A language of Sierra Leone

Alternate Names
Temen, Temne, Timene, Timmannee, Timne

1,870,000, all users. L1 users: 1,630,000 (2016). L2 users: 240,000 (1981 D. Cranmer).


Northern province: Bombali, Port Loko, and Tonkolili districts; west of Sewa river to Little Scarcie; Southern province: northwest Moyamba district; Western Area: Rural district.

Language Maps
Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial working language in Northern province (3 districts), Southern province and Western Area (1 district each) (2004, Local Government Act, Article 16(1)).


Banta, Konike, Yoni, Bombali, Western Temne (Pil), Sanda, Ribia, Kholifa, Koya, Masingbi, Malal. People claim to understand all dialects. Lexical similarity: 74% with Masingbi and Malal dialects, 70% with Konike dialect and western varieties.

Language Use

Primary language of central Sierra Leone. Also use English [eng], Krio [kri]. Used as L2 by Bullom So [buy].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 6%. Taught as an elective from primary to college level. NT: 1868–1992.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim.

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