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Songhay, Koyra Chiini

A language of Mali

ISO 639-3khq

Population  200,000 (1999 SIL), increasing.
Region  Niger River from Djenné to east of Timbuktu.
Language map  Mali, Enlarged Area
Alternate names   Songai, Songay, Songhai, Songhay, Songhoy, Songoi, Songoy, Sonrai, Sonrhai, Timbuktu Songhoy, West Songhoy
Dialects  Koyra Chiini, Djenné Chiini. The main dialect division is between Timbuktu and the upriver towns from Diré to Niafunké. A very distinct dialect is in Djenné City. Closely related languages: Koyraboro Senni Songhay, Humburi Senni Songhay, Zarma, Dendi. Lexical similarity: 77% between Gao and Timbuktu dialects, 50% lexical similarity with Tadaksahak.
Classification  Nilo-Saharan, Songhai, Southern
Language use  All ages. Positive attitude. Timbuktu has more prestige than other West Songhoy dialects. In Timbuktu some also use French, Tamasheq [taq], or Arabic [mey]; In Djenné Most also use French, Bamanankan [bam], or other languages.
Language development  Taught in primary schools. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1936.
Writing system  Latin script.
Comments  Kaado (Zarma dialect in Niger) is SOV, West Songhay SVO. Djenné Chiini phonology, lexicon, basic inflection almost identical to Koyra Chiini, but syntax (especially relativization and focalization) very different; Djenné has 7 vowels to 5 for Koyra Chinni (J. Heath); Kaado has 3 tones, West Songhay no tones. Muslim, traditional religion.
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