Ethnologue: Areas: Africa

Mali

10,878,000 (1995). Republic of Mali. République du Mali. Formerly French Sudan. Literacy rate: men 26.64%, women: 11.35% (1987). Also includes Wolof. Information mainly from SIL 1996. Data accuracy estimate: A2, B. Muslim, traditional religion, Christian. Blind population 110,000 (1982 WCE). The number of languages listed for Mali is 32.

ARABIC, HASSANIYA (MAURE, MAURI, MOOR, SULAKA, HASANYA, HASSANI) [MEY] 106,100 in Mali (1991); 5,000 in Senegal (1993); 127,400 in Niger (1991); 1,800,000 in Mauritania (1991); 2,230,000 in all countries. Nioro and Nara. Also in Morocco and Algeria. Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic. Radio broadcasts. Speakers are called 'Maures' ('Moors'). 5,000 ethnic Fulani refugees from Mauritania are reported to be Hassaniya speakers. Muslim. Survey needed.

BAMBARA (BAMANA, BAMANAKAN) [BRA] 2,700,000 in Mali (1995), including 75,000 Gan (1991 Vanderaa); 4,200 in Gambia (1991); 300 in Burkina Faso (1991); 55,000 in Senegal (1991); 5,500 in Côte d'Ivoire (1993); 3,000,000 in all countries. Also in Guinea, Mauritania. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Northwestern, Northern, Greater Mandekan, Mandekan, Manding. Dialects: BAMANA (STANDARD BAMBARA), DYANGIRTE, KALONGO, MASASI, NYAMASA, SOMONO, TORO. There are many local dialects. The main division is Bamana, influenced heavily by Maninka, and rural dialects. Bambara dialects are spoken in varying degrees by 80% of the population. Radio broadcasts and adult education. Dictionaries. Grammar. National language. Muslim, traditional religion, Christian. Bible 1961-1987. NT 1933, in press (1995). Bible portions 1923-1942.

BANKA [BXW] 5,085 (1995 SIL). North of Sikasso in Danderesso Administrative District, towns of Nougoussouala (Nonko), Fourouma, Mamarasso (Mora), Famsara, and Zantiguila. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Unclassified. Spoken by children and adults as first language. Bambara is their second language. Banka is no longer spoken in Bambadougou (Faijanta), Nyaradougou (Jaata), Samogossoni, and possibly other towns, where the people now speak Bambara.

BOBO MADARÉ, NORTHERN (BOBO FING, BOBO FIGN, BOBO FI~, BOBO, BLACK BOBO, FINNG, BOBO DA) [BBO] 15,000 to 20,000 in Mali (1995 SIL); 35,000 in Burkina Faso (1995 SIL); 50,000 to 55,000 in both countries. An approximate rectangle in Mali around Bura and Mafune. Niger-Congo, Mande, Eastern, Bobo Fing. Dialects: BENGE, SOGOKIRI, SYA (SIA), VORE. Different from other Mande languages, particularly in the plural system. Separate literature may be needed for the Mali dialect. Some linguists treat Bobo as a separate major branch of Mande. Sya is the prestige dialect, and used for literature. The term 'Bobo' has been carelessly applied to the Bwa people or their languages Bwamu and Boomu. The Bambara names 'Black Bobo' (Bobo Fing) and 'Red Bobo' (Bobo Oule for Bwamu and Bomu) only add confusion. Grammar. Traditional religion, Muslim.

BOMU (BOOMU, BORE, WESTERN BOBO OULE, WESTERN RED BOBO, WESTERN BWAMU, BOBO WULE) [BMQ] 305,700 in Mali (1991); 56,000 in Burkina Faso (1991); 361,700 in all countries (1991 Vanderaa). A triangle between San and Sofara on the Bani River in Mali, and Soumbara, west of Nouna, in Burkina Faso. The Mao subdialect is separate from the others and straddles the Mali-Burkina Faso border about 40 kms. east-west by 20 kms. north-south, and is on the main San to the Bobo-Dioulasso road. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Bwamu. Dialects: DWEMU, DAHANMU. Bomu is the official spelling. The people call themselves 'Bo' (sg.), 'Bwa' (pl.), and their language 'Bomu' or 'Boré'. Dwemu subdialects are Terekongo (Terekoungo), Wahu (between Téné and the Bani River), Togo. Dahanmu subdialects are Koniko, Mandiakuy, Mao (Mahou). The Mao subdialect needs investigation for intelligibility with the others. The so-called 'Bobo Gbe (White Bobo, Kyan, Tian, Tyan)' were a mistakenly identified group of Bwa. Traditional religion. NT 1954-1980, out of print. Bible portions 1937-1994. Work in progress.

BOSO, HAINYAXO (HAINYAXO, HANYAXO, XANYAXO, XAN, HAIN, KELENGA, KÉLINGA, KÉLLINGUA, BOZO) [BZX] (117,696 all mother tongue Boso speakers 6 years and older; 1987 census). From Miérou (near Ke-Maacina) to Tamani on the Niger River. They can be found working the major rivers in much of West Africa. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Soninke-Bozo. 48% lexical similarity with Tieyaxo Boso (closest). They call themselves 'Hain' (Xan; sg.) and their language 'Hainyaxo'. They accept the Bambara term 'Boso' to refer to all ethnic Bozo. Bambara is used as a second language. Fishermen. Muslim. Survey needed.

BOSO, SOROGAMA (SOROGAMA, COROGAMA, SORKO, SARKANCI, SARKAWA, JENAMA, NONONKE, BOZO) [BZE] 100,000 (1991 Vanderaa). Administrative circles of Djenné and Mopti. Between the Bani and Niger rivers (Pondori dialects), between the Diaka and Niger rivers (Kotya dialect), along the Niger River from Mopti to Lake Débo (Kouakourou and Débo dialects). Some in Côte d'Ivoire around the Ayamé, Kosson, and Ayamé dams. Also in Nigeria, where they mainly speak Hausa. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Soninke-Bozo. Dialects: NORTHERN PONDORI (JANAMA), SOUTHERN PONDORI (JANAMA), KOTYA (KOTYAXO), NORTHERN KORONDOUGOU, SOUTHERN KORONDOUGOU, DÉBO. They call themselves 'Sorogo' (sg.), Sorogoye (pl.), and their language 'Sorogama'. They accept the Bambara term 'Boso' to refer to the entire ethnic group. Some ethnic Marka and Somono live among them and speak Sorogama as mother tongue. 53% lexical similarity with Tieyaxo Boso (closest). Speakers of the northern dialects are somewhat bilingual in Songai and Fulfulde; of the southern dialects in Bambara. Fishermen (traditionally), sedentary agriculturalists. Muslim. Work in progress.

BOSO, TIÈMA CIÈWÈ (TIEMA CIEWE, TIÉ, BOZO) [BOO] 2,500, including 831 in Enguem, 1,315 in Aouré (1991). Administrative circle of Youwarou, Arrondissement Guidio Saré; Enghem (Enguem), Aouré (Aoré), and Kamago Sébi villages, where the Niger River leaves Lake Debo. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Soninke-Bozo. They call themselves 'Tié' (sg.) and their language 'Tièma Cèwè'. The Bambara term 'Boso' is accepted to refer to the entire ethnic group. 60% lexical similarity with Tieyaxo Boso. Fulfulde or Songai are used as second languages. Fishermen. Muslim. Survey needed.

BOSO, TIÉYAXO (TIEYAXO, TIGEMAXO, TIEMAXO, TYEYAXO, TIÉYAKHO, TIGUÉMAKHO, TIE, TÉGUÉ, BOZO) [BOZ] (117,696 all mother tongue Boso speakers 6 years and older in Mali; 1987 census). From Koa to Miérou on the Niger River, and Diafarabé to Sendédaga on the Diaka River (a tributary). They work the major rivers in much of West Africa. Also in Burkina Faso. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Soninke-Bozo. Some of the people are bilingual in Bambara or Fulfulde, depending on the region. 53% lexical similarity with Sorogama Boso (closest), 30% with Soninke. They call themselves 'Tié' (sg.), 'Tieye' (pl.) and their language 'Tieyaxo'. The term 'Boso' (Bambara term meaning 'house of bamboo') is accepted to refer to their ethnic group. Some ethnic Marka and Somono live among them and speak Tiéyaxo as their mother tongue. Swamp. Fishermen. Muslim.

DOGON [DOG] 462,000 in Mali (1995); 138,000 in Burkina Faso (1995); 600,000 in all countries (1995 V. Plungian). Around Bandiagara, southern edge of the Sahara. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Dogon. Dialects: TOMBO (TOMMO-SO), JAMSAI, BANKASS. Cliff dwellers. Not close to other languages. Radio broadcasts in Dogon. More than 15 'dialects', most inherently unintelligible to each others' speakers, especially Jamsai and Bankass. Survey needed. Agriculturalists. Traditional religion, Muslim, Christian. NT 1957-1994. Bible portions 1933-1984.

DUUNGO (SAMOGHO, SAMOGO, SAMORO, DU~U~, MALI DUUN, DUUNGOMA, WESTERN DUUN, DUUNGOMA) [DUX] 70,000 (1991 Vanderaa). 3rd Region (Sikasso), Circles of Kadiolo and Sikasso. The Mali dialect has over 40,000, with Kai the largest town. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Duun. 'Samogho' is the ethnic name used in Bambara, and is a cover term to include Duungoma, Bankagoma, and Jowulu speakers. Nearly everyone can speak Bambara. Students also speak French. Muslim, traditional religion.

FRENCH [FRN] 9,000 in Mali (1993 Johnstone); 72,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Romance. Official language for instruction in schools. Official language. Bible 1530-1986. NT 1474-1980. Bible portions 1483-1987.

FULFULDE, MAASINA (PEUL, MACINA) [FUL] 911,200 in Mali (1991); 7,300 in Ghana (1991); 1,200 in Côte d'Ivoire (1991); 919,700 in all countries (1991 Vanderaa). Central Mali. The western dialect is spoken around Segou and Macina. The eastern dialect is spoken from north of Mopti to Timbuctou. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fula-Wolof, Fulani, West Central. Dialects: WESTERN MACINA, EASTERN MACINA. Maasina in Mali is a major Fula geo-political state. There are some dialect differences, but popular opinion is that all dialects in Mali are inherently intelligible. Substantial Bambara influence. Some dialects in Burkina Faso may be inherently intelligible with Maasina. There is skewing between the ethnic and linguistic relationships. The people are called 'Fulbe' in Fulfulde, 'Peul' or 'Toucouleur' in French, 'Fulani' in English. Grammar. Dictionary. National language. Pastoralists. Muslim, Christian. Bible portions 1934. Work in progress.

FULFULDE, PULAAR (PEUL, PEUHL) [FUC] 175,000 in Mali, including 40,000 Fulbe Jeeri (1995); 1,946,000 in Senegal (1995); 150,000 in Mauritania; 214,000 in Gambia (1995); 24,000 in Guinea (1991); 180,000 in Guinea Bissau (1991); 2,689,000 in all countries. Settled primarily around Bandiagara and Ségou. Also in Burkina Faso and Nigeria. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fula-Wolof, Fulani, Western. Dialect: TOUCOULEUR (TUKOLOR, TUKULOR, PULAAR, HALPULAAR, HAALPULAAR, FULBE JEERI). Related to Maasina Fulfulde but distinct. Fulbe Jeeri is an ethnic group which speaks this language as mother tongue. Muslim. Bible portions 1982-1993. Work in progress.

FUUTA JALON (FUTA JALLON, FOUTA DYALON, FULFULDE JALON, FULLO FUUTA, FUTA FULA, FOULA FOUTA) [FUF] 50,000 in Mali (1991); 2,550,000 in Guinea (1991); 178,400 in Sierra Leone (1991); 100,000 in Senegal (1991); 3,000,000 in all countries (1991 WA). Western Mali from Guinea up to about Keniéba, especially in the administrative districts of Faléa and Faraba. Also in Guinea Bissau and Gambia. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fula-Wolof, Fulani, West Central. Muslim. Bible portions 1929-1975. Work in progress.

JOWULU (JO, SAMOGHO) [JOW] 9,100 (1991). 3rd Region, Circle of Kadiolo, Arrondissement of Loulouni. Also in Tena, Burkina Faso, the largest village of Jowulu speakers. Niger-Congo, Mande, Eastern, Unclassified. The name of the language is 'Jowulu', of the people 'Jotoni'. 'Samogho' is a cover term including the Duungo, Samo, Jowulu, languages and possibly others. Not closely related to Duun. The men speak Bambara fairly well. The few who have been to school speak and read French. The language was apparently not mentioned in linguistic publications before 1983. Traditional religion. Work in progress.

JULA (DYULA, DYOULA, DIULA, DIOULA, DJULA) [DYU] 50,000 in Mali (1991); 1,000,000 or more in all countries; 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 second language speakers (1990 SIL). Also in Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Northwestern, Northern, Greater Mandekan, Mandekan, Manding. Dialects: MALINKE, KONG JULA. Trade language. Muslim. NT 1994. Bible portions 1992.

KAGORO (KAKOLO) [XKG] 15,000 speakers (1991 Valentin Vydrin) out of an ethnic group of 21,500 (1991 Vanderaa). Kaarta-Bine and Gumbu regions. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Northwestern, Northern, Greater Mandekan, Mandekan, Manding. Many live among the Bambara and Soninke, and speak those languages as first or second language. Muslim (most), traditional religion. Survey needed.

KASSONKE (KHASSONKA, KHASSONKE, KHASONKE, KASONKE, KASSON, KASSO, XASONKE) [KAO] 120,000 in Mali (1991); 6,000 in Senegal (1991); 126,000 or more in all countries (1991 Vanderaa). Principal towns are Bafoulabé, Kayes, Kita, Yélémané. Also in Gambia. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Northwestern, Northern, Greater Mandekan, Mandekan, Manding. 70% lexical similarity with Mandinka of Gambia and Senegal, closer to Bambara in vocabulary. Most use Bambara as second language. Grammar. Muslim, traditional religion. Work in progress.

MALINKE (MALINKA, NORTHWESTERN MANINKA) [MLQ] 668,000 in Mali (1993 Johnstone), including 41,200 Wassulunke, 50,000 Fulanke (1991 Vanderaa); 258,500 in Senegal (1991); 73,500 Wassulunke in Guinea (1991); 15,000 Wassulunke in Côte d'Ivoire (1991); 1,015,000 in all countriese. Borders of Mali and Guinea. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Northwestern, Northern, Greater Mandekan, Mandekan, Manding. Dialects: WASULU (WASSULUNKA, WASSULUNKE), FULUNKE. 59% lexical similarity with Mandinka of Gambia and Senegal. The Fulanke live in the Kita area and have a Fulbe background. They speak Malinke. The Wassulunke are also former Fulbe. Their speech is between Bambara and Maninka, but they do not identify with either. It may be a separate language. Grammar. Muslim, traditional religion, Christian. Work in progress.

MOORE (MORE, MOLE, MOSSI, MOSHI) [MHM] 17,000 in Mali (1980); 4,500,000 in Burkina Faso (1995); 19,700 in Togo (1991 Vanderaa); 4,600,000 or more in all countries. Some villages in the Dogon area near the Burkina Faso border, and elsewhere. Also in Benin, Ghana, and Côte d'Ivoire. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Northwest. Speakers came into Mali from Burkina Faso during the colonial period. Traditional religion, Muslim. Bible 1983. NT 1939-1960. Bible portions 1930-1960.

NEMADI (NIMADI, NAMADI, NOMADI, IKOKU) [NED] 200 in all countries (1967 Gerteiny). Timbuktu into Mauritania. Unclassified. Nomadic. The language is reported to be influenced by Zenaga, Soninke, and Hassaniya Arabic. Desert. Hunter-gatherers. Non-Muslim or nominal Muslim. Survey needed.

PANA (SAMA) [PNQ] 2,800 in Mali (1982 SIL); 7,200 in Burkina Faso (1991 Vanderaa); 10,000 in all countries. South of Bandiagara, straddling the Mali-Burkina Faso border east of the Sourou River, due north of Kassoum in Burkina Faso. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Southern, Grusi, Northern. Dialects: PANA NORTH, PANA SOUTH. The people call themselves and their language 'Pana'. Survey needed.

SENOUFO, MAMARA (MINYANKA, MINYA, MIANKA, MINIANKA, MAMARA, TUPIIRE, BAMANA) [MYK] 500,000 (1991 SIL). Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Senufo, Suppire-Mamara. Dialects: SÕGHOO, BÀJII, NAFÃÃ, MÌJUU, KLE NOEHMÕ, NEJUU, KOLOO, KUJAA, SU~NÕÕ. Close to Supyire Senoufo, but intercomprehension is difficult. Their name for themselves is 'Bamana', but this is different from the Bambara dialect called ' Bamana'. Grammar. Traditional religion, Muslim, Christian. Bible portions 1967-1975. Work in progress.

SENOUFO, SHENARA (SHENARA, SENARE) [SHZ] 136,500 (1991 Vanderaa). South of the Duun language area. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Senufo, Senari. Intelligibility evaluation is needed with other Senoufo. Traditional religion, Muslim. Survey needed.

SENOUFO, SUPYIRE (SUPYIRE, SUP'IDE, SUPPIRE) [SPP] 364,000 (1991). At Sikasso. Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Senufo, Suppire-Mamara. Traditional religion, Muslim. Bible portions 1979-1982. Work in progress.

SONGAI (SONGHAI, SONGAY, SONGOY, SONGOI, SONGHAY, SONRAI, SONRHAI, KOROBORO) [SON] 600,000 in Mali (1991); 390,000 in Niger (1991); 122,700 in Burkina Faso (1991); 1,112,700 in all countries (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC). Southeast, along the Niger River from about Djenné in Mali to about 30 km. north of Niamey, Niger. Central Songai is around Hombori in Mali. Nilo-Saharan, Songhai. Dialects: WEST SONGAI (TOMBMATA, JENNE, TIMBUKTU, ARAOUAN), EAST SONGAI (GAO, GABERO, KEL ALKASEYBATEN, BAMBA), CENTRAL SONGAI (HOMBORI, TINIÉ, MARENSE, KAADO). Gao Songai is being actively promoted by the government through adult literacy classes and as the language of instruction at the primary level in some experimental schools. 77% lexical similarity between Gao and Timbuktu dialects, 50% lexical similarity with Tadaksahak. Kaado is a divergent dialect. Closely related languages: Dendi, Dyerma. Grammar. Trade language. Typology: Western Songai: SVO, Kaado: SOV; Kaado: 3 tones, Western Songai: no tones. Muslim. NT 1936-1976. Bible portions 1928. Work in progress.

SONINKE (MARKA, MARAKA, SARAKOLE, SARAKULE, SARAWULE, SERAHULI, SILABE, TOUBAKAI, WAKORE, GADYAGA, ASWANIK, DIAWARA) [SNN] 700,000 in Mali (1991), including 125,000 Diawara (1991 Vanderaa), 374,042 mother tongue Marka speakers 6 years and older (1987 census); 150,000 in Senegal; 30,000 in Mauritania; 90,000 in Burkina Faso (1991); 100,000 in Côte d'Ivoire (1991); 51,137 in Gambia (1983 census); 5,000 in Guinea Bissau (1993); 1,126,000 or more in all countries. Nioro, Nara, Banamba, Yélémané, Kayes are principal towns in Mali. Also in Guinea and possibly Niger. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Soninke-Bozo. Dialects: AZER (ADJER, ASER), KINBAKKA, XENQENNA. The Diawara (125,000 in 1993; Johnstone) live among the Soninke and speak Sarakole, but consider themselves to be separate from the Soninke. Radio and TV broadcasts. Muslim. Work in progress.

TADAKSAHAK (DAUSAHAQ, DAOUSSAK, DAOUSSAHAQ, DAWSAHAQ, DAOSAHAQ) [DSQ] 30,000 to 40,000 in Mali (1995); 1,800 in Algeria (1983); 32,800 to 42,000 in all countries. 7th region, about 300 km. east-west by 200 km. north-south with Ménaka as geographic center. They travel into Niger and Algeria. Nilo-Saharan, Songhai. They call themselves 'Idaksahak' (pl.), meaning 'Sons of Isaac', and their language 'Tadaksahak'. 50% lexical similarity with Gao Songai, 51% with Timbuktu Songai. Investigation needed to determine relationship with other northern Songai language varieties (Tasawaq (Ingelsi) and Tihishit (Tabarog, Tagdalt), Korandje at Tabelbala in Algeria, perhaps those at Tafilalt in Morocco). People are reported to be bilingual in Tamasheq, although women and children in isolated encampments understand very little. The cultue is shared with Tamasheq, and lexical similarity is higher in the domain of breeding and animal husbandry. Culturally closer to the Tuareg (Tamasheq). Typology: SVO, stress system. Traditionally nomadic herdsmen for the Iwellemmeden Tuareg nobility. Work in progress.

TAMAJEQ, TAHOUA (TAMAJAQ, TAMASHEQ, TOMACHECK, TAMASHEKIN, TUAREG, TOURAGE, TAHOUA, TAJAG) [TTQ] 190,000 in Mali (1991); 350,000 or more in Niger (1991 SIL); 540,000 in all countries. East Mali, Menaka and Gao regions. Also in Nigeria. Afro-Asiatic, Berber, Tamasheq, Southern. Dialects: TAWALLAMMET TAN DANNAG (IOULLEMMEDEN), TAWALLAMMAT TAN ATARAM. The people call themselves 'Kal Tamajaq'. Muslim. Bible portions 1979-1985. Work in progress.

TAMASHEQ, KIDAL (TOMACHECK, TAMASHEKIN, TUAREG, TIMBUKTU, KIDAL) [TAQ] 250,000 or more in Mali (1991); 20,000 to 30,000 in Burkina Faso (1991 SIL); 270,000 or more in all countries. Central, Timbuktu area, and northeast Mali. Also some in Algeria. Afro-Asiatic, Berber, Tamasheq, Southern. Dialects: TIMBUKTU (TOMBOUCTOU, TANASLAMT), TADGHAQ (KIDAL). The government is actively promoting the language through adult literacy classes and as the language of instruction at the primary level in some experimental schools. The people are called 'Tuareg' ('Targi', singular), the language 'Tamasheq'. It may be two separate languages. Pastoralists: cattle, goats, camels, donkeys. Muslim. Bible portions 1953. Work in progress.

YALUNKA (DJALLONKE, DYALONKE, DIALONKE, JALONKE, YALUNKE) [YAL] 10,000 in Mali (1991); 146,800 in Guinea (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC); 13,000 in Senegal (1991); 28,000 in Sierra Leone (1989 TISLL); 187,800 in all countries. West Mali, Faleya region. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Northwestern, Northern, Susu-Yalunka. Close to Susu, but only marginally intelligible. Muslim. NT 1976. Bible portions 1907. Work in progress.


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