Pular language

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Fuuta Jalon
Native toGuinea; minor: Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Mali
RegionFouta Djallon, Guinea
EthnicityFula people
Native speakers
(3,808,200 cited 1991–2016)[1]
Fula alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3fuf

Pular is a Fula language spoken primarily by the Fula people of Fouta Djallon, Guinea. It is also spoken in parts of Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Senegal. There are a small number of speakers in Mali. Pular is spoken by 2.5 million Guineans, about 28% of the national population.[3] This makes Pular the most widely spoken indigenous language in the country. Substantial numbers of Pular speakers have migrated to other countries in West Africa, notably Senegal.

Pular is not to be confused with Pulaar, another Fula language spoken natively in Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, and western Mali (including the Futa Tooro region).

Pular is written in the Ajami script and the Latin script.

Linguistic features[edit]

There are some particularities to this version of Fula, including:

  • Use of plural form for politeness (such as in German or French, unlike other varieties of Fula)
  • A number of separate verbal roots for politeness (these may exist only in Pular)
  • There is no initial consonant mutation from singular to plural verb forms as is the case in other varieties of Fula (there is in nominal forms, however)
  • In addition to the more standard long-form pronouns of Fula there are alternate forms in Pular (= hi(l) + pronoun). The table below summarizes these (question marks where the info is not complete):
Person / number Standard long-form pronoun

(as in Pulaar)

Corresponding form in Pular
1st / sing miɗo miɗo

hilan (non-standard alternate form)

2nd / sing aɗa hiɗa
3rd / sing omo himo
1st /pl (excl) miɗen, amin meɗen

himen (non-standard alternate form)

1st / pl (incl) eɗen hiɗen
2nd / pl oɗon hiɗon
3rd / pl eɓe hiɓe


Like other varieties of the Fula language, Pular was written before colonization in an Arabic-based orthography called "Ajami." Today, while Ajami remains prevalent in rural areas of Fouta Djallon, but Pular is mainly written in a Latin-based orthography, the so-called UNESCO orthography. Pular Latin orthography is basically the same as that used for Fula languages throughout West Africa.

Up until the mid-1980s, Pular in Guinea was written with the Guinean languages alphabet that differed from that used in other countries.



  1. ^ "Pular". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pular". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ ethnologue.org. "Ethnologue report for Guinea". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Retrieved 25 April 2011.

External links[edit]