Languages and dialects of Mali

Like many countries in Africa, Mali is a multilingual country, where several languages and dialects are spoken showing a sign of antique settlements, migrations, and a vast history where ethnic groups and tribes were mantained together.

From its people, Bambara are the biggest ethnic group with 33% of the population, Fulani with 10%, Senoufo around 9%, Songhay 7%, Malinke with 6%, Tuareg 5%, and Dogon the smallest faction with 4% of the population.

From the 50 languages in Mali, French is the official one and Bambara is the most extensively spoken. Overall, 13 of the native language of Mali have the legal status of national language.

Official language

  • French (Standard)

National languages

  • Bambara
  • Bomu
  • Tieyaxo Bozo
  • Toro So Dogon
  • Maasina Fulfulde
  • Hasanya Arabic
  • Mamara Senoufo
  • Kita Maninkakan
  • Soninke
  • Koyraboro Senni Songhay
  • Syenara Senoufo
  • Tamasheq
  • Xaasongaxango

Lingua francas

  • Bambara
  • French
  • Fula
  • Songhai

All languages and dialects of Mali

(language name, dialect, family group, total speakers)

  • French, Indo-European, 9,000
  • Hasanya, dialect Arabic, Afro-Asiatic / Semitic, 106,100
  • Bambara or Bamanankan, dialect Manding, Niger-Congo / Mande, 2,700,000
  • Bomu, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 102,000
  • Tiéyaxo, dialect Bozo, Niger-Congo / Mande, 117,696
  • Toro So, dialect Dogon, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 50,000
  • Fulfulde, Maasina, dialect Fula, Niger-Congo / Atlantic, 911,200
  • Maninkakan & Kita, dialect Manding, Niger-Congo / Mande, 600,000
  • Mamara, dialect Senufo, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 737,802
  • Syenara, dialect Senufo, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 136,500
  • Koyraboro Senni, dialect Songhay, Nilo-Saharan, 400,000
  • Soninke, Niger-Congo / Mande National, 700,000
  • Tamasheq, dialect Tamashek, Afro-Asiatic / Berber, 250,000
  • Xaasongaxango, Khassonke, dialect Manding, Niger-Congo / Mande, 120,000
  • Bankagooma, Niger-Congo / Mande, 5,085
  • Bobo Madaré, Niger-Congo / Mande, 18,400
  • Hainyaxo, dialect Bozo, Niger-Congo / Mande, 117,696
  • Jenaama, dialect Bozo, Niger-Congo / Mande, 100,000
  • Tièma Cièwè, dialect Bozo, Niger-Congo / Mande, 2,500
  • Bangeri Me, dialect Dogon, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 1,200
  • Bondum Dom, dialect Dogon, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 24,700
  • Dogul Dom, dialect Dogon, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 15,700
  • Donno So, dialect Dogon, family Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 45,300
  • Jamsay, dialect Dogon, family Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 130,000
  • Kolum So, dialect Dogon, family Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 24,000
  • Tene Kan, dialect Dogon, family Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 127,000
  • Tomo Kan, dialect Dogon, family Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 132,800
  • Toro Tegu, dialect Dogon, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 2,900
  • Duungooma, Niger-Congo / Mande, 70,000
  • Jahanka, Niger-Congo / Mande, 500
  • Jalunga, Dyalonke, Niger-Congo / Mande, 9,000
  • Jowulu, Niger-Congo / Mande, 10,000
  • Jula, Dioula Manding, Niger-Congo, 50,000
  • Kagoro Manding, Niger-Congo / Mande, 15,000
  • Koromfé, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 100
  • Maninkakan, dialect Manding, Niger-Congo / Mande, 100,000
  • Marka, Niger-Congo / Mande, 25,000
  • Mòoré, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 17,000
  • Pana, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 2,800
  • Pulaar, dialect Fula, Niger-Congo / Atlantic, 175,000
  • Pular, dialect Fula, Niger-Congo / Atlantic, 50,000
  • Sàmòmá, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 6 villages
  • Sìcìté, dialect Senufo, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 4 villages
  • Supyire, dialect Senufo, Niger-Congo / Volta-Congo, 364,000
  • Humburi Senni, dialect Songhay, Nilo-Saharan, 15,000
  • Koyra Chiini, dialect Songhay, Nilo-Saharan, 200,000
  • Tadaksahak, dialect Songhay, Nilo-Saharan, 30,000
  • Tamajaq, dialect Tamashek, Afro-Asiatic / Berber, 190,000
  • Zarmaci, dialect Songhay, Nilo-Saharan, 2 villages
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~ by João Leitão on January 2, 2009.

 
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