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Spoken in

Ivory Coast , Burkina Faso , Mali
Official status
Recognized minority /
regional language in
Burkina FasoBurkina Faso Burkina Faso Ivory Coast
Ivory CoastIvory Coast 
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Dioula (also Dyula or Jula ) (code: dyu according to ISO 639 ) describes a West African Mande language and is also used to categorize social groups in the north of the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso . The N'Ko script is used as the script .

Dioula is not a popular name. This word used to distinguish Muslim traders from non-Muslim and agricultural Senufo who lived in the same area . In a number of Mandenkan languages, Dioula means " merchant ". It is a foreign name for traders who speak Mandenkan variants such as Bambara or Malinke and for their language.

The term changed from the French colonial period and, in contrast to the ethnic groups in the south of the Ivory Coast, was now extended to Muslims in the north in general. This north-south contrast created an image of the enemy in the south, with which Dioula became a synonym for “ foreigners ” in a further conceptual change .

A simplified variant of the Bambara coming from Mali mixed with influences of the Malinke and Maninka developed into a widespread lingua franca , which is also called Dioula. The Mandenkan native speakers of the Ivory Coast use the term ' Tagbusik-kan ' disparagingly for this simplified form , while they usually choose completely different terms for their language forms, such as B. Konyakakan , Odiennekakan or Maukakan . The influx of millions of inhabitants of the Sahel zone to the Ivory Coast for migrant work promoted the spread of the dioula due to the resulting need for a large-scale lingua franca. Many Burkinabe met Dioula during their migrant work and spread it in their home country after their return to Burkina Faso. The lingua franca dioula is spoken to varying degrees by 61% of the population on the Ivory Coast today, making it by far the most popular language. In Burkina Faso, too, around 35% of the population understand Dioula (mostly in the west and south of the country).

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