Maasina Fulfulde

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Maasina Fulfulde
Native toMali; minor: Ivory Coast, Ghana
RegionInland Niger Delta
Native speakers
1 million (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ffm

Maasina Fulfulde (or Maasinankoore in the language itself) is a Fula language spoken primarily as a first language by Fula people and associated groups in the Inner Niger Delta area traditionally known as Macina in the center of what is now the West African state of Mali. It is also spoken elsewhere in Mali, parts of Cote d'Ivoire and Northern Ghana.

Maasinankoore is the most widely spoken dialect of Fula spoken in Mali and is a national language of the country.[citation needed]

According to Ethnologue there are two dialects - Western and Eastern - and "There are some dialect differences, but popular opinion is that all dialects in Mali are inherently intelligible."

It is written in a modified Latin alphabet but historically was written in the Arabic script.

Linguistic features[edit]

Maasina Fulfulde is grammatically basically the same as other varieties of Fula, with some particularities. For instance there are some slight differences in some verb endings.

The counting system retains an interesting recapitulation of older systems historically used by other groups in what is now Mali. Tens from 60-90 have alternative versions not used in other varieties of Fula. In the table the general form, which would be understood by any Fulaphone person (basically counting by tens) and Maasina variant:

# General form Maasina variant
60 cappanɗe jeegon mali hemere
70 cappanɗe jeeɗɗi mali hemere e sappo
80 cappanɗe jeetti hemere bambara
90 cappanɗe jeenayi hemere bambara e sappo

A progressive verbal expression is formed by inserting the word ni before the verb in the non-accomplished voice. For example, omo ni wara = s/he is coming (right now).

Particularities of greetings[edit]

As in other varieties of Fula, common greetings in Maasinankoore relate to the time of day. In addition to the standard Fula response - jam tan (lit., "peace only") - one may also respond jam ni (lit., peace here) or sago men tan (var. sago meɗen tan; lit. "our [incl.] wish only").

A common general greeting is saɗi (when addressed to more than one person, caɗee; lit. it's difficult or rare or dear). The standard response to this is a hisii (lit., you have escaped danger).


  • Anneke Breedveld: Form and meaning in Fulfulde: a morphophonological study of Maasinankoor. Dissertation Leiden University, 1995. Full text open access


  1. ^ Maasina Fulfulde at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)

See also[edit]