Sucite language

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Native toBurkina Faso, Mali
RegionSikasso Region
Native speakers
38,000 (1999–2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3sep
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Sucite is a Senufo language spoken in southwestern Burkina Faso by approximately 35,000 people. Sucite is a close neighbour of Supyire, spoken in southeastern Mali. Sucite is sometimes regarded as the northern extension of Supyire. The two dialects are, according to Garber (1987), ‘quite mutually intelligible’. Sometimes speakers of Sucite will even refer to themselves as speaking Supyire. Another closely related lect is Mamara (also known as Minyanka).

Some other Senufo groups refers to the Sùcìté people as Tagba, because they live on the Tagouara plateau. There are various ways to spell the dialect names. Variants of Sùcìté include Sìcìté, Sìpììté, and Sicire. The SIL language code is SEP.



All vowels can be lengthened and nasalized. The schwa /ə/ is included in brackets because it is found only in two specific environments, where it appears to be in complementary distribution with some other vowel.

Phonetic inventory of vowels in Sucite
Garber 1987 Front Central Back
Close i • ĩ u • ũ
Close-mid e • ẽ (ə) o • õ
Open-mid ɛ • ɛ̃ ɔ • ɔ̃
Open a • ã


  Labial Alveolar (Alveolo-)Palatal Velar Labio-velar Glottal
Plosive / Affricate voiceless p t t͡ɕ k   ʔ
voiced b d d͡ʑ   ɡ͡b  
geminate d͡ʑː ɡː    
prenasalized ⁿb ⁿd ⁿd͡ʑ ⁿɡ ⁿɡ͡b  
Nasal m n ŋ ŋ͡m  
Fricative f s   x    
Glide w   j      

Geminate voiced stops/affricates are cognate to prenasalized voiceless stops in Supyire,[3] and are indicated orthographically as ⟨mp, nt, ...⟩ in Garber (1987).


Sucite is a tonal language with three surface tone levels: High, Mid, and Low. Garber (1987) and Carlson (1994) analyse the Northern Senufo system as having two different Mid tones, a strong mid (Ms) and a weak mid (Mw). The Ms tone undergoes substantially less tonal alternations than the Mw tone. Garber (1988) suggests that this peculiarity may have its origin in a tonal split.

Glides formed by combining pairs of tones exist, the most common being HL and ML.



Like the other Senufo languages, Sucite employs a noun class system of five genders: three pairings of singular/plural classes and two mass/collective classes.

Nouns take class-specific suffixes for definiteness. For example:

Gloss Indef. Def. Gender Class
'river' gba gba-ŋé wi 1
'rivers' gba-ála gba-á-bí 2
'house' gba-xa gba-ké ki 3
'houses' gba-ya gba-nyɛ́ 4
'forehead' gba-là gba-à-ne li 5
'foreheads' gbà-ʔala gbà-ʔà-ki 6



Each noun class has its own set of pronouns. These may be general (clitic), emphatic, partitive, interrogative, demonstrative, or relative.

Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Clitic wu bi yi ki
Emphatic wurə̀ perə̀ kərə̀ yirə̀ lərə̀ kerə̀ tərə̀ pərə̀
Demonstrative ngə́ mpí nkə́ njí ndə́ nkí ntə́ mpə́
Interrogative ngə mpi nkə nji ndə nki ntə mpə


  1. ^ Sucite at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sicite Senoufo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Garber 1987, p. 15.
  4. ^ Garber 1987, pp. 25-26.
  5. ^ Garber 1987, p. 26.


  • Carlson, Robert (1994) A Grammar of Suppyire. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Garber, Anne (1980) 'Word order change and the Senufo languages.' In Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, 10, 1, 45-57.
  • Garber, Anne (1987) A Tonal Analysis of Senufo: Sucite dialect (Gur; Burkina Faso). PhD dissertation, Urbana: University of Illinois / Ann Arbor: UMI. [1]
  • Garber, Anne (1988) 'A double tiered analysis of Sicite tone'. In Journal of West African languages, 18, 2, 21-33.

See also[edit]