Mossi language

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Native toBurkina Faso, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Togo
Native speakers
7.83 million (2009–2013)[1]
Latin (Mooré alphabet)
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2mos
ISO 639-3mos
Languages of Burkina Faso.png
Majority areas of Mooré speakers, in pink, on a map of Burkina Faso
A Mooré speaker speaking Mooré and Dioula, recorded in Taiwan. Video 1 min:23 sec, 2018.
A Mooré text on a blackboard in the open at a meeting of farmers and extension workers, Ziga, Burkina Faso, 1981. The text reads:
"talaat Octobre kiug daar 6 soaba 1981 / moor tarongo roogo la wooto / ed fãa tom ne taaba d bayira manegre yinga / ned ka être n le n encore yẽ seka un meng ye ned fãarata / ato sôngre, ta vum yi a noogo / Ziiga"
(Tuesday, month of Octobre, 6th day, 1981 / This is a Mossi tarongo(?) house / We all work together for the repair of our home (village, homeland) / Nobody can say .. / With help it gets good. / Ziiga)[2]
The distribution of Mossi

The Mossi language 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 farther south. It is the language of the Mossi people, spoken by approximately 8 million people in Burkina Faso, plus another 60,000+ in Mali and Togo.


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


Mooré consonant phonemes
Labial Alveolar Postalveolar
/ palatal
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s h
voiced v z
Liquid r, l
Approximant j w


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


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


  • All vowels (other than /e/ and /o/) are pronounced like their nasal counterparts.
  • All vowels (oral and nasal) are pronounced like their lengthened counterparts.
  • Other linguists include the vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/; here, they are analysed as diphthongs, (/ɛ/ is considered to be ea and /ɔ/ is considered to be oa).


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

Burkinabé Mooré 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. ^ "Mòoré". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  2. ^ Kind translation by Afrika-Studiecentrum Leiden/African Studies Centre Leiden, 2021.
  3. ^ Cf. Kabore (1985) : (p.44) for the consonants, (p.85-86) for the vowels.

External links[edit]

Learning materials[edit]