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> Jouni Maho wrote: > > As long as the context is English, a construction like "Fulbe woman" is > neither inappropriate nor wrong. ... > The only factors to consider is established usage and if it the choice > is generally considered offensive by the people to whom the name > applies > (or at least those whom a researcher has the opportunity to ask). In stict grmmatical terms Jouni is correct. I may be making too much a show of my fading command of the language, but "Fulbe" in English sounds to me out of place and forced, not to mention mispronounced. Moreover I'd contend that the impetus to be more "correct" in naming this people in English (and some other European languages) leads to less than "correct" usages once the name for the people is incorporated as a loan - and no matter how gramatically correct the loan's use may then be in the borrowing language(s). Jouni is also correct that we can't expect speakers of English to know the grammatical and morphological rules of languages from which we borrow terms. But I don't think those rules are totally irrelevant when considering incorporation of loanwords. If we really did need to borrow or coin a new way of referring to the people who call themselves Fulɓe, and wished to both be as authentic as possible and take into account how the new reference would work out in the borrowing language, we could do worse than to go back to the root in the source language - ful - which gives rise to all its nominal and adjectival forms that we wouldn't expect to import. In fact, I think that at one time Ful was used this way in German literature? Peul in French, although borrowed from Wolof, also sounds like the same root with the f/p shift. In any event, the terms Fula (from Manding) and Fulani (from Hausa) seem pretty established in English. In effect, neighbors of the people in question seem to have long ago adapted terms in their own languages from that very same root - ful - and we've in turn borrowed those terms in English. How is there a problem with that? The borrowed terms are not disrespectful (other than the odd coincidence that a Manding speaker hearing "Fulani" may think of the derogative reference, "little Fula"). A general problem in seeking to rewrite the terminology in English for African peoples is that despite the good intention, it adds another layer of synonyms and the potential for confusion among learners and non-Africanist scholars. I don't have an example here other than the use of "Peul" in some artices in English in past years, as if the authors were not clear on the common "ethnicity" of the people they described (in Francophone states) and the Fula/Fulani who they had no doubt had heard of in different contexts. Are there costs in terms of understanding and "identity" of peoples when terms for them are added or changed? Do people get confused about the relationship between "the Bambara" and "the Bamanan"? Another element of confusion comes when some formulations are imported like "Bamanankan," "Kiswahili," "isiZulu" etc. for the languages. Here again the impetus to have a more "correct" usage either adds to our repetoire of synonyms or needlessly complicates life. If we do adopt "Bamanan" in the place of "Bambara" then "Bamanan language" and "Bamanankan" and the inevitable if redundant "Bamanankan language" are all acceptable? Unwittingly we end up importing some of the source language's morphology, even though we cannot expect people to learn that, and complicating the lexicon that much more. One could go on, but let me close by suggesting that there is another issue peeking at us from the future: Is this sort of debate a part of a larger planetization of language in a world with steadily enhanced communications? The assertion that English should absorb endonyms/autonyms of diverse peoples may be related more to that language's increasingly international role. The extent to which this logic extends also to other languages - for better or worse - makes the phenomenon even more worth considering seriously (despite the tediousness that my discussion here is no doubt giving the subject). Another aspect of this emerging phenomenon - coming back to the question I rasied above about the complexification of terminologies for peoples - may be a greater flexibility/sophistication in nomenclature: For instance in the case of the people who call themselves Fulɓe and their language, a range of terms deriving from the Ful- root (Fula, Fulani, Fulbe, Fulfulde, Pulaar, Peul, etc.) might just have to coexist in the literature, journalism, etc., with ways to guide/educate the uninitiated. We learn in school that Franco- relates to French, Sino- to Chinese, Luso- to Portuguese, Hisp- to Spanish, etc., so perhaps also Ful-/Pul- as the basis for a range of acceptable terms about a particular people and their culture should be part of our education? So, could that also mean coexistence of Bam- terms (Bambara, Bamanan), even though Bam- is not a root in the sense that Ful- is (Manding languages not working that way)? Or is it preferable to have it out between those who would prefer one or the other?