A language of Mauritania

Alternate Names
Hasanya, Hasanya Arabic, Hassani, Hassania, Hassaniya, Hassaniyya Arabic, Klem El Bithan, Maure

2,770,000 in Mauritania (2006), increasing. Population total all countries: 3,278,190.


Also in Algeria (Hassaniyya Arabic), Libya (Hassaniyya Arabic), Mali (Hasanya Arabic), Morocco (Hassaniyya Arabic), Niger (Hassaniyya Arabic), Senegal, Western Sahara (Hassaniyya Arabic).

Language Status

3 (Wider communication). Statutory language of national identity (1991, Constitution, Article 6).


Not intelligible with other Arabic varieties. The Nemadi (Ikoku) are an ethnic group of 200 (1967) that speak Hassaniyya, but they have special morphemes for dogs, hunting, and houses. Nomadic between Mali and Mauritania.

Language Use

Vigorous. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 40% Arabic [arb]; 25% French. Literacy in Hassaniyya not encouraged by the government. Radio programs. Dictionary.
Arabic script. Latin script.
Other Comments

Ethnonym: Maures, Moors. White Maure are called Bithan, also used for Maures in general. Black Maures are called Haratine. Muslim.

Also spoken in:

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