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Languages of Guinea

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Republic of Guinea, République de Guinée. 9,003,000. National or official languages: French, regional languages: Northern Kissi, Guinea Kpelle, Eastern Maninkakan, Pular, Susu, Toma. Literacy rate: 28%–35%. Immigrant languages: Bambara, Bandi (7,000), Krio, Soninke. Also includes languages of Lebanon and Europe. Information mainly from J. Bendor-Samuel and Hartell 1989; C. Voegelin and F. Voegelin 1977. Blind population: 45,000 (1982 WCE). Deaf institutions: 3. The number of individual languages listed for Guinea is 37. Of those, 34 are living languages, 1 is a second language without mother-tongue speakers, and 2 have no known speakers.
Badyara

[pbp] 6,300 in Guinea (1998 NTM). Population total all countries: 12,730. Koundara region. Also in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal. Alternate names: Badara, Badian, Badjara, Badyaranke, Bigola, Gola, Pajade, Pajadinka.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 52% with Biafada [bif], the most similar language.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Tenda 
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Baga Binari

[bcg] 3,000. Boké region, coast east of Nunez River. Alternate names: Baka, Binari, Kalum, Mborin.  Dialects: Similar to Landoma [ldm], Themne [tem].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Temne, Baga 
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Baga Kaloum

[bqf] Extinct.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Temne, Baga 
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Baga Koga

[bgo] Ethnic population: 5,000. Coast between Pongo and Konkouré rivers, extending to Île de Kito. Alternate names: Baka, Koba, Koga.  Dialects: Similar to Landoma [ldm], Themne [tem].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Temne, Baga  Nearly extinct.
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Baga Manduri

[bmd] 4,000. Nunez River delta islands, Kanfarande Subprefecture, Dobale area. Alternate names: Baka, Maduri, Mandari, Mandore, Mandori, Manduri.  Dialects: Similar to Landoma [ldm], Themne [tem].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Temne, Baga 
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Baga Mboteni

[bgm] Ethnic population: 4,893. South of Nunez River. Dialects: Related to Nalu [naj], Mbulungish [mbv].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Mbulungish-Nalu  Nearly extinct.
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Baga Sitemu

[bsp] 4,000. Boké and Boffa regions, Nunez River south bank. Alternate names: Baka, Rio Pongo Baga, Sitemuú, Stem Baga, Tchitem.  Dialects: Similar to Landoma [ldm], Themne [tem].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Temne, Baga 
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Baga Sobané

[bsv] Extinct. Between Kapatchez and Pongo rivers. Alternate names: Baga Kakissa, Baka, Sobané.  Dialects: Similar to Landoma [ldm], Themne [tem].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Temne, Baga 
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Bassari

[bsc] 8,600 in Guinea (Vanderaa 1991).  Alternate names: Ayan, Basari, Biyan, Oneyan, Onian, Tenda Basari, Wo.  Dialects: Southern Bassari.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Tenda 
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Bullom So

[buy] Few in Guinea (2001). Along the coast to Sierra Leone border. Alternate names: Bolom, Bulem, Bullin, Bullun, Mandenyi, Mandingi, Mmani, Northern Bullom.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Bullom-Kissi, Bullom, Northern 
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Dan

[daf] 800 in Guinea (2001 G. Pruett). Lola Prefecture, east of Nzoo on Côte d’Ivoire border, Kogota village. Alternate names: Da, Gio, Gio-Dan, Gyo, Yacouba, Yakuba.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Eastern, Southeastern, Guro-Tura, Tura-Dan-Mano, Tura-Dan 
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French

[fra]   Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, French 
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Guinean Sign Language

[gus]  Conakry. Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Jahanka

[jad] 12,600 in Guinea (1991). Population total all countries: 13,100. Touba area and Toubadinque near Gaoual, border area with Mali. Also in Mali. Alternate names: Diakhanke, Diakkanke, Dyakanke, Jahanque, Jahonque, Jaxanka.  Dialects: Jahanka in Gambia may be same language, or a dialect of Western Maninkakan [mlq]. Jahanka in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau is a dialect of Western Maninkakan. Lexical similarity: 75% with Mandinka [mnk].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding 
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Kakabe

[kke] 4,100 (2006). East of Timbo, Sokotoro, Wure Kaba, and 33 other villages. Alternate names: Fulajon Kan, Jon Kule, Ourekabakan.  Dialects: Similar to Mixifore [mfg] linguistically, but 250 km apart. Lexically similarity 50% with Eastern Maninkakan [emk], 58% with Mixifore (Rainwater 2002).  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Mokole 
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Kissi, Northern

[kqs] 287,000 in Guinea (Vanderaa 1991). Population total all countries: 327,000. South central, Kissidougou region. Also in Sierra Leone. Alternate names: Gizi, Kisi, Kisie, Kissien.  Dialects: Liaro, Kama, Teng, Tung. Similar to Sherbro [bun]. Southern Kissi [kss] of Liberia and Sierra Leone is different.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Bullom-Kissi, Kissi 
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Kono

[knu] 90,000 (2001). Southeast at Liberia border. Dialects: Lexical similarity: 52%–67% with Kpelle [gkp].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Southwestern, Kpelle 
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Kpelle, Guinea

[gkp] 308,000 (Vanderaa 1991). Southeast at Liberia border. Alternate names: Akpese, Gbese, Gerse, Gerze, Guerze, Kpele, Kpelese, Kpelesetina, Kperese, Kpese, Kpwessi, Northern Kpele, Pessa, Pessy.  Dialects: Different enough from Kpelle [xpe] of Liberia to need separate materials. Lexical similarity: 52%–67% with Kono [knu].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Southwestern, Kpelle 
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Kuranko

[knk] 55,200 in Guinea (1991). Between Faranah and Kissidougou and toward Kerouané. Alternate names: Koranko.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Mokole 
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Landoma

[ldm] 14,400 (Vanderaa 1991). Between upper Rio Nunez and upper Rio Pongas. Alternate names: Cocoli, Landouman, Landuma, Tiapi, Tyapi, Tyopi.  Dialects: Tiapi (Tapessi). Similar to Binari Baga [bcg], Themne [tem].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Temne, Baga 
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Lele

[llc] 23,000 (1998 B. Willits). 12,000 in Kissidougou Prefecture and 11,000 in Guekedou. West and southwest of Kissidou, Mato River west. Main centers: Yombiro, Tangalto, and Kassadou. Dialects: Yombiro Lele (North Lele), Tangalto Lele (East Lele), Kassadou Lele (South Lele), Kounte Lele (Central Lele). Kassadou cannot understand Tangalto. Lexical similarity: 55% with Eastern Maninkakan [emk] and Mixifore [mfg], 73% with Kuranko [knk] of Sierra Leone.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Mokole 
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Limba, East

[lma] 4,000 in Guinea (Johnstone 1993). 2,000 speakers of the Ke subdialect of Northern Limba (1991 J. Kaiser). Population total all countries: 4,600. Also in Sierra Leone. Alternate names: Yimba, Yumba.  Dialects: Northern Limba (Warawara, Ke-Woya-Yaka).  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Limba 
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Mandingo

[man] A macrolanguage.  Population total all countries: 4,536,995. 
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Maninka, Konyanka

[mku] 128,000 in Guinea (1986). Population total all countries: 167,200. Beyla region. Also in Liberia. Alternate names: Konya, Konyakakan.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 72% with Eastern Maninkakan [emk].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding, Manding-East, Southeastern Manding 
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Maninka, Sankaran

[msc] 77,000 (2006).  Alternate names: Faranah, Sankarankan.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 79% with Eastern Maninkakan [emk].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding, Manding-East, Southeastern Manding 
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Maninkakan, Eastern

[emk] 1,890,000 in Guinea (1986). 73,500 Wasulu. Population total all countries: 2,031,800. Widespread in upper region; central, Kankan region; forest region near Liberia. Also in Liberia, Sierra Leone. Alternate names: Eastern Malinke, Kankan Maninka, Mande, Maninka, Southern Maninka.  Dialects: Bö, Amana (Kourousa), Koulounkalan, Maninka-Mori (Mori), Wasulu (Wassulu, Wassulunka, Wassulunke). Maninka of Liberia is the same as Maninka of Guinea (Eastern Maninkakan), Bambara [bam] of Mali and parts of Senegal is not vastly different. Eastern Maninkakan of Côte d’Ivoire is similar to Bambara; Western Maninkakan [mlq] of south central and southeast Senegal is considerably different. Lexical similarity 92% with the Wasulu dialect, 79% with Sankaran Maninka [msc], 72% with Konyanka Maninka [mku].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding, Manding-East, Southeastern Manding 
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Mann

[mev] 71,000 in Guinea (1997 M. Mamy). Nzérékore Prefecture (40,536) east of Kpelle; Lola Prefecture (16,486); Yomou Prefecture (14,000). Alternate names: Maa, Mah, Mano, Mawe.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Eastern, Southeastern, Guro-Tura, Tura-Dan-Mano, Mano 
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Manya

[mzj] 25,000 in Guinea (1997 G. Pruett). Macenta Prefecture. Alternate names: Mandingo, Maniya, Manya Kan.  Dialects: Manya, Koinyaka.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding, Manding-East, Southeastern Manding 
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Mbulungish

[mbv] 5,000 (1998 B. Willits). Coast north of Nunez River. 22 villages. Alternate names: Baga Foré, Baga Monson, Black Baga, Bulunits, Longich, Monchon, Monshon.  Dialects: Related to Nalu [naj], Baga Mboteni [bgm].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Mbulungish-Nalu 
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Mixifore

[mfg] 3,600 (1991). Central. Alternate names: Mikifore, Mogofin.  Dialects: Apparently similar to the Vai-Kono-Kuranko subgroup (1995 V. Vydrine). Lexical similarity: 51% with Eastern Maninkakan [emk], 55% with Lele [llc], 54%–58% with varieties of Kuranko [knk].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Mokole 
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Nalu

[naj] 13,000 in Guinea (Johnstone 1993). Population total all countries: 21,830. Near Boke, Katchek Island. Also in Guinea-Bissau. Alternate names: Nalou.  Dialects: Related to Mbulungish [mbv], Baga Mboteni [bgm].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Mbulungish-Nalu 
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N’ko

[nqo]  Also in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone. Classification: Mixed language 
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Pulaar

[fuc] 24,000 in Guinea (1991). Dinguiray (Pulaar), 1 village; near Sareboido, a few villages. Alternate names: Fulfulde Pulaar, Haalpulaar, Peul, Peulh.  Dialects: Toucouleur (Tukulor, Tukolor, Pulaar, Futa Toro), Fulacunda (Fulakunda, Fulkunda, Fula Preto).  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fulani-Wolof, Fula, Western 
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Pular

[fuf] 2,550,000 in Guinea (Vanderaa 1991). Population total all countries: 2,929,200. Northwest, Fouta Djallon area. Also in Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone. Alternate names: Foula Fouta, Fouta Dyalon, Fulbe, Fulfulde Jalon, Fullo Fuuta, Futa Fula, Futa Jallon, Fuuta Jalon, Jalon.  Dialects: Kebu Fula, Fula Peta. Different enough from Pulaar [fuc] in Senegal to need separate literature. In Sierra Leone, recent immigrants from Guinea speak the original Futa Jalon dialect or the Kebu dialect (Dalby 1962). A slightly modified form of Futa Jalon is known as Krio Fula with many loans from Sierra Leone languages.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fulani-Wolof, Fula, West Central 
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Susu

[sus] 906,000 in Guinea (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001). Population total all countries: 1,060,280. Mainly southwest and west. Also in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone. Alternate names: Sose, Soso, Soussou, Susoo.  Dialects: Distinct from Yalunka [yal].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Susu-Yalunka 
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Toma

[tod] 144,000 (Vanderaa 1991). South, between Macenta and Kissidougou. Alternate names: Toa, Toale, Toali, Tooma.  Dialects: Distinct enough from Loma [lom] of Liberia to need separate literature.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Southwestern, Mende-Loma, Loma 
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Wamey

[cou] 5,270 in Guinea (2001 G. Pruett). Koundara region and Youkounkoun area, to Senegal border. Alternate names: Cogniagui, Conhague, Coniagui, Koniagi, Konyagi, Tenda, Wamay, Wamei.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Tenda 
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Yalunka

[yal] 55,500 in Guinea (2002 SIL). Population total all countries: 104,500. West of Faranah, south toward Sierra Leone border, north to Passaya; Balaki Subprefecture, Senegal-Mali border. Also in Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone. Alternate names: Dialonke, Djallonke, Dyalonke, Jalonke, Jalunga, Yalunke.  Dialects: Sulima, Firia. Similar to Susu [sus], but only marginally intelligible. Lexical similarity: 83%–92% among dialects.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Susu-Yalunka 
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