Languages of Guinea

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Languages of Guinea
NationalFula, Malinké, Susu, Kissi, Kpelle (also known in French as Guerzé), Toma
SignedAmerican Sign Language (Francophone African Sign Language)
interethnicFrench, Fula

The Republic of Guinea is a multilingual country, with over 40 languages spoken. The official language is French, which was inherited from colonial rule.

Several indigenous languages have been given the status of national languages: Fula (or Pular); Malinké (or Maninka); Susu; Kissi; Kpelle (known in French as Guerzé) and Toma.

Government and institutions[edit]

French is the language of state and of official institutions. It is used by 15 to 25% of the population.[1] At the end of the Ahmed Sékou Touré regime, French was the only language used in business and schools.

By region[edit]

Fula (32%)[2] is mostly spoken in Middle Guinea, where the major city is Labé.

Malinké (30%) is mostly spoken in Upper Guinea, where Kankan is the major city. The Kankan variety of the language was used by Solomana Kante for the development of N'Ko, a standardized unified written Manding language, which is increasingly used in literacy education and publishing books and newspapers in Guinea and neighboring countries.[3][4]

Susu (20%)[5] is mostly spoken in Guinée maritime, where the capital is Conakry.[6]

Guerzé (6.2%), Kissi (4.7%) and Toma (2.8%) are spoken in Guinée Forestière. More specifically, Guerzé is spoken in Nzérékoré and Yomou. Kissi is spoken in Guéckédou and Kissidougou. Kono is a language used in the south of Guinea, mostly in Lola.


According to a report by Alpha Mamadou Diallo,[7] the first language of inhabitants of the city of Conakry in decreasing order was: Susu 42%, Pular (Fula) 20%, Maninka(with koniaka) 19%, Kissi 4%, Guerzé 4%, French 2% and Toma 2%.


  1. ^ Linguistic situation in Guinea
  2. ^
  3. ^ Vydrin, Valentin (1999). Manding-English Dictionary : (Maninka, Bamana). Lac-Beauport. p. 8. ISBN 9780993996931. OCLC 905517929.
  4. ^ Donaldson, Coleman (2019-03-01). "Linguistic and Civic Refinement in the N'ko Movement of Manding-Speaking West Africa". Signs and Society. 7 (2): 156–185, 181. doi:10.1086/702554. ISSN 2326-4489.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Dalby, Andrew (28 October 2015). Dictionary of Languages: The definitive reference to more than 400 languages. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 590. ISBN 9781408102145.
  7. ^ Usages et images des langues en guinée, page 17, Alpha Mamadou Diallo, Université de Conakry.