My Mandinka Language Course

Hello! I noticed there were not many good courses on Memrise for learning Mandinka. One course is pretty extensive with vocabulary, but it does not give each lesson a name, just a number. So it is not that useful.

I did not copy these from any dictionary or other resource, it is from my own materials that I created while living in a Mandinka community in the southern part of the Fatick region in Senegal, near Karang, from 2017-2019 with the Peace Corps.

I do not use the traditional Mandinka orthography with doubled letters, as I think it is better depicted with just an accent mark to show stress. When writing and one cannot use special characters (accent marks, Ŋŋ, Ññ) alternative spellings are given/accepted in these courses. I believe that once you really HEAR (know/speak) Mandinka, you understand the stress patterns and don’t even need accented or doubled vowels. But for learning it’s important.

Another addition to the orthography I have added is for contractions. Unlike English where the contractions are optional, often in Mandinka it is quite mandatory and nobody will understand your Mandinka if you don’t do the proper contractions. I’ve never seen it reflected in writing, which causes all learners to make the same mistakes, such as pronouncing “M be a’samba la” because that was how they learned it… when really it is always pronounced “M b-a’sambala”.

I plan to add a lot more to this course, as I have a lot of additional materials I created, as well as audio.

For those who speak Mandinka, I hope I did justice in presenting your language. To everyone else, I hope you learn some Mandinka and share it with your friends or anyone you think may be interested. It is such a beautiful language and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to live with Mandinkolu and learn this amazing kaŋo!

Al baraka