About “Learn Bambara”...
I made “learnbambara.com” as an extension of An ka taa, my US-based LLC that focuses primarily on providing resources, lessons and media for Manding learners and speakers.
I made it as a separate website because I realized that more people would be able to find me and my services with a more recognizable English-language URL.
My name is Coleman Donaldson (or Adama Diallo/Jalo if you prefer). I’ve been teaching, researching and promoting Bambara and Manding more broadly since 2009. Currently...
I teach Bambara through online lessons as well as online feedback programs that use WhatsApp and GoogleDocs
I write about Bambara and Manding on ankataa.com
I produce videos for learning Bambara and Manding on An ka taa’s YouTube channel
My journey with Bambara...
I originally began learning Manding in 2009 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso. Upon departing in 2011, I was certified as Advanced High in Jula during my final Language Proficiency Interview.
In 2011-2012 as a Fulbright scholar I attended l'Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris where I was a student of Manding linguistics and Bambara under Professor Valentin Vydrin.
Since 2012 I have been conducting linguistic, historical and qualitative research on speech and literacy practices in the Eastern Manding varieties of Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire
During my doctoral studies I benefited from two academic-year Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for studying Maninka through the N'ko writing system and one summer 2013 FLAS for Maninka to attend the Université de Julius Nyerere in Kankan, Guinea.
In 2016, I collaborated with a French company, Linguarena, to produce a French language textbook and app for learning Bambara.
I received my PhD in Educational Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. My dissertation focused linguistic ethnography of the Manding-speaking activism in the N’ko movement in West Africa and the diaspora.
I’m currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Ajami Lab at the University of Hamburg investigating Manding-language literacy practices and texts using the Arabic script.
You can learn more about my research career and other projects at my career website.