At 08:12 -0800 2006-03-24, Peter Constable wrote:
>I do not wish to see "nko" changed from Nkonya - it is already in usage.
OK. I knew you would say this, but I promised my N'Ko colleagues I would ask.
>The references given to where the names are used
>is to an ISO character-encoding proposal -- a
>secondary source. I'd prefer to see a reference
>to something other than a coding proposal,
>though I don't see this as a cause to block
>anything. It just leaves one question open in my
>mind: that document cites an alternate name,
>Kangbe (fr: kangbé), and it appears to treat
>*that* name as the preferred name. It seems at
>least that the EN/FR names should at least
>include both forms, and it's unclear to me which
>should be listed first.
N'Ko should be listed alone. Mamady Doumbouya
says that "kangbe" means 'grammar'. There must
have been some confusion when the proposal was
drawn up. "Kangbe" refers to the "common grammar"
that N'Ko uses, as the means of communication
between the other languages. So Kangbe is not a
N'Ko isn't like Latin... it's more like
Interlingua. People speak Romanian and Italian
and Spanish, but could use Interlingua to
communicate. For the word that means "name",
Bambaras say "toko" (but "togo" near the city of
Bamako), Maninkas say "too" and in N'Ko the word
is written TÔ (with the N'Ko circumflex). N'Ko
script is not used to write "toko" or "togo" or
"too"; it is only used to write the kangbe, the
common literary language.
It is that language they want to get into CLDR.
Not Bambara in N'Ko script as opposed to Bambara
in Latin script. N'Ko in N'Ko script.
>The description of this as a "literary dialect"
>certainly does raise a question in my mind as to
>whether this is best considered a variant of
>something larger, and I think it would be
>helpful if that were clarified.
I grilled Mamady Doumbouya about this. I don't
know how better to describe it. It's a literary
language (a term that comes from Soviet
linguistics I think). People who speak Bambara
and Djula at home traditionally altered their
speech somewhat when they met. This "trade
dialect" isn't one language or another
> It's not clear to me if this should really be
>considered a distinct language alongside other
>related languages, whether it should be
>considered a register or dialect of some other
>language, or whether it should be considered an
>individual language along with others for which
>a common macrolanguage is also identified.
All of thee languages are related. Like
Interlingua is a Romance language, N'ko would be
at the same level as Bambara and Jula. But like
Interlingua, it's not the same kind of genetic
>I've found a few references to Kangbe language
>on the Web, about as many that refer to Kangbe
>as a creole as that equate Kangbe with N'Ko
>language. E.g, the following from a 2003 draft
>paper by William Croft (U. of Manchester):
>"Heine (1970) surveys lingua francas and pidgins
>in sub-Saharan Africa The vicissitudes of
>the Mali empire starting in the 11th century led
>to a series of lingua francas: Mandingo (164),
>which split into Malinke (165), Dyula (166) and
>Bambara (164; see §8.2), and also apparently
>gave rise to the pidginized Kangbe (170-71).
>Much later, the Wadai empire was founded in the
>17th century in what is now eastern Chad by an
>Arab leader, but Maba as the language of the
>capital and surrounding area became the lingua franca of the empire (115)."
Yes, N'Ko is a lingua franca. I'd forgotten that
term. But it's one with a specific orthography,
grammar, and it has its own dictionary and all
publication in the N'Ko script are in this lingua
>To summarize my comments:
>- don't change "nko" from Nkonya
>- I'd like to see clarification re the
>names "Kangbe" and "N'Ko" - which should be
>- I'd find it helpful to get input from
>experts in Mandean linguistics to clarify the
>linguistic / sociolinguistic facts.
I hope I have done helped.
There's a book about the sociology of the N'ko
movement which may be of interest --
-- one of the nice things it has is a list of 74
books published in N'Ko. My copy of this book
just arrived... I haven't read it yet.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com