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Maninka language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Native toGuinea, Mali, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast
Native speakers
5 million (1999–2012)[1]
N'Ko, Latin
Official status
Official language in
Guinea, Mali
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
mku – Konyanka
emk – Eastern Maninkaka
msc – Sankaran Maninkaka
mzj – Manya (Liberia)
jod – Wojenaka (Odienné Jula)
jud – Worodougou
kfo – Koro (Koro Jula)
kga – Koyaga (Koyaga Jula)
mxx – Mahou (Mawukakan)
Glottologmane1267  Manenkan[2]
mani1303  Maninka–Mori[3]

Maninka (Malinke) or more precisely Eastern Maninka, is the name of several closely related languages and dialects of the southeastern Manding subgroup of the Mande branch of the Niger–Congo languages. It is the mother tongue of the Malinké people and is spoken by 3,300,000 speakers in Guinea, where it is the main language in the Upper Guinea region and Mali, where the closely related Bambara is a national language, as well as in Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, where it has no official status. It was the language of court and government used during the Mali empire.

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The Wudala dialect of Eastern Maninkaka, spoken in the central highlands of Guinea and comprehensible to speakers of all dialects in that country, has the following phonemic inventory.[4] (Apart from tone, which is not written, sounds are given in orthography, as IPA values are not certain.)


There are two moraic tones, high and low, which in combination form rising and falling tones.

The marker for definiteness is a falling floating tone: /kɔ̀nɔ̀/ 'a bird' (LL), /kɔ̀nɔ᷈/ 'the bird' (LLHL, perhaps [kɔ̌nɔ̂]); /kɔ́nɔ̀/ 'a belly' (HL), /kɔ́nɔ᷈/ 'the belly' (HLHL, perhaps [kɔ̂nɔ̂]).


Vowel qualities are /i e ɛ a ɔ o u/. All may be long or short, oral or nasal: /ii ee ɛɛ aa ɔɔ oo uu/ and /in en ɛn an ɔn on un/. (It may be that all nasal vowels are long.) Nasal vowels nasalize some following consonants.

Maninkaka consonants
m n ɲ
b d~ɾ ɟ g~gb
p t c k
f s h
w l j

/d/ typically becomes a flap [ɾ] between vowels. /ty/ (also written "c") often becomes /k/ before the vowels /i/ or /ɛ/. There is regional variation between /g/ and the labial–velar /gb/. /h/ occurs mostly in Arabic loans, and is established. /p/ occurs in French and English loans, and is in the process of stabilizing.

Several voiced consonants become nasals after a nasal vowel. /b/ becomes /m/, /y/ becomes /ny/, and /l/ becomes /n/. For example, nouns ending in oral vowels take the plural in -lu; nouns ending in nasal vowels take -nu. However, /d/ remains oral, as in /nde/ "I, me".


Maninka in Guinea is written in an official Latin-based script, an older official orthography (also Latin-based), and the N'Ko alphabet.


  1. ^ Konyanka at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Eastern Maninkaka at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Sankaran Maninkaka at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Manya (Liberia) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Wojenaka (Odienné Jula) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    (Additional references under 'Language codes' in the information box)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Manenkan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Maninka–Mori". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Mamadou Camara (1999) Parlons Malinké
  • Vydrine, Valentin. Manding–English Dictionary (Maninka, Bomana). Volume 1: A, B, D–DAD, Supplemented by Some Entries From Subsequent Volumes (1999). Dimitry Bulanin Publishing House, 315 pp. ISBN 5-86007-178-7.

External links

This page was last edited on 24 November 2019, at 09:09
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