Senufo (Senari) - Senoufo (Senari)

Cebaara, Nyarafolo, Senara, Syenara

1.  Classification / Classification

The term "Senufo" refers both to a language (Senari) and a branch of Gur (Voltaic) that includes four distinct languages: Palaka, Dymini-Tagwana, Central Senufo (Senari), and Northern Senufo (including the dialects of Suppire and Minianka) (Voegelin and Voegelin 1977). Senari, which means "the (Senufo) language," also stands for the language spoken in northern Côte d'Ivoire and a small part of Mali. The related language of Suppire (Minianka) is listed separately. (Webbook?)

Ethnologue? (Language tree) and Wikipedia list six groups of Senufo: Karaboro, Kpalaga, Nafaanra, Senari, Suppire-Mamara, and Tagwana-Djimini. Of these, Senari and Suppire have the most speakers. This page deals only with the Senari group.

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

Northern Côte d'Ivoire and a small part of southern Mali. (Webbook)

Korhogo in Côte d'Ivoire is the major center for Cebaara. Nyarafolo is centered to the east around Ferkessedougou. Syenara is spoken around Kadiolo, Mali, and Senara is spoken in Leraba Province, Burkina Faso (neither should be confused with "Senari," of which they are part).

The map below shows the geographic distribution of the Senufo language groups, including Senari:

(Source: Wikipedia; map created by Mark Dingemanse of Vormdicht under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License)

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to information compiled from Ethnologue:

  • Cebaara (Côte d'Ivoire): 862,000 (1993 SIL)
  • Nyarafolo (Côte d'Ivoire): 48,000 (2003 SIL)
  • Syenara (Mali): 136,500 (1991 Vanderaa)
  • Senara (Burkina Faso): 50,000 (1995 SIL)

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

Manessy (1981) reports four principal dialects of Senari: Nya'a folo, Nafara, Tyebara (Cebaara), and Nowolo. Detailed dialect survey work is currently being carried out by the SIL in the area. (Webbook) [see below]

According to information compiled from Ethnologue:

  • Cebaara (Senadi, Senari, Syenere, Tiebaara, Tyebala)
    • Kafire
    • Kasara
    • Kufuru
    • Tagbari (Mbengui-Niellé)
    • Patara
    • Pogara
    • Tyebara
    • Tagara
    • Tenere
    • Takpasyeeri (Messeni)
    • Southwest Senari
    • Kandere (Tengrela)
    • Papara
    • Fodara
    • Kulere
    • Nafara
    • Korhogo dialect is central
  • Nyarafolo (Nyarafolo-Niafolo)
  • Syenara
  • Senara (Niangolo) (Intelligibility testing of Cebaara varies from 51% in Konadougou to 71% in Niankorodougou; of Pomoro of Mali varies from 42% in Konadougou to 74% in Niankorodougou)

5.  Usage / Utilisation

Senufo is a local first language. (Webbook)

Literacy rates (according to Ethnologue?, accessed 2007):

  • Cebaara speakers
    • L1: 1% to 5%
    • L2: 5% to 15%
  • Nyarafolo speakers
    • L1: < 1%
    • L2: 5% to 15%

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

Senufo languages in Côte d'Ivoire use the official orthography developed for all languages in that country. (Webbook) This is Latin-based with extended characters and diacritics (not clear if the latter are required).

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

Alphabet as reported by Hartell (1993) and presented in Systèmes alphabétiques:

Sample texts are shown on the "Language Museum" site as follows (these may or may not reflect current standards and use):

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

Unicode fonts with extended Latin ranges should cover the needs of this language. (8-bit legacy fonts should be avoided.)

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

Not aware of any.

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

Not aware of any localisation efforts.

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

(No specific ISO 639-1 or ISO 639-2 codes)

Senoufo, Cebaara

  • ISO 639-3: sef

Senoufo, Nyarafolo

  • ISO 639-3: sev

Sénoufo, Senara

  • ISO 639-3: seq

Senoufo, Syenara

  • ISO 639-3: shz

7.6  Other / Autre

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile

9.  Comments / Remarques

Localisation might logically focus first on Korhogo Cebaara.

There is a question how to treat the dialects not part of either the Senari or the Suppire groups. Might it be possible to develop localisation strategies for the larger Senufo group including this and Suppire/Minianka?

10.  References / Références

Chanard, Christian (2006), Systèmes alphabétiques des langues africaines, LLACAN, CNRS,

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Senufo (Senari)," )

Hartell, Rhonda L. ed. 1993. The Alphabets of Africa/Alphabets de Langues Africaines. Dakar: UNESCO & SIL.

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Senoufo, Cebaara,"

______, "Senoufo, Nyarafolo,"

______, "Sénoufo, Senara,"

______, "Senoufo, Syenara,"

______, (Language Family Trees: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Senufo),

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language,"

Wikipedia, "Langues sénoufo,"énoufo

______, "Senari languages,"

______, "Senufo languages,"

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Categories: Languages, Côte d'Ivoire, Southern BF, Southern Mali