Dioula is Western Mande language spoken in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Mali by about 12.5 million people. In Ivory Coast there are 8.5 million speakers of Dioula, about 1.5 million of whom speak it as a native language. They are found particularly in the districts of Savanes and Zanzan in the north of the country, and also in all major cities.
About 3.6 million people in Burkina Faso speak Dioula, particularly in the western provinces of Kossi, Houet and Kénédougou, and also in major cities. It is a de facto language of national identity, and is used as a trade language in western parts of Burkina Faso.
There are about 388,000 speakers of Dioula in Mali, particularly in the southeast of the country. The language is classified by the Malian government as Bambara.
Dioula is also known as Diula, Djula, Dyoula, Dyula, Jula Kong, Kong Jula or Tagboussikan. It is closely related to Bambara, Kita Maninkakan and Eastern Mainikakan.
In Burkina Faso a way to write Dioula with the Latin alphabet was published in 1973 by the National Sub-Commission for Dioula. It became the official alphabet for Dioula in 1979. Since then it has been amended slightly. There is also a way to write Dioula with the Arabic script.
The N'Ko alphabet, which was invented in 1949 by Solomana Kanté from Guinea, is used to write Dioula, and other Manding languages in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. However, it is not taught in schools, and has no official status.
Hear how to pronounce Dioula:
Page created on 10.05.21. Last modified: 11.05.21
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