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The Journal Of Sierra Leone Studies

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Endangered languages -- Sierra Leone, Atlantic languages, Language revival, Sierra Leone -- Languages, Ecolinguistics


Many of Sierra Leone’s indigenous languages are robust and enjoy some support on the national level. Mende and Temne, for example, receive government support in terms of materials having been created for developing literacy in those languages. Other Sierra Leone languages receive support in nearby countries, e.g., Mandingo (Malinké) and Kisi in Guinea. Three languages in Sierra Leone, however, receive no such support and will likely disappear in a generation, namely, the three South Atlantic languages Mani (Bullom So), Kim (Krim) and Bom (Bum). A fourth language belonging to the same group, Sherbro, the subject of an upcoming investigation, has similarly received no national support but may have enough vitality to survive longer than the others. The purpose of this paper is to characterize the present status and vitality of the languages of Sierra Leone, concentrating on the endangered ones, and to suggest some possible future directions for language management at both national and local levels.


Originally appeared in The Journal of Sierra Leone Studies, volume 4, issue 2, pages 2-10. May be found at

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