2) Presentative Sentences

Aw ni tuma!

This lecture is about so-called presentative sentences in Bambara.

In sum...

The presentative is built like this...

NOUN + don.

It is (a) NOUN

To make it negative you simply replace don with tɛ.

NOUN + tɛ.

It isn't (a) NOUN.

Knowing the presentative is very useful as a first step in learning Bambara. Why? Because now you can people ask people this question whenever you don't know the word for something that you can pick up or point out. For instance...

Mun don?

What is it?

The presentative also works with proper nouns (that is, the names of people or places for instance). So if you heard a knock at the door you could ask...

Jɔn don?

Who is it?

Don never changes regardless of the noun. So you can use it with plural nouns:

Musow don.

It's women.

This same logic applies to noun phrases with a number:

Cɛ fila don.

It's two men.


Alright, so we generally translate the presentative don or with 'It is...'. But, watch out, because you can't use the presentative with anything that isn't a noun. So you would not be able to simply replace the noun with an adjective like good or tall as we would in English.

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