Koyraboro Senni

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Koyraboro Senni language)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Koyraboro Senni
Native toMali
RegionEast of Timbuktu, Gao
Ethnicity(850,000 (2007?)[1])
Native speakers
430,000 (2007)[2]
300,000 monolingual (2007)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ses
Songhay languages.svg
Location of Songhay languages[3]

Northwest Songhay:


Eastern Songhay:

  Koyraboro Senni

Koyraboro Senni (Koroboro Senni, Koyra Senni or Gao Senni) is a member of the Songhay languages of Mali and is spoken by some 400,000 people along the Niger River from the town of Gourma-Rharous, east of Timbuktu, through Bourem, Gao and Ansongo to the Mali–Niger border.

The expression "koyra-boro senn-i" denotes "the language of the town dwellers", as opposed to nomads like the Tuareg people and other transhumant people.

Although Koyraboro Senni is associated with settled towns, it is a cosmopolitan language which has spread east and west of Gao, to the Fula people living at the Mali–Niger border and to the Bozo people of the Niger River. East of Timbuktu, Koyra Senni gives way relatively abruptly to the closely related Koyra Chiini.



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
voiceless p[a] t t͡ʃ k ʔ[b]
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ[c] h
voiced z ʒ[c]
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Lateral l
Trill r
Approximant w j
  1. ^ /p/ is uncommon, occurring mainly from loanwords.
  2. ^ /ʔ/ only occurs as a result of unassimilated Arabic words.
  3. ^ a b [ʃ ʒ] only occur as a palatalization of fricatives /s z/ preceding front vowels /e i/.


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

Nasalized realizations of vowel sounds may also occur, but they are rare among different dialects.


  • Jeffrey Heath: Grammar of Koyraboro (Koroboro) Senni, the Songhay of Gao. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Köln 1999. ISBN 978-3-89645-106-4

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Koyraboro Senni at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  2. ^ a b Koyraboro Senni at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  3. ^ This map is based on classification from Glottolog and data from Ethnologue.