Gambia Information Site
Accommodation Attractions Flights Travel & Tourism
Languages of Gambia
Culture & Traditions   Ethnic Groups                     
Gestures   Greetings   Phrases   Language Resources            
Most of the languages spoken in Gambia belong to the Niger-Congo language family of the Atlantic or Congo branches. There are at least 10 languages spoken in Gambia by the various ethnic groups. Apart from English which is the official language spoken in schools and public offices there is also Wolof, Serer-Sine, Sarahole, Pulaar, Maninkakan, Mandjaque, Mandingo, Jola-Fonyi and the Aku's Creole (pidgin English). They are further broken down into various dialects such as Fana Fana of Saloum  for the Wollof speakers.

Before the arrival of the Europeans none of the ethnic languages were written as they were in purely oral form.

Most people are in fact multi-lingual in that the majority can speak their own tribal tongue, a second language as well as English. Wollof represents the lingua franca for the west coast Kombo area while Mandinka is dominant in the up-river divisions and particularly in the Kombos they are interspersed with English, Arabic or French words and phrases.

(Gambian English) refers to the Gambian expressions that sound somewhat odd to native English-speaking ears, a result of translation from native languages. Some examples include “finished,” “I’m coming” (when leaving), “I am having 2 dalasi,” and “moves with.”

"He" and "She"
Often mistakenly used interchangeably by Gambians with less than flawless English skills. Wolof and Mandinka both use the same pronoun for both sexes.

Because of it proximity to Senegal you will also find people fairly fluent in French along the Gambia's border regions as well as in Basse and Fatoto.

West Africa is among the most linguistically diverse areas on earth and this is due primarily to the movements of peoples over the centuries. This diversity is evident when you listen to Radio Gambia which broadcasts its news in 5 different local languages!



 Site Map    A-Z of Travel      

Accommodation Country Facts Government Organisations
Agriculture Culture & Traditions Health Photo Gallery
Arts & Crafts Currency & Money History Properties
Business Economy Map Shopping
Climate & Weather Education Music Sport
Cooking & Food Geography & Nature News & Media Travel & Tourism
      Yellow Pages

 Home  |  Mobile Page  |  Disclaimer & Legal Notices ContactPrivacy Policy     
 Copyright © 2009 Access Gambia  All Rights Reserved.