Mossi language

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Native to Burkina Faso, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Togo
Ethnicity Mossi
Native speakers
7.6 million (2007)[1]
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2 mos
ISO 639-3 mos
Glottolog moss1236[2]
Languages of Burkina Faso.png
Majority areas of Mossi speakers, in pink, on a map of Burkina Faso.
Person Moaaga
People Moose
Language Mòoré

The Mossi language (known in the language as Mooré; also Mòoré, Mõõré, Moré, Moshi, Moore, More) is a Gur language of the Oti–Volta branch and one of two official regional languages of Burkina Faso, closely related to the Frafra language spoken just across the border in the northern half of Ghana and less-closely to Dagbani and Mampruli further south. It is the language of the Mossi people, spoken by approximately 5 million people in Burkina Faso, plus another 60,000+ in Mali and Togo.


The Mossi language consists of the following sounds:[3]


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Occlusives Unvoiced p t k ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ
Nasal m n
Fricatives Voiceless f s h
Voiced v z
Liquid l / r
Semivowels w j


  • The semivowel /j/ y is pronounced [ɲ] (palatal nasal) in front of nasal vowels.


Front Central Back
Close i u
Near-close ɪ ʊ
Close-mid e o
Open a


  • All the vowels (other than /e/ and /o/) are pronounced equivalently to their nasal counterparts.
  • All the vowels (oral and nasal) are pronounced equivalently to their lengthened counterparts.
  • Other linguists include the vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/; here, these vowels are analyzed as diphthongs[how?] (/ɛ/ is considered to be ea, and /ɔ/ is considered to be oa).


In Burkina Faso, the Mossi alphabet uses the letters specified in the national Burkinabé alphabet.

Burkinabé Mossi alphabet
A ʼ B D E Ɛ F G H I Ɩ K L M N O P R S T U Ʋ V W Y Z
a ʼ b d e ɛ f g h i ɩ k l m n o p r s t u ʋ v w y z
Phonetic values
a ʔ b d e ɛ f ɡ h i ɪ k l m n o p r s t u ʊ v w j z

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mossi". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Cf. Kabore (1985) : (p.44) for the consonants, (p.85-86) for the vowels.

External links[edit]

Learning materials[edit]