A language of Burkina Faso

Alternate Names

130,000 (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001).


North and central Sanguié Province: Réo, Kyon, Tenado, Dassa, Didyr, Godyr, and Kordie subdistricts, Réo principal center. Thousands of migrants in neighboring countries, especially Côte d’Ivoire.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


Central Lyélé, Kandéré, Northern Lyélé, Southern Lyélé (Reo). Most Central and Northern Lyélé speakers have nearly 100% comprehension of the Southern Lyélé. Kandéré have 75% comprehension of Southern Lyélé; Southern Lyélé understand all dialects except Kandéré well. Similar to Nuni [nuv], but low mutual inherent intelligibility.


SVO; postpositions; genitives before noun heads; articles, adjectives, numerals, relatives after noun heads; question word initial; 1 prefix, 2 suffix; word order distinguishes subject and object; causatives; comparatives; CV, CVV; tonal

Language Use

About 50% age 15 or under. A few also use Jula [dyu], French [fra], or Mòoré [mos].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Growing number in Lyélé. Literacy rate in L2: 18% mainly in French, some in Mòoré. Government coordinated literacy program, 110 classes (1998). Satellite school project. NT: 2001.
Latin script.
Other Comments

Ethnic autonym: Lyela or Lela; Gurunsi is also used but applies more properly to the wider grouping. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.