4 pp. Roman, 247 pp.
1 map, 5 figures, 2 tables and numerous charts, annex: wordlists, original text with interlinear and French translation
Text language: French
Traditionally spoken around the town of Kita in Western Mali, the Kita-Malinké is a variant of the Manding languages of West Africa. This language group, also encompassing the official language of Mali, Bambara, are part of the Mande family of the Niger-Congo languages. Mutually intelligible and very closely related, they share 90% of their lexicon, the Manding languages form a network of dialects across a large part of West Africa. From Senegal and Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, to Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire and even as far as Sierra Leone and Liberia, Manding languages are understood or used as lingua franca.
The language under discussion here is part of the Western Manding languages. A vowel system with five distinctive vowels sets them apart form the eastern variants with seven distinctive vowels. However, the Kita is phonologically the closest to the eastern group. Additional distinctions in the tone system and morphosyntax makes it one of the typologically more interesting dialects in the region. As an introduction to the phonology and morphosyntax of Kita, this publication addresses Africanists, linguists and language enthusiasts alike. With no prior specialization on the languages of this part of the world, it is possible to gain insight into the Manding language family. For the purpose of this publication, informants from Bindougouba, 15 km from the city of Kita, supplied numerous data and language samples.
Due to its central location in the Manding area and very sparse language contact with non-Manding languages, Kita remains a very representative member of this geographically diverse language continuum.