Languages of Mauritania

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Anti corruption campaign in Nouakchott, in Arabic and French

Afro-Asiatic languages (formerly known as Hamito-Semitic)[edit]

  • Arabic
    • Literary Arabic is the official language.
    • Hassaniyya is the local and oral form of Arabic. It is close to the language used by the Bedoins. It is the language used by the majority of the Mauritanian population. It is also the language of the Imraguen who also use elements of Soninké.
  • Berber
    • Zenaga: Still used in the south of the country, close to the River Sénégal, the last vestige of the Berber identity in Mauritania. Those who use it are known are Zenaga, after the language they speak. Otherwise, most of the Moor population speak Berber languages. Islamisation and Arabisation of the population have meant that much of this population have lost all ties with this world. In 1978, even the term Arabo-Berber to designate the Moors was replaced by Arab.
    • Tamasheq: Tamasheq (language of the Touaregs) is present in the extreme south-east of the country, close to the Malian border.


Main articles: Maghreb French and African French

Due to colonialism, European languages are often present on the African continent. Mauritania is no exception to this rule. Mauritania is a member of La Francophonie. Most of the population speaks or understands some French, though overall knowledge and usage has declined substantially in recent years due to greater use of Arabic.[citation needed]. Mauritania's political elite is Arab, and Arabic is their main language of use.

Niger-Congo languages[edit]


  1. ^ English: Fula; French: Peul; in central and eastern West Africa the endonym is Fulfulde

See also[edit]

External links[edit]