A Fulfulde (Maasina) - English - French Lexicon coverBetween 1987 and 1993 I worked on a compilation of lexical materials on the Fulfulde of Maasina (Maasinankoore, the main variety of Fula in Mali, which is centered on the area around the inland Niger delta). This was published in 1993 as:

Osborn, Donald, David J. Dwyer and Joseph I. Donohoe, Jr. 1993. A Fulfulde (Maasina)- English-French Lexicon: A Root-Based Compilation Drawn from Extant Sources Followed by English-Fulfulde and French-Fulfulde Listings. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. Pp. xx, 688.
"The Lexicon brings together lexical material from a wide range of published and non-published sources to create an extensive compilation of the vocabulary of Fulfulde as it is spoken in that part of central Mali known as Masina (in Fulfulde, Maasina). The Lexicon is intended primarily for non-Fulfulde speakers who are learning the language at the intermediate or advanced levels and who need access to a comprehensive reference source on Fulfulde vocabulary. Scholars, development workers, and others whose research or fieldwork involves use of the Fulfulde of Masina may find it helpful as well in clarifying nuances of meaning and standardized spelling for the less familiar terms they might encounter. It is also intended that the present work, beyond the matter of organizing vocabulary, will contribute significantly to the expanding lexicographical and linguistic investigations of Fulfulde."

The material is organized by roots (or key words). Each entry is annotated with information on sources and on range of use in other varieties of Fulfulde/Pulaar/Pular.


Unknown said...


I've just come across your blog. Interesting! Since you've been working on Maasinkankoore, I wonder if you based your work on Christiane Seydou's Dictionnaire des racines peules?


It would be good to read a bit more about your work, esp regarding literacy in local West African languages. I'll continue to delve ...


Mary Anderson (formerly McIntosh)

Don said...

Thank you Mary. The work I did on the lexicon, through publication, was several years before Christiane Seydou's dictionary of roots. That said, her work long predates mine and goes well beyond it. My particular focus on organizing by roots began when I started compiling lexicons and word lists on paper while in Djenné, Mali in 1984, and was inspired in part by Sonja Fagerberg-Diallo's publication on Maasinankoore.

I've referred to Mme. Seydou's root dictionary in some experimental work with Fula entries on Wiktionary (en.wiktionary.org) and have suggested it as the organizing principle for Fula entries in Kamusi's online dictionary (kamusi.org).

Although I am interested in literacy and pluriliteracy issues in Africa especially, that interest is in the context of language and communication for development. A lot of my work relates to localization, and there are important tie-ins with literacy and education ("ICT4E").

Please don't hesitate to contact me directly on gmail (dzosborn). I'd be interested to know more about your work as well.