Jam sai

Jam sai

Jam Sai (sometimes spelled Jamsay) is a variety of the Dogon languages spoken in Mali. It is known as "plains dialect" because it is spoken in Dogon villages that are not part of the Bandiagara Escarpment (the cliffs that the Dogon ethnic group is usually associated with). However, it does straddle much of the Bandiagara region. It is a major language in Koro, at the sound end of the escarpment, and stretches as far north as Douentza.

The dialect gets its name from a common response to a greeting: Jam sai, or "peace only." A typical Jam sai greeting goes like this:

:A: "Jam now" (do you have peace in the morning?):B: "Jam sai" (peace only):A: "Kanya now" (do your people have peace in the morning?):B: "Jam sai":A: "Taardé"

The greeting then repeats, with B asking all the same questions of A. "Taardé" is the way of the question asker telling the askee that he's done with his inquiry.

A few other common phrases and words:

* "E nam sayoba?" (Do your people have peace?)
* "Guinea nissama?" (Did you sleep well?)
* "Nya nyé (Eat!)
* "Ejuko" (Good)
* "Ejila" (Bad)
* "ni inim" (Bathe -- literally to put water on oneself)
* "Ewé" (market)
* "Yayerrem" (I will be right back -- literally "I am coming there")
* "miten" (friend. Can also mean boyfriend/girlfriend)

References

* Heath, Jeffrey (unpublished) [http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jheath/Jamsay_Grammar_Jan2008.pdf Jamsay Grammar] . University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


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