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, Sooninke, Wakkore, Wankara

1,280,000 in Mali (2009 census), increasing. Total users in all countries: 2,138,110.


Kayes region: Kayes, Nioro, and Yélimané circles; Koulikoro region: Banamba, Kolokani, Koulikoro, and Nara circles; Ségou region: Baraouéli and Ségou circles. 6 principal towns, 163 villages.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Recognized language (1982, Decree No. 159 of 19 July, Article 1).


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

Language Use

Vigorous. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Bamanankan [bam], French [fra], Hassaniyya [mey], Pulaar [fuc]. Used as L2 by Kagoro [xkg].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 5%–10%. At Bamako university, there are now many more Soninke students who choose this language than before, and numbers are rising. The language is also used in adult education in the Soninke region, especially around Yelimané (2013 SIL). Taught in some elementary schools. Literature. Newspapers. Radio. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible portions: 2001–2012.


Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab]. Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Different from Marka [rkm]. Muslim.

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