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Sent: May 05, 2008 X-posted from H-West-Africa A recent proposal on the Wikipedia article for "Bambara language" propts me to turn to this list for some feedback. It relates to the issue of where we are in the fashion of using "endonyms" for peoples and languages that was discussed on H-Africa & H-West-Africa in Dec. 2007 ("Names for African peoples & language"). The author of the request below makes a reasonable suggestion to consider changing the article name to "Bamana," but makes the use of "Bambara" sound like an unqualified insult. My response follows. Any comments on the background, claims, or appropriate course of action would be appreciated. ---- >From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Bambara_language#language_name : The name of this article needs to be changed, please. The term 'Bambara' floating around in other articles as an alternative name can still link to the new correctly titled article. The name of the ethnic group is the BAMANA and the language is BAMANA (English, German) or BAMANANKAN (lit. 'Bamana sound') in the native language. The term BAMBARA is pejorative on several levels. It's a mispronunciation by the Colonial French (and therefore smacks of colonialism) and has stuck in much of French literature as well as art circles. However, this article is English wiki, and Americans and British anthropologists, sociologists and LINGUISTS call the language BAMANA. The term BAMBARA meant 'riverworking / hardworking *slave*' during the slave trade in Senegal, used by the whites and the Wolof to refer to the Bamana, Boso, Kagoro, etc. And, BAMBARA literally means in Fula (and has connotations in other West African languages) 'pagan, infidel' as the Fula converted many other ethnic groups to Islam. Many Fula still consider the Bamana as 'bad muslims.' The term BAMBARA is tinted with racsim, colonialism, ethnic hatred/distrust and religious tension. Professionals call the language and its speakers the same term that those speakers do. The article's name needs to be changes. Using BAMBARA in Wiki is like titling a page Beaner or Yank or Lapp or Polack or Limey. Change it. 126.96.36.199 (talk) 02:34, 3 May 2008 (UTC) ----My Response to the above---- I'll post this issue to the MANSA-L list (of the Mande Studies Association), because I think the issue may not be as clear cut as you imply. I think the case for endonyms - as you put it "Professionals call the language and its speakers the same term that those speakers do" - is sometimes overstretched and many now recognize that it is not always appropriate and sometimes even awkward. Where a pejorative association is clear, I think we'd all agree that the change should have no question - we say "Soninke" and have long before Wikipedia dropped "Saracolle" for this reason. I'm not arguing against the change so much as asking for more clarity before it be considered. My understanding is that "Bambara" came into the European languages via Fula <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fula_language> pronunciation (Bammbaraajo/Bambaraa?e), but that it does not "literally mean in Fula (and has connotations in other West African languages) 'pagan, infidel'" (although it sounds a bit like a derivative of the root for carrying on the back - wammb-). The history of the term is no doubt complex and I'd suggest more discussion before any attempt to move the articles.--A12n (talk) 14:56, 3 May 2008 (UTC)