A language of Mali

Alternate Names
Aswanek, Aswanik, Azer, Ceddo, Cheddo, Gangara, Genger, Kwara, Maraka, Marka, Markaajo, Markakan, Sarakole, Sarakolle, Sarakule, Sarakulle, Sarangkole, Sarangkolle, Saraxuli, Sebbe, Serahule, Serecole, Soninkanxanne, Sooninke, Wakkore, Wankara

1,280,000 in Mali (2009 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 2,114,000.


Kayes region: Kayes, Yélimané, and Nioro circles; Koulikoro region: Nara, Kolokani, Banamba, and Koulikoro circles; Ségou region: Ségou and Baraouéli circles. 6 principal towns, 163 villages.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Recognized language (1982, Decree No. 159 of 19 July, Article 1).


Geriga (Giriga), Kinbakka, Kinxenna. Giriga dialect heavily influenced by Hassaniya Arabic [mey].

Language Use

Vigorous. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Bamanankan [bam], French [fra], Hassaniyya [mey], Pulaar [fuc]. Used as L2 by Kagoro [xkg].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 5%–10%. At Bamako university, there are now many more Soninke students who choose this language than before, and numbers are rising. The language is also used in adult education in the Soninke region, especially around Yelimané (2013 SIL). Taught in some elementary schools. Poetry. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 2001–2012.

Arabic script [Arab]. Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Ethnic autonym: Sooninkanxanne. The Bambara refer to the Soninke as Marka and their language as Markakan; this name is different from the Marka [rkm] language. Muslim.

Also spoken in:

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