What is Manding?
From a linguistic perspective, the languages commonly known as Bambara, Jula or Malinké (Bamanankan, Julakan and Maninkakan respectively) are actually the Eastern varieties within a larger language-dialect continuum known as Manding that spans from Senegal to Burkina Faso in West Africa.
While speakers of Manding varieties typically do not refer to it as such, the label is useful in the sense that Bambara, Jula and Malinké remain mutually intelligible and are frequently recognized by native speakers as being different varieties of but one language. The word ‘Manding’ is a Western adaptation of the word Màndén, the name of both a place and former West African polity now commonly referred to as the Mali Empire that at its apogee between the 13th and 15th centuries encompassed much of West Africa and in particular the modern day states of Guinea and Mali.
Given the historical weight of the Mali empire and the spread of the Manding-speaking Muslim trade and religious network, it is of little surprise that major Manding varieties of today (i.e., Malinké in Guinea, Bambara in Mali, and Jula in Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso), are widely used in their respective zones as trade languages between different peoples and language groups.
The Manding language-dialect continuum also encompasses the Western varieties frequently referred to as Mandinka or Mandingo and spoken primarily in the Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and in smaller enclaves in Sierra Leone and Liberia. While clearly related to the Eastern varieties, they are frequently not mutually intelligible with them.
Books, Articles, Apps, Audio etc.
Here’s a running list of resources for learning and investigating Manding that is currently under construction but hopefully is useful nonetheless:
Learner's Grammars and Texts [by author]
In Print or Available Online…
Bailleul’s Cours pratique de bambara; great text from Bambara’s premier Western lexicographer of the 20th century.
[German] Hentschel’s “Bambara für Mali - Wort für Wort”; small traveler’s introduction to language; sound from a linguistic perspective and marks tone.
Morales’s “J'apprends le bambara”
Peace Corps Mali’s “Introductory Bambara Language Training Program”; Manual with chapters that each include cultural notes, vocabulary, expressions, grammar and exercises around a single communicative task.
Harder to find…
Batienon’s “Cours d’initiation : Dioula”; nice small introduction to the language; produced locally in Burkina Faso; includes a small lexicon.
Bird (et al.)
Dumestre’s “Kó dì?: Cours de dioula”; old text published out of Côte d’Ivoire with beautiful images.
[German] Kastenholz’s Grundkurs Bambara (Manding) mit Texten
Bamadaba (Bambara-French dictionary adapted from Bailleul’s dictionary)
Malidaba (online Maninka-English/French/Russian dictionary)
Niggli’s 2016 SIL “Dioula - French - English Dictionary”
“Print Dictionaries for Learning Bambara” blogpost summary that I did
Bailleul’s “Dictionnaire bambara-français”
Vydrin’s Manding-English dictionary (one volume covering A, B, some of D and some other random entries)
Kantè’s ߒߞߏ ߞߘߐߦߌߘߊߟߊ߲ ߥߟߊ߫ ߝߛߊ߬ߙߌ߬ߟߊ߲ ߤߊߡߌ߲߫ ߞߘߐߝߐߟߊ߲ [The N’ko Dictionary].
Kone’s “Bamanankan Daɲɛfage” (a monolingual Bambara dictionary)
Braconnier’s “Dictionnaire du dioula d'Odienné” (out of print)
Dumestre’s “Grammaire fondamentale du bambara”
Creissels’s “Le malinké de Kita”
Kantè’s ߒߞߏ ߞߊ߲ߓߍ ߞߎ߲߬ߝߟߐ [The First Book of N’ko Grammar].
Kantè’s ߒߞߏ ߞߊ߲ߜߍ ߞߎ߲߬ߓߊߓߊ [The Big Book of N’ko Grammar].
Vydrin’s “Cours de grammaire bambara” (in press but unpublished as of 2019-02-27)
Electronic Maninka Library (Latin- and N'ko-based texts)
Electronic Bambara Library (Latin-based texts)
Kurana.net (the N’ko Quran in an interactive website form)
African Ajami Library (includes a collection of Mandinka Ajami texts)
African Languages Materials Archive (includes some texts in Jula, Bamanan etc.)
ALMA’s original website which includes the same texts but in a different browsing format
Africa’s Sources of Knowledge (includes a collection of “Bamanankan” texts in N’ko script and a Mandinka Ajami collection)
Map of the Manding language continuum. (Open-access map that I adapted from other data sources)
SIL's maps of the Manding language and dialect continuum (both as individual dialects and as a lingua franca)
“Bamanan.org”; site of resources from the Centres d'Etudes de Langue (CEL) of the Père blancs missionaries in Faladiè, Mali
“Mandenkan”; academic journal focused on the Mande language family (of which Manding is but one small piece)
Mande Studies Association (MANSA); academic association for academic or professional interests in the “Mande” (viz. Manding) region of West Africa
DiLAF Project Dictionaries; des dictionnaires bilingues de langues africaines (dont le bambara) en format XML
Flore Project; noms d'arbres dans différentes langues du Sahel (dont le bambara)
Na baro kè; YouTube video series of street-side chats in Manding that are subtitled
An ka taa’s YouTube channel also includes playlists of other outside videos related to the Manding language
Radio France International:
Kanjamadi; N’ko news website
Voice of America, Bambara; Has some short print articles in a French-like orthography
Technology for Typing
SIL IPA keyboards (what I use for writing Manding’s IPA characters and tones on Mac)
Keyman (common keyboard solution for PCs but also for other platforms for both Latin- and N’ko-based orthography)
Evertype’s N’ko keyboards (Mac; what I use for typing N’ko on my laptop)
JamraPatel’s N’ko desktop keyboards (Mac and PC)
r12a’s N’ko character picker
r12a’s Ajami character picker
Doulos SIL (I primarily use Doulos SIL and its compact version for properly rendering the full range of IPA characters and diacritics in Latin-based Manding)
Google Noto Fonts (install the N'ko version so that you can view the script properly on your computer)