vocabulary.
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