A language of Mali

Alternate Names
Aswanek, Aswanik, Azer, Ceddo, Cheddo, Gangara, Genger, Kwara, Maraka, Marka, Markaajo, Markakan, Sarakole, Sarakolle, Sarakule, Sarakulle, Sarangkole, Sarangkolle, Saraxuli, Sebbe, Serahule, Serecole, Soninkanxanne, Sooninke, Wakkore, Wankara

1,280,000 in Mali (2009 census), increasing. Population total all countries: 2,114,000.


Northwest, Kayes Region, Kayes, Yélimané, and Nioro circles; Koulikoro Region, Nara, Kolokani, Banamba, and Koulikoro circles; Ségou Region, Ségou, and Baraouéli circles. 6 principal towns, 163 villages. Also in Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia (Serahule), Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, United States.

Language Status

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


Geriga (Giriga), Kinbakka, Kinxenna. Giriga dialect heavily influenced by Hassaniya Arabic [mey].

Language Use

Vigorous. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use French [fra], Bambara [bam], Hassaniyya [mey], or Pulaar [fuc].

Language Development
Taught in primary schools. Poetry. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 2001–2012.
Arabic script. Latin script.
Other Comments

Ethnic autonym: Soninkanxaane. The Bambara refer to the Soninke as Marka and their language as Markakan; this name is different from the Marka [rkm] language. Muslim.

Also spoken in:

Expand All Collapse All