A language of Mali

Alternate Names
Bamanakan, Bambara

4,000,000 in Mali (2012 V. Vydrin), increasing. 75,000 Ganadugu (Vanderaa 1991), 164,000 Wasulu (2009 census). Population total all countries: 4,072,040. L2 users: 10,000,000 in Mali (2012 V. Vydrine).


Widespread. Koulikoro, Ségou, northern Sikasso, Watershed, middle Niger river; Kayes region.

Language Status

4 (Educational). Recognized language (1982, Decree No. 159 of 19 July, Article 1).


Beledugu, Ganadugu, San, Segou, Sikasso, Somono, Standard Bambara, Wasulunkakan (Maninkakan, Eastern, Wassulu, Wassulunka, Wassulunke, Wasulu, Wasuu). Many local dialects. The main division is standard Bambara, influenced heavily by Eastern Maninkakan [emk], and rural dialects. Bamanankan dialects are spoken in varying degrees by 80% of the Mali population. In Mali, Wasulunkakan is shared by both Bamanankan and Eastern Maninkakan, but in Guinea it is only a dialect of Eastern Maninkakan.

Language Use

Growing. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Used as L2 by Bamako Sign Language [bog], Bankagooma [bxw], Bunoge Dogon [dgb], Duungooma [dux], Jenaama Bozo [bze], Jowulu [jow], Kagoro [xkg], Kelengaxo Bozo [bzx], Konabéré [bbo], Koyra Chiini Songhay [khq], Koyraboro Senni Songhay [ses], Maasina Fulfulde [ffm], Mamara Sénoufo [myk], Soninke [snk], Supyire Sénoufo [spp], Syenara Sénoufo [shz], Tieyaxo Bozo [boz].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 15%. Taught in primary schools. Poetry. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1961–1987.

Latin script [Latn]. N’Ko script [Nkoo], used in Mali.

Other Comments

Wasulu are former Fulbe. Muslim, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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