Sierra Leone

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Bassa
[bsq] Western Area: urban district, Freetown. 5,730 in Sierra Leone (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kru, Western, Bassa Comments: Traditional religion.

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Bom
[bmf] Southern province: north Bonthe district, west of Waanje river. A few hundred speakers (2014 T. Childs). Status: 8b (Nearly extinct). Alternate Names: Bome, Bomo, Bum Dialects: Lexical similarity: 66%–69% with Sherbro [bun] dialects, 34% with Krim [krm]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Bullom-Kissi, Bullom, Northern Comments: Traditional religion.

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Bullom So
[buy] Northern province: Kambia district, Samu region; Guinea border coast to Sierra Leone river. 8,350 in Sierra Leone (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Bolom, Bulem, Bullin, Bullun, Mandenyi, Mandingi, Mani, Mmani, Northern Bullom Dialects: Kafu, Mmani. Bom [bmf] is closely related. Little intelligibility with Sherbro [bun], none with Krim [krm]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Bullom-Kissi, Bullom, Northern Comments: People intermarried with the Temne and the Susu. Traditional religion.

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English
[eng] 500,000 in Sierra Leone (Crystal 2003). L2 users: 4,400,000 in Sierra Leone (Crystal 2003). Status: 1 (National). De facto national language. Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English

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Gola
[gol] Eastern province: Kenema and Kailahun districts; Southern province: Pujehun district. Liberia border area and inland. 8,000 in Sierra Leone (1989 The Institute for Sierra Leonean Languages). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Gula Dialects: De (Deng), Kongbaa, Kpo, Managobla (Gobla), Senje (Sene), Tee (Tege), Toldil (Toodii). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Gola Comments: Different from Mumuye (Gola dialect) [mzm] of Nigeria or Gola [pbp] (Badyara) of Guinea-Bissau and Guinea. Muslim, Christian.

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Kisi, Southern
[kss] Eastern province: Kailahun district, Moa river area near both Guinea and Liberia borders. 85,000 in Sierra Leone (1995). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Gissi, Kisi, Kissien Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Bullom-Kissi, Kissi Comments: Different from Northern Kissi [kqs]. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

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Kissi, Northern
[kqs] Eastern province: Kono district, Guinea border and inland; Northern province: southeast corner, Koinadugu district. 40,000 in Sierra Leone (1991 LBT). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Gizi, Kisi, Kisie, Kissien Dialects: Kama, Liaro, Teng, Tung. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Bullom-Kissi, Kissi Comments: Different from Southern Kisi [kss]. Traditional religion.

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Klao
[klu] Western Area: urban district, Freetown; originally from Liberia. 9,620 in Sierra Leone (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Klaoh, Klau, Kroo, Kru Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kru, Western, Klao Comments: Originally from Liberia. Traditional religion.

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Kono
[kno] Eastern province: west and central Kona district; Northern province: Koinadugu district, south of Bagbe river. 205,000 (2006). L2 users: 25,000 (1981 D. Cranmer). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Konnoh Dialects: Central Kono (Fiama, Gbane, Gbane Kando, Gbense, Gorama Kono, Kamara, Lei, Mafindo, Nimi Koro, Nimi Yama, Penguia, Soa, Tankoro, Toli), Northern Kono (Sando). Not intelligible with Vai [vai]. Dialects have minor differences. Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Vai-Kono Comments: Different from Kono [knu] in Guinea. Traditional religion, Muslim.

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Krim
[krm] Southern province: Atlantic coast; Bonthe district, villages around lakes Kwako and Baiama. 15 (2014 T. Childs), decreasing. Status: 8b (Nearly extinct). Alternate Names: Kim, Kimi, Kirim, Kittim Dialects: None known. Lexical similarity: 44%–45% with Sherbro [bun], 34% with Northern Bullom [buy]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Bullom-Kissi, Bullom, Southern Comments: Traditional religion, Muslim.

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Krio
[kri] Western Area: Freetown peninsula communities; south of Freetown, York and Banana islands. 473,000 in Sierra Leone (1993). Population total all countries: 495,600. L2 users: 4,000,000 in Sierra Leone (1987 F. Jones). L2 users prefer indigenous languages for informal situations. Status: 3 (Wider communication). Alternate Names: Creole, Patois Dialects: Aku. Krio and Jamaican Creole [jam], and Krio and Sea Islands Creole [gul] may have some interintelligibility. Linguistic influence from Yoruba [yor] (Hancock 1987). Classification: Creole, English based, Atlantic, Krio Comments: L1 Krio speakers mainly descendants of repatriated slaves from Jamaica. Traditional religion, Christian.

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Kuranko
[knk] Northern province: Kabala area. 268,000 in Sierra Leone (2006). Population total all countries: 323,200. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Koranko Dialects: Barrawa, Mankaliya, Mongo, Ney, Nieni, Sambaya, Sengbe. Guinean Kuranko varieties represent a dialectal continuum between the Sierra-Leonean Kuranko and Eastern Maninkakan [emk]. Lexical similarity: 51% with Eastern Maninkakan [emk], 59% with Sankaran Maninka [msc], and 62% with Lele [llc] (2000 D. Rainwater). Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Mokole Comments: Traditional religion, Muslim.

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Limba, East
[lma] Northern province: eastern Bombali and western Koinadugu districts; Western Area:peninsula south of Freetown. 600 in Sierra Leone (2006). Status: 6b (Threatened). Alternate Names: Yimba, Yumba Dialects: Northern Limba (Ke-Woya-Yaka, Warawara), Southern Limba (Biriwa-Saroko-Kalantuba-Sunko). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Limba Comments: Traditional religion, Muslim.

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Limba, West-Central
[lia] Northern province: east Bombali and northeast Kambia districts, Little Scarcies river area; north of Makeni. 335,000 (1989 J. Kaiser). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Yimba, Yumba Dialects: Central Limba (Gbongogbo, Tamiso), Western Limba (Sela, Tonko). Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Limba Comments: Quite different from East Limba [lma] of Sierra Leone and Guinea. Traditional religion, Muslim.

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Loko
[lok] Northern province: Bombali district; Koya, Ribbi, and Bumpe chiefdom areas; Sanda Loko chiefdom. 138,000 (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Landogo Dialects: Buya, Gbendembu, Koya, Laia, Libisegahun, Magbiambo, Nagbanmba, Ngoahu, Ribbi, Sanda. Reportedly similar to Mende [men]. Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Southwestern, Mende-Loma, Mende-Bandi, Mende-Loko Comments: Traditional religion, Muslim.

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Maninkakan, Eastern
[emk] Northern province: Koinadugu district, Kabala area; small groups throughout the country. 108,000 in Sierra Leone (2006). Status: 3 (Wider communication). Alternate Names: Eastern Malinke, Kankan Maninka, Madingo, Malinké, Mande, Mandingo, Maninka, Maninka-Mori, Southern Malinke Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Manding-Mokole, Manding, Manding-East, Southeastern Manding Comments: Muslim.

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Mende
[men] Southern province: most of interior; Eastern province: Pujehun, Kenema, and Kailahun districts; Northern province: Bombali and Moyamba districts’ border areas; expanding along the coast and south and east. 1,480,000 in Sierra Leone (2006). Population total all countries: 1,499,700. Status: 3 (Wider communication). Alternate Names: Boumpe, Hulo, Kossa, Kosso Dialects: Ko, Kpa, Sewawa, Waanjama. Lexical similarity: 92%–98% among dialects. Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Southwestern, Mende-Loma, Mende-Bandi, Mende-Loko Comments: Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

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N’ko
[nqo] Widespread throughout West Africa, Mande language mixture. Status: 3 (Wider communication). Classification: Mixed language

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Pular
[fuf] Widespread but especially north. 178,000 in Sierra Leone (1991). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Fouta Dyalon, Fula, Fulbe, Fullo Fuuta, Futa, Futa Jallon, Fuuta Jalon Dialects: Kebu Fula, Krio Fula. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Northern, Senegambian, Fula-Wolof, Fula, West Central Comments: People live in settled and migrant communities. Muslim.

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Sherbro
[bun] Southern province: Mayamba and Bonthe districts; adjoining Western Area: Rural district, Ribbi Shenge, Ima, Sicie, Timdel, Benducha, and Nongoba; southwest coastal areas. 135,000 (1989 J. Kaiser). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Amampa, Mampa, Mampwa, Shiba, Southern Bullom Dialects: Ndema Sherbro, Peninsula Sherbro, Shenge Sherbro, Sitia Sherbro. Not intelligible with Krim [krm] or Bullom So [buy]. Shenge is the prestige dialect. Lexical similarity: 66%–69% with Bullom So [buy], 44%–45% with Krim [krm], 83%–89% among dialects. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Bullom-Kissi, Bullom, Southern Comments: Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

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Sierra Leone Sign Language
[sgx] Freetown. 200 (2008 WFD). Reportedly 200 deaf signers out of 3,000–5,000 total deaf (2008 WFD). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Classification: Deaf sign language

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Susu
[sus] Northern province: interspersed throughout western sections. 122,000 in Sierra Leone (2006). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Sose, Soso, Soussou, Susoo Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Susu-Yalunka Comments: Muslim.

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Themne
[tem] Northern province: Port Loko, Tonkolili, and Bombali districts; west of Sewa river to Little Scarcie; Southern province: northwest Moyamba district; Western Area: Rural district. 1,230,000 (2006). L2 users: 240,000 (1981 D. Cranmer). Status: 3 (Wider communication). Alternate Names: Temen, Temne, Timene, Timmannee, Timne Dialects: Banta, Bombali, Kholifa, Konike, Koya, Malal, Masingbi, Ribia, Sanda, Western Temne (Pil), Yoni. People claim to understand all dialects. Lexical similarity: 74% with Masingbi and Malal dialects, 70% with Konike dialect and western varieties. Classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Atlantic, Southern, Mel, Temne, Temne-Banta Comments: Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

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Vai
[vai] Southern province: Pujehun district, south corner. 15,500 in Sierra Leone (1991). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Gallinas, Gallines, Vei, Vy Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Manding-Jogo, Manding-Vai, Vai-Kono Comments: Muslim.

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Yalunka
[yal] Northern province: Balaki subprefecture, Yifin and Falaba areas, Balaki, Kunsi, Bouria, Solia, Foulaya, and Jouloubaya villages. 30,000 in Sierra Leone (2002 SIL). Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Dialonke, Djallonke, Jalonke, Jalunga, Kjalonke, Yalunke Dialects: Firia, Musaia, Sulima. Classification: Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Central-Southwestern, Central, Susu-Yalunka Comments: Muslim, traditional religion.

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