Languages of Sierra Leone

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Sierra Leone is a multilingual country, with 25 languages.[1] English is the de facto official language, and Krio is the most widely spoken and is spoken in different countries.

Other major languages include Mende, which is spoken by 29.5% of the population as a mother tongue and as a lingua franca in southern Sierra Leone, and Temne, which is spoken by 37% as a mother tongue and also as a lingua franca in northern Sierra Leone and some part of the Capital and the Western Area. Other languages include Kono, Kissi, Kuranko, Limba, Fula (Pular) and Susu.

Although English, as the official language, is spoken in schools, government administration and the media, Krio is spoken as a lingua franca in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone. Krio, an English-based creole language, is the mother tongue of 10.5% of the population but is spoken by 90% of Sierra Leoneans.[2]

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