Peoples: Mande

One of the branches of the Niger-Congolese family is the Mande people. Their languages ​​differ significantly in fundamental parameters from other Niger-Congolese languages, therefore linguists consider them to be the first to separate from the main trunk, along with the Ijo and Dagon languages. The differences between the Mande and the very structure of the Niger-Congolese family are so great that there are classifications that distinguish the Mande languages ​​into a separate families.

The Mande peoples have ancient roots and are the creators and ruling class of the earliest Empires of West Africa. The ancestral home of the Mande peoples is considered the Manden region in the southeast of the modern state of Mali, from where different tribes spread in all directions, forming separate types of society, linked by similarities in language and culture, but possessing a separate and often quite separate identity.

The Manden languages ​​are divided into three large branches, western, eastern, and Samo-bobo, each of which includes both whole groups and individual languages.

The largest is the western branch, which includes four sub-branches:

  • central, which includes the Mandin groups (Mali, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia), Mokole, Vai-Kono, Jogo-jeri (Côte d’Ivoire ), soso-yalonka (Guinea);
  • southwestern, which includes the languages ​​of Mende, Loko, Bandi, Zialo, Loma and Kpelle (Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia);
  • northwestern, which includes the soninke-bobo group (Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso) and the samo-bobo group (Mali, Burkina Faso).

The languages ​​of the Manden group are the most common among this entire family (which has the same name), and in Mali and Guinea they have the status of national languages ​​(idioms). The languages ​​of this group are spoken by the peoples of Malinke (Mali), Bambara (Mali), Mandinka (Gambia, Senegal), Gyula (Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso), Mau (Côte d’Ivoire), Bologna (Burkina Faso) and etc. These peoples live in the area of ​​the Manden region, where the formation of the Mande people, which is the ancestor of all other branches and groups, probably took place.


The northwestern branch includes the language spoken by the Soninke people, whose ancestors were the ruling class in the most ancient city-states (Dar Tichit civilization) and Empires (primarily Ghana).

The eastern branch consists of two…

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