African Language Resources
Dictionaries, Glossaries and Lexicons
The Internet Living
Swahili Dictionary is a collaborative work by people all
over the world. Together we are working to establish new dictionaries of
the Swahili language. Kiswahili is the most widely spoken African language,
with 50 million speakers in East Africa and Central Africa, particularly in
Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and Kenya. In addition to Tanzania and Kenya,
many people speak Swahili as a first or second language in Uganda, Somalia,
Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, and Congo (formerly Zaire). This
site will do the search for you, simply enter the word in either English or
Swahili and it will transliterate if possible. An
is also available from Freedict and another from Babylon.
Two sites featuring basic Swahili lessons in conversational English-Swahili.
featuring lists of essential Swahili
words translated into English. These pages are only part of larger sites about
countries of Kenya and Masi-Mara.
Online African Dictionary from UC Berkeley's Linguistics department site
translates 100+ languages.
Also available are many
This Swedish university has many ongoing research projects including ALRI -
African Languages Research
Institute formerly The African Languages
Lexicon Project (ALLEX)
a joint research project between the
Universities of Zimbabwe, Oslo and Gothenburg, with an aim to produce
monolingual corpus-based dictionaries for Zimbabwean languages I.E. Shona
(currently in print) and
Sindebele (to be published in 2K).
Also under study are:
Iká is an Igboid language spoken in southern Nigeria. It thus belongs to that widespread language family commonly known as Niger-Congo (Niger-Kordofanian).
Mpiemo, classified as A86c in Malcolm Guthrie's classification, is a hitherto undescribed Bantu language spoken by a minority group with the same name, the largest part of whom live in the rainforests of western Central African Republic.
Kinyarwanda (Kinyarwanda-Swedish Dictionary is available for download) is Africa's largest Bantu mother tongue, spoken by approximately 9.3 million people. It is a national language in Rwanda.
An additional resource: Kinyarwanda-English Online Dictionary is being developed by another group of individuals.
This Italian site permits you to search a very comprehensive and growing
database of several languages.
Translate English and many other languages to
the South African
language of Afrikaans, Swahili, Zulu or vice versa. They offer an AFR/ENG and ENG/AFR simple interface and for the power user an advanced pair of interfaces AFR/ENG & ENG/AFR.
Online English Dictionary, thesaurus
and reference guide. Includes word games, online translator and Word of
the Day. Similar offerings with links to many language dictionaries, also available from and Alpha Dictionary.
Yes I, a Rasta-speak for the Bredren and Sistren.
GY.com Inc., Multilingual (commercial) Software (including some African
The Web of On-line Dictionaries
, has the web's most
authoritative collection with over 800 references, and deals with
several of which are African.
"An encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 6,912 known living languages."
from Nigeria and Cameroon.
language as spoken near the Niger-Benue confluence in Nigeria.
as spoken in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria
, a Chadic language spoken in NE Nigeria
a Benue-Congo language spoken in Central Nigeria
The Mande Languages
The Mande languages are mainly spoken in Mali, though stretching into the
neighbouring West African countries. Greenberg classified the Mande languages
as being a part of the Niger-Congo language family.
BAMBARA (Burkina Faso)
BAMBARA (Côte d'Ivoire)
The Bambara, are Mali's dominant group, as indicated by the name of that
country's capital, Bamako. Bambaras occupy most of Mali's governmental
positions and Bambara is the lingua-franche of Mali. Traditionally, the Bambara
are farmers in the Niger River Valley. The Bambara language is closely related
to Dioula (spoken widely in Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina-Faso) as well as Juxanke
and Malinké of Guinea. The Bambara are the source of the chiwara, antelope-like
masks which are widely known and traded.
The Bambara of Mali belongs to group of dialects or closely related languages
that are collectively called ‘Manding’. Manding Dialects are found across most
of western Africa, and Bambara (Manding) is one of the officially declared
languages of Mali. A large part of the population uses Bambara as its mother
tongue, and as secondary language it is employed to communicate nationwide.
BENG (Côte d'Ivoire)
BISSA (Côte d'Ivoire)
BISSA (Burkina Faso)
BLÉ (Burkina Faso)
BOBO MADARÉ, NORTHERN (Mali)
BOBO MADARÉ, NORTHERN (Burkina Faso)
BOBO MADARÉ, SOUTHERN (Burkina Faso)
BOLON (Burkina Faso)
BOSO, HAINYAXO (Mali)
BOSO, SOROGAMA (Mali)
BOSO, SOROGAMA (Nigeria)
BOSO, TIÈMA CIÈWÈ (Mali)
BOSO, TIÉYAXO (Burkina Faso)
BOSO, TIÉYAXO (Mali)
DAN (Côte d'Ivoire)
DZÙÙNGOO (Burkina Faso)
GAGU (Côte d'Ivoire)
GURO (Côte d'Ivoire)
JAHANKA (Guinea Bissau)
JULA (Burkina Faso)
JULA (Côte d'Ivoire)
KONO (Sierra Leone)
KPELLE, GUINEA (Guinea)
KPELLE, LIBERIA (Liberia)
KURANKO (Sierra Leone)
LIGBI (Côte d'Ivoire)
LOKO (Sierra Leone)
Malinké are the most populous ethnic group in Guinea, and spread into Senegal,
Mali and Cote d'Ivoire. Their languange is closely related to Bambara. The
Malinké Empire of the fourteeth century was a great period of Islamic learning
in West Africa - a period which was noted by the historic growth of city of
(Man·din·go n., pl. Man·din·gos or Man·din·goes)
1. A member of any of various peoples inhabiting a large area of the upper
Niger River valley of western Africa.
2. A group of closely related Mande languages including Bambara, Malinke, and
Maninka, widely spoken in western Africa. In this sense, also called Mandekan.
[American Heritage Dictionary]
MANDINKA (Guinea Bissau)
MANDINKA (MANDINGUE, MANDINGO, MANDINQUE, MANDING) [MNK] 350,000 in Gambia
(1993 UBS) or
40.4% of the population; 445,500 in Senegal (1991); 119,500 in Guinea Bissau
(1993); 914,500 in all countries. Central
Gambia. Niger-Congo, Mande, Western, Northwestern, Northern, Greater Mandekan,
Mandekan, Manding. Significantly
different from Maninka of Guinea and Malinke of Senegal (Church). 79% lexical
similarity with Kalanke, 75% with Jahanka,
70% with Kassonke, 59% with Malinke, 53% with Mori, 48% with Bambara. The main
language of middle Gambia. About
half the speakers are reported to be literate in Mandinka in Arabic script, but
not Roman. Some related varieties may be
distinct languages. Muslim. NT 1989. Bible portions 1837-1966.
MANINKA (Sierra Leone)
MANINKA belongs to the Mandebranch of the Niger-Congo family, spoken by 3,5
million people (over 6 million in all countries) and is used as lingua franca
in West Africa. There are several varieties called with different names
(Mandinka and Dioula, for instance). Maninka of Guinea is the same as that of
Liberia; Bambara of Mali and Mandinka of Gambia and Senegal do not differ
greatly. The Nko script is popular, created in 1948 by Sulemana Kante.
MAOU (Côte d'Ivoire)
MARKA (Burkina Faso)
MENDE (Sierra Leone)
MWAN (Côte d'Ivoire)
SAMO (Burkina Faso)
SEEKU (Burkina Faso)
SIAMOU (Burkina Faso)
SONINKE (Burkina Faso)
SONINKE (Côte d'Ivoire)
SONINKE (Guinea Bissau)
SUSU (Guinea Bissau)
SUSU (Sierra Leone)
TOURA (Côte d'Ivoire)
VAI (Sierra Leone)
YALUNKA (Sierra Leone)
YAOURÉ (Côte d'Ivoire)
WAN (Côte d'Ivoire)
Literary and Graphical Freeware: Not for Commercial Use.
Copyright (c) 1998-2011 R. Clark -
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publication (www.acceleration.net/clark and all children) provided the
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This page linked to Discover Gambia as per their request, and we at SignaPhiNothing are honored to be of service to them.
3clix.info has rewarded my humble efforts on this page with their "3clix Seal of Excellence Award" (28 DEC 2K4). In their evaluation they write: "This is an independent site linking to good resources for most African language groups. Some of the links are purely academic, some are interactive such as the online Swahili dictionary which could be useful for travelers."