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Fula (Fulfulde, Pulaar, Pular'Fulaare)

Fula or Fulani is a member of the Senegambian branch of the Niger-Congo language family spoken by about 13 million people in many parts of West Africa. It is the first language of the Fulɓe (Fula/Fulani), who life mainly in West Africa, and also in Central and North Africa. Fula is also spoken as a second language by others in the region. Fula speakers can be found in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gambia, Chad, Sierra Leone, Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Liberia and Gabon.

Fula alphabets

The Arabic script was adapted to write Fula after the Arabic conquests of Africa.

The Latin alphabet was introduced to Fula-speaking regions by European missionaries, colonial administrators and scolars. They devised a number of ways to write Fula. Some of the current conventions used in in Fula writing were established at a conference On African language orthographies held in Bamako in Mali in 1966. There are still variations in the spelling of Fula between different countries however.

Fula alphabet used in Senegal, Gambia and Mauritana

a aa b mb ɓ c d nd ɗ e ee f
g ng h i ii j nj k l m ŋ ñ
o oo p r s t u uu w x y ƴ

The alphabet used in Mali and Burkina Faso is the same as the above except ñ is written ɲ. The alphabet used in Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad is as above except ñ is written ny.

Fula alphabet used in Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia

a b ɓ c d ɗ e f g h i
j k l m mb n nd ng nj ŋ ñ
o p r s t u w y ƴ    

Sample text in Fula

Innama aadeeji fof poti, ndimɗidi e jibinannde to bannge hakkeeji. Eɓe ngoodi miijo e hakkilantaagal ete eɓe poti huufo ndirde e nder ɓ iynguyummaagu.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Tower of Babel in Fula


Information about the Fula language and alphabets

Senegambian languages

Fula(ni), Wolof

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet