Mankanya language

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Native to Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and the Gambia
Region Southwest Senegal coast
Ethnicity Mankanya
Native speakers
75,000 (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 knf
Glottolog mank1251[2]

The Mankanya language is spoken by approximately 70,000 people in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Gambia primarily belonging to the ethnic group of the same name. It belongs to the Bak branch of the Niger–Congo language family.

The language has status as an official language in Senegal, and an orthography has recently been developed for writing it. Mankanya is known as "Uhula" by the people themselves (the Mankanya people, or "Bahula"). The name 'Mankanya' ('Mancagne' in French) is thought to have been conferred upon the people and their language by colonialists who mistook the name of their chief at the time of colonisation for the name of the people-group itself.

The language contains many loanwords from Kriol. There is also extensive bilingualism in Mandjak, a closely related language which is largely mutually comprehensible, as well as in other minority languages spoken in the area, such as Mandinka and Jola. Finally, Mankanya speakers in Senegal also know French, and those in Gambia know English.


  1. ^ Mankanya at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mankanya". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.