Fula (Fulfulde, Pulaar, Pular'Fulaare)

Fula 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 live 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

There are a number of different ways to write Fula in the different countries where it is spoken. Most use the Latin alphabet, but the Arabic script has also been used, as has a script called Adlam, which was invented in the 1980s in Guinea.

Arabic script for Fula

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

Fula alphabet (Senegal, Gambia and Mauritana)

ه, ء, خ, ف, ق, ذ, ز, ص, ض, ظ and ق are used only in Arabic loanwords.

Fula Latin alphabet (Senegal, Gambia and Mauritana)

The Latin alphabet was introduced to Fula-speaking regions by European missionaries, colonial administrators and scholars. They devised a number of ways to write Fula. Some of the current conventions used 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 (Senegal, Gambia and Mauritana)

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, the Central African Republic and Chad is as above except ñ is written ny. In Guinea ɲ is used for [ɲ] and there is one more letter: Ɠ ɠ [ɠ].

Fula Latin alphabet (Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia)

Fula alphabet (Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia)

Download Fula alphabet charts (Excel)

Information about Fula alphabets supplied by Michael Peter Füstumum

Sample texts in Fula

Arabic script

Sample text in the Fula Arabic alphabet (Ajami)

Latin alphabet

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)

Sample videos in Fula

Information about Fula | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Adamaua Fulfulde | ADLaM alphabet


Information about the Fula language and alphabets

Senegambian languages

Adamaua Fulfulde, Bassari, Fula(ni), Ménik, Serer, Wolof

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 26.09.22


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