|Native to||Sierra Leone, Liberia|
|Region||South central Sierra Leone|
|1.5 million (2006)|
|Latin; Kisimi Kamara's Mende syllabary|
Mende // (Mɛnde yia) is a major language of Sierra Leone, with some speakers in neighboring Liberia. It is spoken by the Mende people and by other ethnic groups as a regional lingua franca in southern Sierra Leone.
In 1921, Kisimi Kamara invented a syllabary for Mende he called Kikakui (). The script achieved widespread use for a time, but has largely been replaced with an alphabet based on the Latin script, and the Mende script is considered a "failed script". The Bible was translated into Mende and published in 1959, in Latin script.
- Mende reference at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
- Migeod, F. W. 1908. The Mende language. London
- Crosby, Kenneth. 1944. An Introduction to the Study of Mende. Cambridge University Press.
- Unseth, Peter. 2011. Invention of Scripts in West Africa for Ethnic Revitalization. In The Success-Failure Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts, ed. by Joshua A. Fishman and Ofelia García, pp. 23-32. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Bibliography on Mende
- The Mende syllabary (Omniglot)
- PanAfrican L10n page on Mende, Bandi & Loko
- Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in Mende (1916)
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