The Meaning of the Ye Forms in Basse Mandinka


  • Alexander Andrason



African linguistics, Mande family, Manding tongues, verbal system, semantics


The present paper analyzes the semantic load of grams formed by means of the entity ye in the Mandinka variety spoken in Basse and neighboring villages in the easternmost part of Gambia. Such constructions may be divided into two classes: YE1 and YEs types. As for the YE1 variety, our evidence demonstrates that the construction is used as a present perfect (resultative, inclusive, iterative, experiential, indefinite and performative), past tense (perfective, simple and durative), pluperfect and future perfect. In conditional phrases, the formation introduces three sorts of meaning: hypothetical eventual activities, counterfactual but yet possible actions and unreal counterfactual past situations. When derived from certain verbs of receiving, perceiving and feeling, it functions as a simultaneous-resultative, stative and simple present and past. It is also found in proverbs with the value of a universal or habitual present. In respect to the YE2 gram, the meaning is invariably modal. The construction functions as a cohortative, imperative and jussive. The gram may also display real (present-future) and unreal (past) optative meanings. In dependent final subordinate clauses, the YE2 form is used with the force of a subjunctive purposive category, expressing goals and intentions.


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How to Cite

Andrason, A. (2021). The Meaning of the Ye Forms in Basse Mandinka. Philologia, 10(1), 21–38.



Nauka o jeziku/Linguistics