Manding languages

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Manding
Geographic
distribution:
West Africa
Linguistic classification: Niger–Congo
  • Mande
    • Western Mande
      • Central Mande
        • Manding–Jogo
          • Manding–Vai
            • Manding–Mokole
              • Manding
Subdivisions:
  • Manding-East
  • Manding-West
ISO 639-2 / 5: man
Glottolog: mand1435[1]

The Manding languages are mutual intelligibility dialects or languages in West Africa of the Mande family. Their best-known members are Bambara, the most widely spoken language in Mali; Mandinka, the main language of Gambia; Maninka or Malinké, a major language of Guinea; and Dyula, a trade language of the northern Ivory Coast and western Burkina Faso.

Subdivisions[edit]

The Manding languages, and what distinguishes one from the rest and relationships among all of them are matters that continue to be researched. In addition, the nomenclature - being a mixture of indigenous terms and words applied by English and French speakers since before colonization - makes the picture complex and even confusing.

The Mandinka people speak varieties from the first two groups; the differences between the western and eastern branches manifest themselves primarily phonetically. While dialects of the western group usually have 10 vowels (5 oral and 5 long/nasal), the eastern group, typified by Bambara, has 14 vowels (7 oral and 7 nasal):

Manding-West
Manding-East

In addition, Sininkere (Burkina Faso) is of unclear placement within Manding.

Writing[edit]

The Manding languages have a strong oral tradition, but also have written forms - adaptations of Arabic and Latin alphabets, and at least two indigenous scripts.

  • Arabic was introduced into the region with Islam, and the writing was adapted to write in Manding languages to a certain degree. Arabic script or Ajami is still commonly used for Mandinka.
  • The Latin alphabet was introduced into the region following European conquest and colonization. It is used fairly widely, with "official" versions in many countries, for teaching, literacy and publication.
  • The N'Ko alphabet, developed in 1949 by Solomana Kante, is designed to write Manding using a common literary standard comprehensible to speakers of all these varieties. It is gaining in popularity.
  • A lesser-known alphabet for Bambara was developed in the early 20th century but is not used.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Manding". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.