Baga languages

Baga Languages

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Baga languages

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The Baga languages are five related languages spoken in the coastal region of Guinea by the Baga people. The total number of speakers of Baga languages is about 30,000, of which the Landoma speakers make up almost 50 %. Most of the Baga are bilingual in the Mande language Susu, the official regional language. Two Baga communities are known to have abandoned their language altogether in favour of Susu, namely the Sobané and Kaloum.

Four of the five varieties still spoken are sometimes considered dialects of one language, Baga or Barka. The name is derived from the phrase bae raka, 'people of the seaside'. Landoma is classified as a Baga language, but is somewhat more distantly related to the other four languages. The Baga languages are related to Temne, one of the four official languages of Sierra Leone; together, Baga and Temne belong to the Mel branch of the Southern Atlantic languages.


  • Houis, Maurice (1952) 'Remarques sur la voix passive en Baga', Notes Africaines, 91–92.
  • Houis, Maurice (1953) 'Le système pronominal et les classes dans les dialectes Baga, i carte', Bulletin de l'IFAN, 15, 381–404.
  • Mouser, Bruce L. (2002) 'Who and where were the Baga?: European perceptions from 1793 to 1821', History in Africa, 29, 337–364.

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