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Languages of Senegal

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Republic of Senegal, République du Sénégal. 11,770,000. National or official languages: Balanta-Ganja, Hassaniyya, Jola-Fonyi, Mandinka, Mandjak, Mankanya, Noon, Pulaar, Serer-Sine, Soninke, Wolof, French. Literacy rate: 39.3%, 51.1% men, 29.2% women. Immigrant languages: Bambara (60,800), Kabuverdianu (55,000), Krio (4,200), Mòoré (25,000), Papel (4,200), Portuguese (1,700), Susu (28,400), Vietnamese, Zenaga (1,900). Information mainly from Atlas National du Senegal 1977; A. Barry 1987; J. Bendor-Samuel and Hartell 1989; B. Hopkins 1995; J. Lopis 1980; Ministry of Education Government Decree 2006; D. Sapir 1971; UNESCO 2004; G. Williams 1993. Blind population: 22,000 (1982 WCE). Deaf institutions: 6. The number of individual languages listed for Senegal is 38. Of those, 37 are living languages and 1 is a second language without mother-tongue speakers.
Badyara

[pbp] 1,850 in Senegal (2006). South central, 1 all Badyara village. Alternate names: Badian, Badjara, Badjaranké, Bajara, Bigola, Gola, Kanjad, Pajade, Pajadinca, Pajadinka.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Tenda 
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Bainouk-Gunyaamolo

[bcz] 6,220 in Senegal (2006). Population total all countries: 32,520. North of Casamance River in triangle formed by Bignona, Tobor, and Niamone, north of Ziguinchor, across Casamance River. Niamone, Gunyaamolo area; Tobot, Gujaaxet area. Also in Gambia. Alternate names: Bagnoun, Bainuk, Banhum, Banyuk, Banyum, Banyun, Banyung, Elomay, Elunay, Ñuñ.  Dialects: Gujaaxet, Gunyamoolo. Dialects mutually intelligible. Similar to Kobiana [kcj] and Kasanga [ccj] of Guinea-Bissau. More closely related to the Tenda languages of eastern Senegal than to the neighboring Diola-Fogny [dyo] and Balanta [bjt]. Gunyuño in Guinea-Bissau is distinct.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Banyun 
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Bainouk-Samik

[bcb] 1,850 (2006). Casamance River south side, mainly in Samik area, about 20 km east of Ziguinchor; scattered villages north and east of Samik. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Banyun 
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Balanta-Ganja

[bjt] 82,800 (2006). Southwest corner, south of Casamance River, between Goudomp and Tanaff, and south. Alternate names: Alante, Balanda, Balant, Balante, Ballante, Belante, Brassa, Bulanda, Fjaa, Fraase.  Dialects: Fganja (Ganja), Fjaalib (Blip). A separate language from Balanta-Kentohe [ble] in Guinea-Bissau.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Balant-Ganja 
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Bandial

[bqj] 11,200 (2006), increasing. Between Casamance River north, the Kamobeul Bolôn west, Ziguinchor-Oussouye road south, and Brin-Nyassia road east, Affiniam, Badiate-Grand, Bandial, Brin, Enampor, Essil, Etama, Kamobeul, and Seleky villages; Affiniam village north of Casamance River. Alternate names: Banjaal, Eegima, Eegimaa.  Dialects: Affiniam, Bandial, Elun (Hulon, Kuluunaay, Kujireray). Lexical similarity: 74% between Bandial and Affiniam dialects, 76% between Bandial and Elun.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Jola Central, Gusilay 
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Bayot

[bda] 16,100 in Senegal (2006). Population total all countries: 18,790. Southwest of Ziguinchor, a cluster of villages grouped around Nyassia village. Also in Gambia, Guinea-Bissau. Alternate names: Baiot, Baiote, Bayotte.  Dialects: Essin. A dialect subgroup. Lexical similarity: 15%–18% with other Jola varieties (most similar).  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Bayot 
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Bedik

[tnr] 3,380 (2002 NTM). Southeast. Alternate names: Bande, Basari du Bandemba, Budik, Ménik, Tandanke, Tenda, Tendanke.  Dialects: Similar to Oniyan [bsc].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Tenda 
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Crioulo, Upper Guinea

[pov] 105,000 in Senegal (2007). Ziguinchor, Bignona, and Kolda. Alternate names: Kriulo, Portuguese Creole.  Dialects: Cacheu-Ziguinchor Creole.  Classification: Creole, Portuguese based 
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Ejamat

[eja] 2,230 in Senegal (2007 SIL). Extreme south, a handful of villages 5 to 7 km due south of Oussouye, including Kahem, Efok, Youtou. Alternate names: Ediamat, Feloup, Felup, Felupe, Floup, Flup, Fulup.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Jola Central, Her-Ejamat 
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French

[fra] 20,000 in Senegal (2006).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Rhaetian, Oïl, French 
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Fulah

[ful] A macrolanguage.  Population total all countries: 12,269,805. 
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Gusilay

[gsl] 15,400 (2006). Tionk Essil village, between Tendouck and Mlomp-North. Alternate names: Gusiilay, Gusilaay, Kusiilaay, Kusilay.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Jola Central, Gusilay 
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Hassaniyya

[mey] 7,190 in Senegal (2006). Northwest corner. Alternate names: Hasanya, Hassani, Hassaniya, Klem El Bithan.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Jalunga

[yal] 10,000 in Senegal (2007 NTM), increasing. Southeast, intersection of Mali, Guinea, and Senegal borders. Alternate names: Dialonké, Djallonke, Dyalonke, Jalonké, Yalunka, Yalunke.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Susu-Yalunka 
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Jola-Fonyi

[dyo] 340,000 in Senegal. Less than 10% are monolingual. 242,950 Fonyi, 96,660 Buluf. Population total all countries: 413,490. Casamance River south, strip just north of Senegal-Gambia border north, west by Diouloulou-Marigot tributary, east by Soungrougrou River, Bignona area; east and southeast of Ziguinchor. Also in Gambia, Guinea-Bissau. Alternate names: Diola-Fogny, Dyola, Jola-Fogny, Jóola-Fóoñi, Kujamataak, Kújoolaak kati Fóoñi, Yola.  Dialects: Buluf, Fonyi, Kombo, Kalounaye, Narang. Gusilay [gsl], Kuwaataay [cwt], Karon [krx], Mlomp [mlo], Kerak [hhr], Ejamat [eja], and Bayot [bda] are more distantly related to Fonyi, but they are close geographically. Jola-Fonyi is the largest and most widely understood Jola variety. Lexical similarity: 68% with Jola-Kasa [csk].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Jola Central, Jola-Fonyi 
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Jola-Kasa

[csk] 45,100 in Senegal (2007), increasing. Oussouye area, north to Casamance River, bounded by Kamobeul Bolôn tributary east, Kachiouane Bolôn west; Hitou and Niamoun villages north of Casamance River. Also in Gambia. Alternate names: Bacuki, Casa, Diola-Kasa, Jóola-Kaasa, Jóola-Kasa.  Dialects: Ayun, Esulalu (Esuulaalur, Oussouye, Mlomp South), Fluvial, Huluf, Selek, Bliss (Niomoun). Similar to Jola-Fonyi [dyo].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Jola Central, Jola-Kasa 
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Karon

[krx] 9,000 in Senegal (2007), increasing. Population total all countries: 15,000. Southwest coast, north from Bliss Island (Casamance River) to The Gambia border, and east to Dioloulou, Kafountine area. Also in Gambia. Alternate names: Jola-Karone, Kaloon, Karone.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 64% with Mlomp [mlo], the most similar (Jola) language.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Karon-Mlomp 
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Kerak

[hhr] 13,200 (2006). Extreme southwest corner before Guinea-Bissau border, Kabrousse village. Possibly other villages. Alternate names: Her, Keerak, Keeraku.  Dialects: Distinct from other Jola varieties. Lexical similarity: between Kerak and Ejamat [eja] estimated 70% by early survey work. More recent estimates put it closer to 90%.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Jola Central, Her-Ejamat 
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Kobiana

[kcj] 400 in Senegal (2006).  Alternate names: Buy, Cobiana, Uboi.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Nun 
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Kuwaataay

[cwt] 6,210 (2006). Diembering, Bouyouye, Nyikine, Boukot-Diola; coastal villages just south of Casamance River mouth; Dakar. Alternate names: Kwatay.  Dialects: Distinct from other Jola varieties. Lexical similarity: 40% with most similar Jola language.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Kwatay 
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Laalaa

[cae] 12,000 (2007). West central, north of Thies, Pambal area, Mbaraglov, Dougnan; Tambacounda area. Alternate names: Lala, Serer.  Dialects: 52% intelligibility with Noon [snf]. Lexical similarity: 84% with Noon, 74% with Saafi-Saafi [sav], 68% with Ndut [ndv] and Palor [fap], 22% with Serer-Sine [srr].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Cangin 
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Mandinka

[mnk] 669,000 in Senegal (2006). Population total all countries: 1,346,000. Southeast and south central. Also in Gambia, Guinea-Bissau. Alternate names: Mande, Manding, Mandingo, Mandingue, Mandinque, Socé.  Dialects: Mandinka, Eastern Maninkakan [emk], and Western Maninkakan [mlq] are separate languages. Lexical similarity: 79% with Kalanke, 75% with Jahanka [jad], 70% with Xaasongaxango [kao], 59% with Western Maninkakan, 53% with Eastern Maninkakan, 48% with Bambara [bam].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding, Manding-West 
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Mandjak

[mfv] 105,000 in Senegal (2006). Southwest. Alternate names: Kanyop, Majak, Mandjaque, Mandyak, Manjaca, Manjack, Manjaco, Manjak, Manjaku, Ndjak.  Dialects: Bok (Kabok, Sara, Teixeira Pinto, Tsaam), Likes-Utsia (Baraa, Kalkus), Cur (Churo), Lund, Yu (Pecixe).  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Manjaku-Papel 
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Maninkakan, Western

[mlq] 422,000 in Senegal (2006). Population total all countries: 525,300. East. Also in Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali. Alternate names: Malinka, Malinke, Maninga, Maninka-Western, Western Malinke.  Dialects: Jahanka (Jahanque, Jahonque, Diakkanke, Diakhanke, Kyakanke). Trace their origins to Soninke, but now speak a dialect of Malinke in Senegal (Western Maninkakan [mlq]). Vocabulary and grammar differences with Mandinka [mnk]. Lexical similarity: 59% with Mandinka.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding, Manding-West 
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Mankanya

[knf] 29,200 in Senegal (2006), increasing. South-west, mostly in the Casamance, scattered. Alternate names: Bola, Mancagne, Mancang, Mancanha, Mankanha, Mankaañ, Uhula.  Dialects: Uhula, Uwoh.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Manjaku-Papel 
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Mlomp

[mlo] 5,400 (2006). North of Casamance River, Mlomp village, 25 km east of Bignona, Tendouck to Tiobon road, Bignona Department, several surrounding villages, and scattered. Alternate names: Gulompaay, Mlomp North.  Dialects: Lexical similarity: 64% with Karon [krx] (most similar), 42% with the most similar other Jola language.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Bak, Jola, Jola Proper, Karon-Mlomp 
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Ndut

[ndv] 38,600 (2007). West central, northwest of Thiès. Alternate names: Ndoute.  Dialects: 32% intelligibility with Palor [fap]. Lexical similarity: 84% with Palor, 68% with Saafi-Saafi [sav], Noon [snf], and Lehar [cae], 22% with Serer-Sine [srr].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Cangin 
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N’ko

[nqo]   Classification: Mixed language 
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Noon

[snf] 32,900 (2007). Thiès area. Alternate names: Non, None, Serer, Serer-Noon.  Dialects: Padee, Cangin, Saawii. Noon is very different from Serer-Sine [srr]. 68% intelligibility with Lehar [cae]. Lexical similarity: 84% with Lehar, 74% with Safen [sav], 68% with Ndut [ndv] and Palor [fap], 22% with Serer-Sine.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Cangin 
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Oniyan

[bsc] 13,300 in Senegal (2006). Population total all countries: 22,510. Southeast, Upper Casamance, Edun area; border areas, Kedougou, Tambacounda. Also in Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau. Alternate names: Ayan, Basari, Bassari, Biyan, Onëyan, Onian, Tenda Basari, Wo.  Dialects: Northern Oniyan. Closely related to Bedik [tnr].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Tenda 
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Palor

[fap] 10,700 (2007), decreasing. West central, west southwest of Thiès. Alternate names: Falor, Palar, Serer, Siili, Siili-Mantine, Siili-Siili, Waro.  Dialects: Kajor, Ba’ol. 55% intelligibility with Ndut [ndv], 27% with Saafi-Saafi [sav]. Lexical similarity: 84% with Ndut, 74% with Saafi-Saafi, 68% with Noon [snf] and Lehar [cae], 22% with Serer-Sine [srr].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Cangin 
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Pulaar

[fuc] 2,740,000 in Senegal (2006). Population total all countries: 3,691,000. Fulbe Jeeri and Toucouleur primarily in Senegal River Valley and Mauritania; Fulacunda in Upper Casamance region, west of Kolda to Gambia River headwaters east, from Senegal south border to Gambian border north. Also in Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania. Alternate names: Peul, Peulh, Pulaar Fulfulde.  Dialects: Toucouleur (Tukolor, Tukulor, Tokilor, Pulaar, Haalpulaar, Fulbe Jeeri), Fulacunda (Fulakunda, Fulkunda). Fulbe Jeeri and Toucouleur (Haalpulaar’en) are separate ethnic groups. Jeeri is a geographical region in which a large number of diverse lineages still follow a seminomadic life. 3 families are subdivided into at least 20 lineages, each of which has dialect differences; all are inherently intelligible. Bunndu is a Fula geopolitical state composed of a mix of Toucouleur and Fulbe Jeeri. Fuuta Tooro (Fouta Toro) was a major Toucouleur geopolitical state, which has its seat in northern Senegal, and is also in Mauritania. Fulacunda is an ethnic group whose region is called Fuladu in the Upper Casamance area of Senegal. Different enough from Pular to need separate literature. Related to Maasina Fulfulde [ffm].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fulani-Wolof, Fula, Western 
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Pular

[fuf] 150,000 in Senegal (2006).  Alternate names: Fouta Dyalon, Fullo Fuuta, Futa Fula, Futa Jallon, Fuuta Jalon.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fulani-Wolof, Fula, West Central 
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Saafi-Saafi

[sav] 114,000 (2007), increasing. Triangle southwest of and near Thiès (between Diamniadio, Popenguine, and Thiès). 60 villages: 43 are over 80% Saafi, 8 are under 50%. Alternate names: Saafi, Safen, Safi, Safi-Safi, Sereer Saafen, Serer-Safen, Serere-Saafen.  Dialects: Boukhou, Sebikotane, Sindia, Hasab, Diobass. Dialects are named after villages and a zone (Diobass). Lexical similarity: 74% with Noon [snf], Lehar [cae], and Palor [fap]; 68% with Ndut [ndv]; 22% with Serer-Sine [srr].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Cangin 
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Serer-Sine

[srr] 1,130,000 in Senegal. Population total all countries: 1,161,900. West central; Sine and Saloum River valleys. Also in Gambia. Alternate names: Seereer, Seex, Sereer, Serer, Serer-Sin, Sérère-Sine, Serrer, Sine-Saloum, Sine-Sine.  Dialects: Segum, Fadyut-Palmerin, Sine, Dyegueme (Gyegem), Niominka. The Niominka and Serere-Sine dialects mutually inherently intelligible.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Serer 
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Soninke

[snk] 250,000 in Senegal (2007 LeClerc). North and south of Bakel along Senegal River. Bakel, Ouaoundé, Moudéri, and Yaféra are principal towns. Alternate names: Marka, Maraka, Sarahole, Sarakole, Sarangkolle, Sarawule, Serahule, Serahuli, Silabe, Toubakai, Walpre.  Dialects: Azer (Adjer, Aser), Gadyaga.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Northwestern, Soninke-Bobo, Soninke-Boso, Soninke 
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Wamey

[cou] 18,400 in Senegal (2007), decreasing. Population total all countries: 23,670. Southeast and central along Guinea border, pockets, usually beside Pulaar [fuc]. Also in Guinea. Alternate names: Conhague, Coniagui, Koniagui, Konyagi, Wamei.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Eastern Senegal-Guinea, Tenda 
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Wolof

[wol] 3,930,000 in Senegal (2006). Population total all countries: 3,976,500. West and central, Senegal River left bank to Cape Vert. Also in France, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania. Alternate names: Ouolof, Volof, Walaf, Waro-Waro, Yallof.  Dialects: Baol, Cayor, Dyolof (Djolof, Jolof), Lebou (Lebu), Jander. Different from Wolof of Gambia [wof].  Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fula-Wolof, Wolof 
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Xasonga

[kao] 9,010 in Senegal (2006).  Alternate names: Kasonke, Kasso, Kasson, Kassonke, Khasonke, Xaasonga, Xaasongaxango, Xasonke.  Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding, Manding-West 
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