Pluralization

To make a noun plural, we use an orthographic convention of -w.

mɔgɔkɔrɔba —> mɔgɔkɔrɔbaw

elderly person —> elderly persons

There are no other situations where you will see a word that ends in w so anytime you see it as the last latter of word, you know that it’s a noun in the plural!

In terms of pronunciation, the plural marker is an [u] sound.

 

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Ɛɛ! Mun lo nana [n'à ye]? An fana wolola k'à sɔrɔ. An mɔgɔkɔrɔbaw fɛ o.

 

Variation

The plural -w [u] is clearly a truncation of an older plural marker -lu/nu that is preserved in certain words and in some Manding varieties. For instance:

  • The emphatic third person plural pronoun olu (they)

 

Donc, bɔbɔ ni fula. Olu kɔni, senankun- olu yɛrɛ ye senanku yɛrɛyɛrɛ le ye. Olu bɛ se ka senankuya kɛ ka ɲɛ.