A language of Burkina Faso

Alternate Names

130,000 (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001).


North and central Sanguie Province: Réo, Kyon, Tenado, Dassa, Didyr, Godyr, and Kordie subdistricts, Réo principal center; adjacent areas in Passore, Boulkiemde, and Nayala provinces; 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 Southern Lyélé dialect. Kandéré have 75% comprehension of Southern Lyélé; Southern Lyélé understand all dialects except Kandéré well. Reportedly 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. Also use French [fra], Jula [dyu], Mòoré [mos]. Used as L2 by Northern Nuni [nuv].

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 [Latn].

Other Comments

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