Saturday, April 01, 2006

Did thing say it or that one?

Yafatou with paano.
Originally uploaded by mchughtie.
I like the simplicity of pronouns here, how "ning" and "wo" (this and that) are just as naturally applied to objects, people, ideas. Without any supporting noun at all, "This is very rude" implies whatever you might be pointing at. "This cries all the time," "I wouldn't marry that." "It" follows suit in Mandinka, swallowing up him, her, he, she, with just an "a" "It said it was going to do it." The sensation of intuiting which what one is referring to is a bit like reading a Danielle Steele novel. You don't want to read too much into the specific language, lest you become confused by the lack of tense agreement and abuse of pronouns. It's better to ride the plot, look around for other clues, infer. Mandinka, like a good Steele novel, (is there such a thing?)takes advantage of its own predictability to avoid precision. I think this is perfect for the wandering Toubab, who's come in the middle of the story. It's good, that.