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malinke story

Dounou gna dan kouma Allah fé, a ye san kolo dan, ka dougou kolo dan, ka kocodjie baou dan, ka badji lou dan, ka kolou dan, ka yirilou dan, ka sogolou dan, ka mogo lou dan. A ba fen toumani ka djiro kè, a ko sogo bè makal ki bolobiri i niè la. Sogobè ya bolo fla biri i niè la. N'ka ba yè kègouyakè: a ma son ka niè da tougoun ka gna: a y'a bolokoni nou so bo niokon na: o ya to a y'a yè Allah ba-kan ka fèn diougou lou kè djiro: Sadiougoulou minignam, ninikin-nankan, bamba, mali. Kabini ô kèra, ba tè son ban Kadjiguing djiro. Hali ni san-ya gossi, a bè koulè bahou a ba lon mi yè djiro.

* * * *

When God had finished creating the sky and the earth, he put trees, animals, and human beings on the earth. Then, when he wanted to cover the surface with water (oceans, streams, and rivers), he told all the animals to close their eyes. Every animal closed its eyes except for the goat. The goat, instead of covering its eyes with its hands, as everyone else was doing, spread its fingers in order to look through them. Thus it observed God putting nasty fish into the waters, dangerous snakes, alligators, hippopotamuses, and monsters. Since that day the goat has lost confidence in the water, and does not dare, under any circumstances, to go into the water, because it knows what there is in it.

* * * *

Malinke belongs to the Mande branch of the Niger-Congo family of languages and is closely related to Bambara and Dyula - with the three often combined under the single term Mandingo. It is spoken by about 3 million people in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, and the Ivory Coast.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2006 03:42 pm (UTC)
Interesting! Thanks for sharing!
Jul. 2nd, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
You're quite welcome! I asked a friend which three languages she would like to speak and one of her selections was from Africa - which is what made me think of posting this excerpt.

'Allah' is the only word I can positively identify from the passage, although the series of 'ka ... dan' markers at the start has me intrigued.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )