Languages of Senegal

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Knowledge of the French language in Senegal. In 2005, 10% of the Senegalese people were real French speakers whereas 21% were partially French speaking. Estimation made by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie[1].

Senegal is a multilingual country – Ethnologue lists 36 languages

French, which was inherited from the colonial era, is the official language of Senegal. It is used by the administration and understood by about 15–20% of all males and about 1–2% of all women.[1] Several of the Senegalese languages have the status of "national languages": Balanta-Ganja, Hassaniyya, Jola-Fonyi, Mandinka, Mandjak, Mankanya, Noon (Serer-Noon), Pulaar, Serer, Soninke, and Wolof.

In terms of usage, Wolof is the lingua franca and the most widely spoken language in Senegal, as a first or second language (80%).[citation needed]

Mande languages spoken include Soninke, and Mandinka. Jola (Diola) is a main language in the Casamance region.

Education for the deaf in Senegal uses American Sign Language, introduced by the deaf American missionary Andrew Foster. A local language is Mbour Sign Language.

A report for the High Council of Francophonie in Paris stated in 1986 that in Senegal, 60,000 people spoke French as a first language and 700,000 spoke French as a second language. The total population of Senegal at the time was 6.5 million.[2]


  1. ^ Jacques Leclerc (2010-10-04). "Sénégal". Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  2. ^ Meisler, Stanley. "Seduction Still Works : French--a Language in Decline." Los Angeles Times. March 1, 1986. Retrieved on May 18, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dumont, Pierre (1982). Le français et les langues africaines au Sénégal. Paris: AACT and Karthala.

External links[edit]